Organizational transparency is here to stay. In fact, some may argue it’s the new competitive advantage. With the digital age in full bloom, it’s never been easier or more convenient for institutions to open doors to how they think and behave. The expectation for increased transparency is simply a consequence of employees and stakeholders demanding accountability and trustworthiness. But despite making progress, the modern organization can stand to make a few improvements towards greater transparency. When everyone is able to see the same information top leaders see, trust and loyalty develop – and both are vital to long term success.
More Than Good Policy
Full transparency has its advantages. People work better when they share thoughts and ideas and can collaborate more effectively. Information sharing makes it easier for organizations to align objectives and strategies and set up systems that hold people accountable. Full transparency generally requires everyone in the organization to know what the specific goals are and how they’re going to be measured. But in the modern context it’s more than collaboration, understanding strategies or measuring performance. It’s about understanding the why behind key decisions.
Being transparent is more than good policy. It’s a way of ensuring your employees stay satisfied. You trust them with the information and in turn, they reward you with loyalty. Organizational transparency creates trust among stakeholders, informs decision making and fosters greater participation.
Nevertheless, there are some challenges that come along with providing open access to information. These include:
- Understanding the risk that information may be distorted, misunderstood or misrepresented
- Acknowledging that being transparent may take more time and resources and may slow organizational processes
- Being aware that organizations that practice full transparency may be open to attack, vulnerable to those groups that feel underrepresented or alienated
- Accepting that it can be difficult to learn how to balance transparency with keeping some information private, such as competitive trade secrets or other unique information.
In balance however, increased transparency leads to a more fulfilling and prosperous work environment. Open access to information creates trust and builds loyalty among stakeholders, employees and with the public at large. Technology has given us the tools for making organizational transparency easy and convenient for even the largest organizations. And as consumers demand increased accountability, organizations that choose to pursue transparency will be rewarded.