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5 Ways to Build a Transparent Business in 2015

glass building

In 2015, the trend striking chords with businesses and tipped to last the test of time is transparency. In an increasingly sceptical world, stakeholders are more interested in transparency than ever. They want businesses to be accountable, and knowing who you are, where you came from and how you operate proves why it’s you they should be working for, or buying from.

Just a few simple culture changes can give your business the transparency edge of mutual trust, shared responsibility and common outcomes. Here are 5 ways you can add transparency to your business in 2015.

1. Transparent Salaries

Normal business practise is to store financial information in a black hole out of employee reach. Not so for Buffer, who are bucking the trend by with their “Open Salaries” concept. The Buffer reasoning is that transparent salaries increase trust and drive employees to prove their worth. Most importantly, transparent salaries breed rational salaries. With no option to sweep information under the rug, the financial impact of decisions can’t be ignored. At Buffer, employees are remunerated according to their quantifiable worth, rather than their inside connections or sly negotiation skills, and surely that can only result in a more trusting, more motivated workforce.

You can see all of Buffer’s employee’s salaries using this public spreadsheet. Here’s where they stood in Feb 2015: 

2. Clear Communication

All too often, front line employees in large businesses suffer from being at the bottom of the grapevine when it comes to internal communications. Messages often get muddied on the way down until employees on the front line are left with a sludgy, censored version of the truth. But if the trickle remains constant all the way down, the message will still be crystal clear when it reaches the bottom. 

Nobody likes bad news, but it’s much easier to take if you know it comes from a place of decency and mutual trust. Keep your employees in the loop and answer their questions honestly, and you’ll retain their talent. Plus, they’ll be more likely to pass the same respect down to your customers.

3. Seek Feedback

You’ve been honest with your employees, but now you need to encourage them to be honest with you. Performance Management apps like iDoneThis allow employees track productivity, including achievements and stumbling blocks. Not only does this kind of bottom-up transparency allow you to respond to issues in real-time, it will help employees progress and grow as a community, rather than a battleground of competing individuals. With the whole community pointed towards the same outcomes your business will be more successful, and your employees will care more about their performance.

Here are the iDoneThis founders – Walter Chen, Rodrigo Guzman and Jae Kwon. Check out their website and see what you think…

4. Take a Stance

Whoever said sitting on the fence is the most sensible option was wrong. Having an opinion goes a long way to breaking down the corporate image and giving a business a personality – something social media has made crucial. Customers want authentic communication, and they can tell when it’s being faked. 

Whole Foods have been praised for their transparency over GMO foods, proving that if you make your stance transparent, avoid U-turns and remain open to others, your jump down from the fence doesn’t have to be painful. If you know your employees and customers well enough, they will more than likely support your honesty. 

Watch Walter Robb, Whole Food’s Co-Chief Executive Officer, introduce their commitment to full GMO transparency in this video:

5. Get Aligned

The final step to transparency is maintaining it. If your marketing goal for 2015 is transparency it makes sense to make it a key attribute of any new hires. Get your employees and managers on the same page, encourage socialising and the culture of transparency will flourish.

How have you implemented transparency into your business? Let us know in the comments section…

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