What is Transparency in the Workplace?

For example, companies like Buffer share payout, revenue, and diversity figures. This is an extraordinarily high degree of transparency. Buffer internalizes transparency as a workplace value and as a result has a high degree of trust with both its customers and teams. But a company doesn't necessarily need this degree of transparency to build trust. Just sharing the company's growth plans, mentioning mistakes, and inviting questions goes a long way.

The University of California calls transparency “a skill, a mindset, a perspective.” Workplace transparency is a company culture that fosters trust, innovation and job satisfaction. A lack of transparency can undermine the sense of belonging, connection and collaboration among colleagues.

The Importance of Leadership and Transparency


This is the only reason company leaders have become transparent.

As a leader, you build trust when employees don't have to guess why you made a decision.

When they can be open and honest with you in constructive feedback.

When they can come to you with difficulty without fear of judgment or reaction.

When they know you won't go back on your word and let them know if you need to go back.

Confidence increases employee job satisfaction and makes team members feel empowered. It can also prevent job loss. Employees who trust you won't wait until it's too late to bring up any problems that arise with their job. That's why you should invest in a workplace culture built on transparency.

What is an example of workplace transparency?

Workplace transparency comes in many forms. The most talked about are pay, hiring, diversity, career development and company performance. Two examples of what it looks like:

Transparency in diversity efforts

Companies like Buffer share diversity numbers so the team can hold leadership accountable. They also issue payrolls to combat the gender pay gap. Some other companies create transparency in the hiring process with skills tests and standard interview questions. These help to remove implicit bias and give equal chances to all candidates.

The benefits and drawbacks of transparency in the workplace

What can transparency do for you and your team, and how can it hurt your organization?

Benefits of transparency in the workplace

Transparency builds trust and dedication

Employees trust leaders to look after their well-being and employees to put them to work. This only happens when there is two-way communication, which is typical of a transparent culture. “I feel motivated to work because I feel I can trust the company,” one employee says. He continues to set an example. “When my manager talked about optimizing marketing spend due to the economic climate, I started thinking about doubling my efforts to get ROI from marketing.”

Transparency improves teamwork and productivity

60% of employees do not know enough about their company's goals. As a result of this uncertainty, employees experience chronic stress. This inhibits the release of oxytocin and undermines employees' ability to connect with coworkers. This hinders teamwork.

Transparency attracts world-class talent

A Slack study found that 87% of employees value transparency at a new company. A previous study found that employee happiness depends on transparency. The number and quality of job applicants has increased since the release of Buffer salaries.

7 ways to increase transparency in the workplace

1. Notify your team of changes/possible changes as soon as you get the news.

By being the first to let them know, you reinforce their trust in you.

2. Provide honest and constructive feedback.

If people find out you're lying, you'll lose their trust.

3. Communicate expectations often and in a timely manner.

4. Document training and processes.

When people know what to do, how to do it, and who to contact for help, they will feel more confident at work. This also provides better efficiency.

5. Consider sharing the job performance status with your employees.

If your company can afford it, share information about your income and how you stack up against goals. This way, employees can be assured that they will not be fired unexpectedly.

6. Explain your decisions and encourage employees to ask questions/share feedback.

This encourages teamwork and employee satisfaction. People feel they are part of something bigger than themselves.

7. Make the payment transparent as well.

If you can afford it, let everyone know what their coworkers earned and why they earned that amount.

Transparency is a two-way street and it starts with you

It involves increasing confidence, dedication, and attracting outstanding candidates. But these are just theirnot for their sake.

It's up to you as a company to initiate transparency. Listen to how they feel, empathize with them. That way, you don't break their trust when they learn elsewhere. Do you want to change your company culture or improve communication in your organization?

Reach out to Tappy today to consult and plan for your company.