Transparency has a pretty broad spectrum and can mean different things to different people. Not necessarily the meaning of the word transparency, but more the level of transparency and when you are considered transparent and when not. Of course, certain information is on a “need to know” basis within an organization, and not everybody needs to know everything, not even the CEO. However, we do believe that having pretty high transparency will help an organization move forward and give a solid basis for continuous improvement.
We Do It Together
Continuous improvement is something the organization that needs as many people as possible to help with. This doesn’t mean that everybody needs to work on this all the time, but the input from every employee is valuable; hence, we need everybody. The people in the quality department or in the continuous improvement team can help with these topics. When it comes to continuous improvement, all information should be available to everyone so they can learn from each other and easily see what the organization tries to improve. This doesn’t mean it will succeed all the time but it is trying and showing the efforts the organization takes will increase the support from the employees. It also clearly shows a message that trying is good and with it comes the acceptance of failure. Sharing these experiences makes people feel more comfortable and at ease.
Feedback is a great way to engage the employees in the efforts. Showing what the organization does and how it is done will give people an insight in why choices are made. No, you don’t need to open all the notes of every meeting if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, but it is important to just share the key inputs and outputs. Also, an explanation of the reasoning why certain decisions are made will help a lot. It isn’t required to have formal meetings for this. The information can be documented in a platform and people can be updated automatically. However, the results with a big impact should be communicated properly and celebrated. This can be done with in person meetings or, in the light of COVID-19, via any preferred video conferencing tool.
Level of Transparency
The cutoff line of which information should or shouldn’t be open can be quite a tricky one. Some companies are completely transparent and even show the salaries of every employee on a wall, while at other places, almost all information is protected. Setting the levels of information access should always be in line with the company policy and culture. However, we do believe that an organization should be a little more open than what it is comfortable with. Just trust the employees and let them find the information. This isn’t always easy but will help a lot in the future and with slowly changing the culture for the better.