Culture and Transparency

As a change manger with project, operations, and human resource experience the area of company culture is one that I frequently address.  Having worked in mining, construction, industrial supply, and healthcare the observation is that the permeating culture of an industry is either shaped by the entire organization, or, there is an undertone that is shaped by the employees.  In the case of culture being shaped by employees there is often a disconnection between what the leadership proclaims and the day-to-day operational practices.

Transparency in culture is a challenge that requires alignment from the executive all the way to casual staff.  One of the companies I had the privilege of working for provided a blueprint for that alignment that is worth sharing.

  1. Take the time to develop a code of conduct and ethics.
  2. Ensure you have input from all levels of the organization when developing the code.
  3. Orientation for all employees from the CEO / President to the part time casual staff is mandatory.
  4. Ensure employees to understand and appreciate that decisions they make and activities they engage in reflect the principles in the code of conduct.
  5. Encourage employees to refer to the code when faced with a decision or challenge.
  6. Provide a safe and confidential method for employees to voice concerns, code infractions, or areas that may need to be reviewed.
  7. Engage a random selection of employees from different divisions or departments to review the code of conduct every 2 – 3 years.
  8. Incorporate recommended changes to the code and have all employees re-oriented to the differences.

This company had a transparent culture that employees were all aware of.  Transparency was present at every level as was the level of engagement.  Employees typically had buy in and those who did not left to pursue other opportunities.  The overall attrition rate was less than 5 percent annually.

What experiences have you had with company culture and transparency?

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