The latest CitiBank commercial advertising its Double Cash Card resonates with many of us: At the end of a date, a man and a woman discuss the next steps in their relationship. The man openly tells the woman that he plans to send her a vague text message, to which the woman candidly replies, “I’ll wait a full two days before responding.” By the time the woman’s taxi arrives, the two have agreed that they have no interest in seeing each other again.
“Wouldn’t it be great if everyone said what they meant?” The commercial asks.
In today’s world, people want to stay informed. Driven, in part, by advances in technology that enable convenient, constant access to information, individuals have formed an expectation to always know what’s going on — and that extends to businesses. In the corporate world, both employees and customers expect transparency so they can make the best decisions.
Employees, for example, may want to clearly understand specific company goals or project budgets, so they can adjust their priorities accordingly. Customers, on the other hand, may want a company to be open when it makes a mistake, so they can understand why it happened and how the company plans to reconcile the situation.
Whether it is between managers and employees or vendors and customers, transparency fosters an open and honest environment, which builds trust. Trust is fundamental when it comes to growth, and growth is what propels individuals and businesses forward to reach their goals.
When your company is transparent, here are a few of the benefits you’ll see.
The higher the trust between two parties, the more confident both will be to take risks and think outside of the box. For example, through a supervisor’s trust and support, an employee might explore an unconventional approach to solve a common workplace problem without fear of getting in trouble. Similarly, customers who trust their vendors are often more likely to try a product or service that is new to them.
Risk-taking is beneficial because it leads to building strength and improving resilience. As PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) puts it, “Resilience is an organization’s capacity to anticipate and react to change, not only to survive, but also to evolve.” Simply put, higher risk yields higher rewards.
Openness to feedback — good and bad
When critiques come from a trusted source, the recipient tends to be more receptive to that feedback and more likely to implement improvements based on what does and does not work. Thus, allocation of resources becomes more effective, because they get distributed toward solutions that will work.
Clearly defined expectations
Successful relationships require two-way communication. Keeping the lines open between all parties ensures that nothing gets overlooked and expectations remain clear. For example, if an employee understands he must stay within a certain budget from the beginning of a project, he’ll be much better equipped to develop an appropriate plan. Similarly, if a company is transparent about its pricing and deliverables — avoiding hidden fees or fine print — there’s less room for customer dissatisfaction.
In the end, everyone involved can be productive — and with high productivity rates, growth will likely continue.
When growth is evident, everyone involved begins to see that the partnership works. Employees feel valued, and customers feel renewed confidence in the vendor. Because of those strengthened relationships, more collaboration happens, creating an environment conducive to achieving goals.
Positive results, positive atmosphere
As transparency results in growth, an organization will likely become even more confident and optimistic about the future. Encouraged by that growth, employees are more likely to stay motivated and engaged, and customers will remain satisfied that they are in good hands.
Think about your favorite restaurant. Why do you go back? Is it because of the food? The service? Ultimately, it’s your satisfaction with the experience that keeps you a patron of that restaurant. Positive experiences are what help relationships continue to work.
As employees and customers experience satisfaction because of a company’s transparency, they’re more likely to remain committed to that organization.
For organizations, employee retention is important because it eliminates the time and costs associated with hiring replacements. Similarly, customer retention should be highly valued because it has the potential to grow the book of business through referrals and testimonials.
When you consider the positive impacts of transparency, it’s clear that establishing clear, honest communication as a best practice should be a priority for any business. When organizations are proponents of making information available and empowering others with that information, they will build trust and, ultimately, pave the way for the company to grow and thrive. To learn more about developing a workplace culture of transparency, get in touch.