Only one third of employees trust the leadership of their organization. That’s an issue.
Not being transparent cues a domino effect: It leads to unhappy employees, which triggers disengagement, a hostile work environment, and retention issues.
Alternatively, transparency in the workplace helps teams align, supports your people, and results in healthier relationships. And at the end of the day, transparency leads to trust, which is the most fundamental element to any organization, team, and relationship.
So how do leaders create a transparent organization? The first step is knowing what one is: Emily Connery, VP of People and Talent at ChartHop, defines a transparent organization as one that “equips employees with concrete, accurate information that establishes an organization as a dependable source.” The second step to creating a transparent organization is determining what information drives results. For those decisions, look no further than your people data, which will help you drive insights into the right decisions for your company and your teams.
At the executive and leadership levels, transparency means looking at all of your people data to make decisions that are backed by numbers, not your gut instinct.
Below are three real-life examples of how leaders’ prioritization of data transparency led to improved processes:
Clearly, having access to all your people data helps streamline initiatives and ensures alignment across teams. On the other hand, not looking at your data – or storing it in one place – results in extra effort and increased chance of human error, which is something you can’t afford.
Ready to tackle issues that are popping up for you and your team? Below we identify three common problems and how transparency into your people data can help you determine next steps.
Walt Disney once said, “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.” This strategy makes sense; you want all of your teams and their members working together to help move your business forward.
However, that’s incredibly difficult when you don’t know who works for your company. It’s especially hard for organizations with a remote workforce spread across the world or ones that are rapidly scaling multiple teams.
Not knowing others, or where they sit within your organization, also causes issues for employees. Lack of information leads to stalled collaborative efforts and outreach as they determine who’s the right person for the job.
If you don’t know who your people are, it’s likely you also don’t know their goals. This is a problem when their objectives are closely tied to your overall business strategy. You therefore need to know your people and where they sit within your organization.
Luckily, a dynamic org chart that syncs with the rest of your people data serves as this centralized platform where employees have real-time visibility into your org structure and the people that make up your teams.
With the right permissions, leaders can click employee profiles to view skills, expectations, and quarterly goals, which helps everyone make more informed decisions for your people.
With a dynamic org chart, your information will always be up-to-date. This means leaders can collaborate on decisions easily and efficiently.
But it’s important to note that visibility into your organization doesn’t just benefit leaders. This transparency in the workplace helps your employees in terms of tasks and career growth. Connery believes that a one-stop-shop for your employees helps empower people to find the right information without jumping through hoops. What’s more, she says, using technology decreases issues that arise with human error and increases how employees perceive leadership’s transparency.
She explains: “Human beings can try their best to communicate and leadership always understands the importance of cascading information throughout the organization. However, people can forget to share, so technology is an error-proof way to ensure the right information is shared with your people. Additionally, having your org chart and employee profiles living in one place helps people self-serve if they choose.”
If you’ve seen the movie The Notebook, you remember the end scene when Noah repeatedly (and exasperatedly) asks Allie, “What do you want?” We can’t help but think that’s how some leaders feel when talking to their workforce.
But asking for employee feedback is only one step in the process of supporting your people (and is oftentimes unhelpful if the results live in separate places). Technology – specifically, employee surveys and your people data – will help you glean insights so you can confidently move in the right direction.
Responding to employees’ needs is a three-step process: collecting employee feedback, determining needs and sharing the results, and putting together a plan to support your people.
Instead of making decisions that you think will help employees, gather their insights and feedback to help plan your efforts. You can either ask questions on a variety of topics – such as employee experience, inclusion initiatives, and usage of healthcare and benefits – or spread surveys out over months to gain a better understanding of employees’ needs.
Kim Colucci, People Director at Mixbook, emphasizes the importance of collecting employee feedback. She says: “It’s easy to copy and paste ideas from other companies. But how do you know that other organizations’ solutions will meet the needs of your people? By asking the right questions, you’re better able to definitively answer what you’re working toward and why.”
Collecting feedback may sound simple, but when your people data is scattered across different tools or spreadsheets, it’s challenging to determine employee needs. That’s why it’s important to use technology – like a people analytics platform – to house all of your important data and help discover areas of growth. With all your people data in one place, you can slice and dice the information to analyze and plan next steps.
When leaders look at their people data through different filters, they’re able to quickly visualize areas of strength and improvement.
However, if you’re trying to gain your people’s trust, it’s not enough to just ask for feedback. It’s equally important to share your survey results.
Connery believes that the more leadership entrusts employees with information and knowledge about the company, the more invested and motivated people will be. She explains: “If employees have a better understanding of the whole picture, it helps them feel more invested and have more ownership, which is a positive feeling. If you’re spending so much of your life doing work, feeling like you’re a part of the process or solution has a positive impact.”
Once you’ve collected, analyzed, and shared your people data, it’s now time to plan. What efforts can you organize that will help solve some of the issues that arose?
Once you determine a course of action, make sure you continuously update your people on your progress. Being transparent will help with employee buy-in and support, and it will promote honest additional feedback throughout the process.
Instead of just focusing on specific initiatives, many leaders have shifted to focusing on their entire employee journey – from onboarding to exit interviews – to create a better experience for their people. This change is good, because leaders need insight into every stage to create better experiences.
Connery believes that by determining your ideal employee experience first, you set the rest of your People decisions up for success. She explains, “You’ll know everything within your organization will be aligned – from training managers to conducting performance reviews to how people are expected to behave in and out of meetings.”
However, even when leaders focus on being transparent and creating a robust experience throughout the employee lifecycle, they more often than not forget one of the most critical components: the first impression.
And that first impression – which is determined via your job description, your candidates’ recruiting experience, and their first few weeks at your company – is critical to your retention efforts.
In fact, twenty-five percent of employees quit within their first 90 days of employment. Yikes. But what’s more mind-boggling is that the top three reasons all revolve around onboarding. Knowing this, your solution is a no-brainer.
It’s important to remember that your employee experience starts before any official paperwork is signed. Candidates will judge your company on being transparent via your job description, interview process, and total compensation strategy.
What’s more, throughout the process you’ll have the opportunity to define your values and set expectations for all future employees. When candidates and new hires understand your expectations, and feel equipped with the right information, they’re more likely to trust your organization and leadership. As Connery says, “The more information you’re sharing, the more you’re communicating that you trust your employees.”
Therefore, to increase your transparency in the workplace, consider the following:
Employee profiles allow your new hires to understand their role, identify their passions, and connect with others throughout your organization.
It’s clear that transparent people data helps solve many issues leaders face. Whether you’re unclear of who’s who within your organization, stuck on identifying employees’ needs, or experiencing retention issues, the right technology helps streamline your efforts to create a stronger people plan moving forward.
And when you have a stronger people plan, employees feel prepared, respected, and emotionally invested in your organization. The result? They become more efficient, engaged, and motivated to achieve their goals. In short, transparent leaders create a transparent workplace, which is what helps employees succeed. If you haven’t already, now is the time to double down on your efforts of analyzing your people data to make the right decisions, drive connections, and support employee growth.
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