How Workplace Transparency Boosts Retention
Many employers are feeling the strain of the so-called “Great Resignation.” Record numbers of workers have quit their jobs in 2021, leaving many positions unfilled for months on end. Of course, it’s important to fill those positions as soon as possible. But HR pros know it would be more productive and cost-effective to keep those employees in the first place.
In many workplaces, uncertainty and fear can lead to closing ranks when opening up the business would actually help hold on to talent. More and more, employers are starting to see transparency not as a threat, but as a retention strategy.
Find out more about workplace transparency and how it can improve retention in your organization.
What is Workplace Transparency?
Workplace transparency involves clear and frequent communication between employees and management. But of course, any company can easily send 1000 emails without really saying much of anything.
So, to add to that definition, workplace transparency also means sharing information and expectations—and feeling safe doing so—across teams as well as up and down the organizational chart. Transparency includes both quality and quantity.
What Workplace Transparency is Not
Some may think, “That’s a bit naive. Yes, it would be great if we could get everyone on the same page, but how could we trust them with all that information?” Others may be nervous about the necessary vulnerability involved.
So, it’s important to address what workplace transparency is NOT:
- Transparency is NOT an excuse to breach confidentiality.
- Transparency is NOT an invitation to harassment.
- Transparency is NOT a means to spread gossip.
A commitment to transparency should not become a license for employees to behave unethically, immorally, or immaturely. To avoid these toxic extremes, set boundaries based on your organization’s values.
Your daily HR decisions should be guided by your mission statement, which should be guided by your vision statement. In a similar way, when making decisions about transparency, let this question guide you: Will transparency in this area help build our company culture?
This “culture test” is key, especially if you’re approaching transparency as a retention strategy.
How Does Workplace Transparency Improve Retention?
For better or worse, employment is a relationship, and like any relationship, it’s survival depends on trust. When employers are not open about decisions, it often communicates a lack of trust in their employees. Over time, workers might feel disrespected and wonder if they can trust that business with their livelihood.
However, when an employer demonstrates a commitment to transparency—more often than not—it’s actually their employees who feel seen. Why? Because workplace transparency fosters the kind of mutual respect necessary for a healthy company culture.
It also encourages more engagement and better communication, creating a positive feedback loop. That positive feedback loop plays a bigger role in retention than you might imagine. HR pros know that workers’ perceptions of company culture can often undermine many deliberate efforts at improving it. For example, a well-written Culture Guide—or enhanced employee handbook—can lay a firm foundation for your company culture, but it still depends on the daily interactions between leadership and staff to build it up.
The positive feedback loop that comes from transparency feels more organic and authentic to employees than written policies and expectations alone, and it pays to focus your attention on that approach.
After all, an investment in transparency has a much higher ROI than the costs of replacing top talent. And it often costs nothing to disclose more.
You can stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with retention, company culture, and other important topics using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:
- BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news
- HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
- HR Guides—essential pillars, covering an extensive list of comprehensive HR topics
- BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
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