Is “being yourself” and allowing yourself to be vulnerable at work a possible reality? Well, it turns out that as much as true transparency and authenticity can be very uncomfortable at times, the benefits and happiness that results is worth it.
When people feel embraced for being their authentic selves, teamwork and employee experience becomes rich and robust. When people know what’s going on, chances are they trust leadership more, especially during the rough times. So how should we approach creating a more transparent and authentic workplace? Let’s dive deeper into the topic:
Why transparency matters
Transparency is one of the easiest ways to boost employee satisfaction. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer published early this year, 83% of employees say they fear losing their job. Imagine what this figure might look like with the pandemic—in an ever-changing world where people are increasingly worried about keeping their jobs, employees desire and expect transparency to keep up with what’s happening at their companies and what might affect their personal lives.
By sharing high-level information such as the company’s vision, employees are likely to become more engaged, committed, and take actions in alignment with the broader organizational purpose.
Why authenticity matters
Apart from the fact that pretending to be someone you aren’t is suffocating, there are many reasons why we should aim to create authentic workplaces. When people speak up, the best ideas and solutions are brought to the table. Employees who trust their leaders are encouraged to take risks and grow in discomfort. This helps the workforce become more resilient and overcome hard times together.
Authenticity is also crucial to building connections in a work setting. When you share more about yourself and your personal life, team building and collaborating comes with fewer obstacles and friction.
Who‘s responsible for setting the tone of a transparent and authentic workplace?
It’s everyone’s responsibility to create and maintain the work environment, but leaders have to start living these behaviours intentionally. Edelman’s Trust Barometer noted that trust decreases from top positions—64% of surveyed executives trust their organizations, whereas only 48% of regular staff do. That means supervisors ought to pay extra attention to transparent communication and building trust with their direct reports.
5 ways to create a more transparent and authentic work environment
The key thing about transparency is to make sure there’s access to information. Whether it’s through a slide deck, a video update, or a simple email, share company-wide metrics and results so your employees are aligned with the progress of achieving macro-goals. This promotes unity and a sense of belonging as most people enjoy being a part of something bigger than themselves.
Documenting everything also includes informal gatherings too. It’s easy to make an event “optional” in a remote world and therefore, many people stay out of the loop. Record Lunch and Learns or guest workshops so people can catch up on company happenings especially for dispersed teams and those who enjoy flexible work schedules. At Jostle, we try to make a conscious effort to upload all information and resources to our intranet's Library.
There should be timely communication happening at all levels of the organization. Whether it’s a monthly AMA (Ask Me Anything) session with the CEO, team check-ins, and 1:1 meetings, employees should be connecting with their peers and managers, and maintain access to the wider leadership team. Invites for questions towards management can help foster a sense of trust and openness, rewarding curiosity.
Don’t hide or sugar coat bad news
Especially in these tumultuous times, it’s even more essential to demonstrate authenticity and align your workforce through the challenges. Having to lead difficult conversations through tough encounters requires vulnerability, a quality that makes it easier to build rapport and connection with.
Feedback: Honesty is the best policy
I’m sure you’ve heard that communication is a two-way street. In a transparent workplace, we need more than constant top-down relay of information; instead, leaders should ask for feedback both ways. When receiving challenging feedback, make sure comments are received and address concerns directly. At Jostle, we practice co-creation to regularly involve and jot down the consideration of all stakeholders before making any decisions.
Walk the talk
Employees today are more aware of whether their leaders live up to their promises or not They’re looking for competence and ethical behaviour, so ensure you deliver and keep your word when committing to an improvement or change. The rise of employee activism means that more and more employees are holding their employers accountable, particularly on issues such as diversity, pay, and community improvement.
Transparency allows individuals to feel in the know and a part of something bigger. Promoting authenticity means that employees are allowed to express themselves and contribute from their unique viewpoints and experiences. A transparent and authentic work environment contributes to meaningful work and trusting teams, and truly makes a difference.
Being yourself at work creates a more authentic workplace for you and your team.