Top tips for promoting transparency in the workplace

by | Apr 15, 2018 | Advertising and Media

To create a work culture that will both provide a gravitational pull for talent and enable teams to do their best work, full transparency is required. And although the proliferation of cloud-based work tools and social media has lifted the lid on individual working practices, there is still a way to go. Just asking your teams to share their calendars and CC in colleagues is not enough.

One company that has pushed transparency to a new level is social media scheduling company Buffer. They have been bold enough to share salary details of all employees, including those of its CEO. While this model won’t be right for all businesses, finding a middle ground where all employees can be open yet feel trusted is possible.

Why is transparency so important?

We know that employees increasingly want to work for a company that has strong ethics, a meaningful purpose and a progressive culture, as a recent report by PwC on millennials in the workplace confirms. Trust and transparency play a major role in this.

At, we are big believers in being fully transparent. This is not only because it builds deeper relationships and better alignment across our teams, but also because it helps prevent unnecessary gossip and suspicions that can breed a culture of mistrust.

Managing your meetings in a transparent way also ensures that all members of your in-house team and any wider collaborators on a project can be held accountable to one another – which leads to better results for the task or project.

How do I make my business more transparent?

As a business leader or manager of a team, it is your responsibility to uphold the company’s vision of “the way things are done around here”. This means that you should try to lead by example. You should work openly in collaboration on projects so colleagues can see that you have a role and are committed to a transparent approach – that you have nothing to hide. If you’re asking others to be open about their work, you should be open too.

It is likely that in order to work effectively in a see-through fashion you will need to use a cloud-based technology tool that everyone has access to and can be updated in real-time. Whether that is a project management tool, a document collaboration tool or a voice-attuned collaboration platform, there are plenty of options to choose from.

It is also important to establish some ground rules, so HR teams should work closely with their CIO or IT support to work out how tools will be used and, for instance, what sign-off procedures will need to exist within that environment. These guidelines need to be easy to follow, allow for flexibility in case projects evolve beyond their original scope, and work for all parties.

How do I combat pushback?

Of course, not everyone will find this a comfortable transition – particularly those who have got things to hide. There may be a feeling from employees that you are only doing this because you don’t fully trust them and you want to micromanage your teams.
It’s all about finding the right balance. You need to both trust your employees to work on a task in their own way, but also encourage them to share and play a part in the wider picture to build closer relationships and understanding for the collective good of all.

With employee buy-in, increased transparency can really make a difference to your business. Levelling the playing field by providing equality of access to information is the first and most important step. And as the saying goes, “(shared) knowledge is power”.


This blog post has been taken from an article that Alan, CEO of, wrote for HR Zone recently. Read the full article here.



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