Transparency at Work – What is it?

As an advocate of transparency I was recently asked what the term actually refers to.  For starters every person and every level of the organization is impacted. It requires that the business be open about its processes and decisions.

Being open requires fairness.  Employees are hyper vigilant when it comes to fairness.  Differences in work hours, availability of parking spaces, granted request for vacation time during peak seasons – these are all noted by employees.  When employees know and understand the processes involved for variations in each of the areas mentioned (and numerous other areas not mentioned) buy in occurs.

Applying the same standards across all divisions and departments cements employee buy in.  Lack of standardization or a perception of specialized or different treatment from one division to the next is a breeding ground for discontent and even animosity.

There are some organizations that are championing transparency in relation to salaries and perks even for Executives.  It is not clear that knowing what the salary level of your boss or your boss’s boss adds to a sense of fair play at work.  Knowing the salary ranges for positions you aspire to has merit.

From my perspective transparency matters and is necessary.  As to having the knowledge of what everyone in the company makes it seems to me some prudence in having that information readily available to all employees is necessary.  Knowledge of salary levels throughout the organization makes sense.  Knowing what everyone makes seems to be inviting divisiveness where it does not need to be.

What areas of your business are transparent?  By the same token what areas could be more transparent and lead to the enhancement of the workplace?

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at