Benefits of transparent communication
Transparent communication describes a work environment where both good and bad information is shared across all levels of the organization. This means it goes both up and down the organizational hierarchy. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, “Fostering a culture of innovation requires open, transparent communication. The information must be shared upward, downward, and laterally…we must engender an openness to share ideas and collaborate.”
When there’s transparency in the workplace, there’s an enhanced sense of trust among employees. This makes them more likely to trust other employees and collaborate with them. It also makes them more likely to experiment and take chances, a mindset that leads to greater innovation. The entire workforce benefits as ideas are shared in an environment with open communication.
Transparency in teams
In companies that lack transparency, it’s common for people to lack the information needed to do their job effectively. One of the most important steps in establishing transparent communication is defining job roles and responsibilities. Every member of the team should know the tasks they need to accomplish daily, weekly, and annually.
The level of secrecy on a team has a direct impact on the success or failure of the team’s projects. Leaders who hold regular team meetings and answer questions honestly are more likely to be trusted. Team members should be called upon to discuss their work and everyone should be able to offer suggestions. Being transparent in meetings allows everyone on the team to feel trusted and part of a cohesive group able to collaborate to get work done.
Transparency in team communication is critical to a team’s success. Schedules, milestones, and deadlines must be published and made accessible to all. Timely reminders of upcoming events help keep everyone on track. Team members also should be informed about long-term plans so they can work more independently from their leader instead of being fed tasks piecemeal.
Remote team transparency
Communication with remote team members can differ from communicating face-to-face with those in the same office. Remote workers are at a disadvantage because they can’t get up and walk down the hall to speak to a co-worker when they have a question. That disadvantage has lessened in recent years because of the advent of digital communication. Now those working remotely can use email or messaging instead of waiting for a phone call to be answered.
With remote teamwork, it’s important to publish meeting minutes and the outcome of decision-making to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Remote team members also need a way to communicate about the effort they’re putting in since they’re not visible at a desk like in-office workers.
Using the right tools
There are digital tools that can help teams maintain transparent communications. Workforce management software helps with scheduling, staffing, reporting, and meetings. For project-based teams, project management software allows team members to stay informed, share resources, communicate and collaborate in one environment. These platforms increase communication among team members with digital tools for messaging and video meetings and with task management tools that allow everyone on the team to see assignments and status.
A work in progress
Open communication and transparency in the workplace are never easy to implement. For every benefit like seeing a team work together, there’s a downside like bad feelings that occur if management makes bonuses public. There are many aspects of communication to consider, including speaking, writing, and video. Successful leaders master them all and use them effectively to build trust in their teams. They also learn how to deliver unwelcome news, which is perhaps one of the most important skills for transparent communication. We must be as ready to discuss our failures as our successes if we genuinely want to be transparent.