How Transparency in the Workplace Boosts Employee Engagement

How Transparency in the Workplace Boosts Employee Engagement Publié le 20 December 2021 Par

By asking how transparency in the workplace boosts employee engagement, it will lead to a more open and improved work environment.

Confidentiality and restricted flow of information from the top-down and across the workplace hierarchies has been a common practice in organizations for a long time. As companies become more diverse in terms of their talent and cultures, however, employees can no longer be held in restrictive bubbles. Honesty, openness, and transparency are the mantra in the new modern workplace, as this allows every employee to feel welcome, motivated, and a part of the bigger picture. Transparency in the workplace is, therefore, a key element needed to increase employee trust and satisfaction which ultimately culminates in boosted employee engagement. 

What is transparency in the workplace?

Transparency, in simple terms, is a two-way and honest openness between management and employees. It relates to the type of information being exchanged between the two and also the level at which it is shared. The philosophy behind transparency is the free sharing of relevant information such that it benefits both the company and the employees. Therefore the goal is openness not only between the management and the employees but also between the individual teammates. 

Importance of transparency in the workplace

Like in human relationships, transparency in the workplace builds trust. It leads to a number of benefits such as: 

1. Promoting a strong workplace culture 

Workplace culture is how the people within the company interact and work with each other. A good workplace culture involves open communication between teams and the management which leads to trust and strong collaboration. When the company culture encourages honesty and transparency, it creates strong leaders who open up communication for a better flow of ideas. The members of such teams feel that they are respected as valued employees and go the extra mile when needed. Good workplace culture also increases the likelihood of advocacy by its loyal employees, helping to attract highly qualified applicants to available job roles.  

2. Increasing employee engagement 

The importance of transparency in the workplace is best seen in how it boosts employee engagement. Transparency forms the basis for employee recognition and satisfaction. 

As per the latest research, organizations that reward their employees see a 14% increase in productivity and performance.

Recognition is not only about rewarding employees with points and gift cards- but it is also about showing the rest of the team the significance of the contribution made by the employee. This appreciation is an important element of highly productive workplaces as it shows that their opinions and contributions matter. 

Employee appreciation is no longer limited to a yearly award or holiday gift. Employee recognition software can help you recognize and celebrate employee milestones from onboarding to retirement.

Employees who feel that their work is essential for the success of the company are more intrinsically motivated to put in their best effort. 

3. Improving communication

A work culture that promotes transparency will see more open communication as employees are encouraged to speak out on different things. A free exchange of ideas, needed to solve complex problems, can only be facilitated through open communication. It also spurs creativity and expands the pool of good ideas which is a critical element in the modern workplace. Employees who feel that their opinions are valued can pitch in solutions without having to worry about embarrassment. 

When the management is open about the successes and missteps, it encourages employees to come forward with inputs that are useful rather than hiding or shifting the blame. Open communication also leads to fewer conflicts and resolves conflicts sooner in the event that one arises. 

4. Improving Client Relationship   

The company-wide improvement brought about by transparency in the workplace translates into better relationships with clients. Employees who care more about their company’s performance will also treat customers with a higher level of care and meet their expectations on time. It is often the case that the clients are treated by the employees in the same way that they are treated by their company. Happy customers will not only remain loyal but also greatly boost the brand reputation.  

How does a culture of transparency impact business outcomes? 

Transparent work culture has a positive impact on business in areas such as: 

1. Recruitment 

Transparency has benefits for the recruitment process that organizations are starting to realize. Detailed and accurate job descriptions from the company and honest communication from the recruitment team are essential for attracting the right prospects. It can also be improved by including the salary range in job postings to save time in the interview process and get applications from those who seek a similar level of compensation. Transparency at this level not only simplifies the recruitment process but also establishes the employer brand.  

2. Employee Performance Management 

One way that companies pave the way for transparency in performance management reviews is by disconnecting them from pay hikes and promotions. Having shorter and more frequent reviews help managers and employees to address issues quickly and make small corrections rather than waiting for one review at the end of the year. Transparency in the workplace facilitates peer evaluation which will refine the review process as teammates can offer insights that managers rarely have. This kind of performance management process is less stressful to the employees and can greatly improve their engagement. 

3. Organizational Goal-setting 

It can be challenging to convince the executives to make the company numbers and decision-making process more transparent. However, when the upper management is honest about the company’s future, it eases employee anxiety and motivates them to stick around and work harder. Knowing the organization at that level also instills a sense of ownership and trust in the employees. Low anxiety, a sense of ownership, and motivation to perform are all characteristics of a highly engaged workforce. High engagement ultimately impacts the bottom line. 

How to promote a culture of transparency in the workplace?

Transparency comes with a degree of vulnerability that makes it a tricky goal to achieve. In competitive environments where people are apprehensive about being open, it takes some encouragement to nudge them out of their comfort zones. With that being said, here is how to promote transparency in the workplace: 

1. Get everyone on the same page 

To create a comfortable environment that encourages transparency in the workplace, it is essential to have everyone on the same page regarding the goals, values, work culture, and vision of the company. Whether it is the new employee or the CEO, everyone should have a clear understanding of the goals and vision that determine the future. By bringing everyone on the same page it is possible to have them work towards the same end result and even motivate others to stick to the goal. The goals and vision should be reviewed and updated on a weekly or monthly basis to set the tone for the work they do. 

2. Prioritize Open Communication 

So how to improve transparency in the workplace once the framework has been established? Prioritize open communication. Transparency in the workplace is not possible without having effective communication across the teams and from the top-down from management. It is critical that the path of communication between upper management and employees remains open in both directions. 

More than 60% of American workers say that their bosses stress the importance of constant communication.

The workplace culture should also be set up to encourage honest expression as long as it is relevant and remains within the established boundaries of what is acceptable. Historically, dissenting opinions of non-management individuals have been ignored or stifled by company leaders. Having open communication means that employees feel safe to express their opinions or concerns without fear of dismissal.  

3. Appreciate Feedback 

Encourage feedback from employees regarding the company and how its operations can be improved. This will not only invite great ideas but also make the employees feel that their opinion is valued. Employees who feel valued are more invested in the company and can share valuable insights for improvement that often goes unnoticed by the top level. Holding these regular conversations is also a good time for the leaders to share information and updates regarding the organization. Taking time to talk to employees will also encourage them to put more effort into problem-solving. 

4. Share Both Success and Failure

Keeping the employees in the loop about both the positive and negative is another way to foster a culture of transparency. It’s important to share news about the successes and accomplishments of the company and equally important to share news about the goals that were missed, challenges yet to be overcome, and obstacles still being faced. So why is transparency important in business when it comes to failures? Because nobody likes to be blindsided by a company’s abrupt decisions to let go of a section of the workforce or make cutbacks in spending. However, that doesn’t mean that such news should be given without proper planning and preparation. The right approach would be to encourage and inspire employees in tough times and not trigger panic. They need to feel involved in the events and not get taken by surprise. 

5. Create a Culture of Accountability 

Accountability is the final ingredient for promoting transparency in an organization. Too little oversight or too much of it can both have detrimental effects on the transparency of employees. To motivate them intrinsically, it is essential to instill a sense of accountability towards maintaining honesty and openness. When individuals are accountable, they encourage their teammates to play by the rules and be accountable for their choices and actions. 

Role of transparency in boosting Employee Engagement

A disengaged employee is unmotivated, doesn’t care about the work or the organization, and is mostly there for the paycheck. The engaged employee is a powerhouse in the office who is not only willing to contribute their bust but also motivates others to do so. Transparency in the workplace leads to the essentials of employee engagement such as: 

  • Collaboration: Collaborative environments have open and honest communication which makes it safe for employees to share ideas and work on a problem together. The free flow of information across departments keeps individuals in the loop about the bigger picture. This makes them feel like they are an important part of the company and more likely to collaborate harmoniously. 

72% of millennials feel more engaged when managers help them set performance goals.

  • Empowerment: Transparency keeps the information flowing through the team, therefore employees need a little briefing on the nature and outcome of their work. Instead of telling them what to do, leaders take up the role of a collaborator or a mentor to share their knowledge for the purpose of guidance. This empowers the employees to have more autonomy and authority over their tasks making them highly engaged.

  • Trust: Transparency is the basis of trust, and it is essential that the employers and employees maintain a high degree of trust to increase employee engagement. Trust garners commitment from the employees, and although companies strive to hire people who will remain invested physically, mentally, and emotionally, a lack of trust can undermine everything.   

Why is business transparency key for employee engagement

Trust is one of the key elements to employee satisfaction and engagement. The first step towards trust is to build transparency between management and employees.  Transparency is proof that the management will hold their end of the deal and show their faith in their employees. When organizations are transparent about their goals and visions, it aligns every member in the same direction and instills a sense of responsibility and accountability. Therefore business transparency fosters a sense of ownership in employees and increases their engagement. 

How does transparency from leaders increase employee engagement

Leaders are the people who act as a medium between the organization and its employees. According to Gallup, survey managers contribute to 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores. Therefore leaders play a significant role in opening up communication between the employees and organizations to build trust. This is more important in uncertain times as the transparency of leaders is a reassuring act that keeps employees engaged at work.


Employee engagement is associated with a number of positive behaviors such as trust, optimism, passion for work, going the extra mile, and strong team cohesion. The one common denominator for all these factors is transparency. When there is a culture that encourages transparency between all employees at every level of an organization, it leads to a sense of trust and camaraderie which are powerful drivers of engagement. Transparency is also essential to help employees realize their part in the bigger picture and take up full ownership of their role, which boosts their job satisfaction and in turn their engagement.

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