Your company has an engagement problem, and it's costing you big dollars.

According to Gallup's 2017 State of the Global Workplace Report, less than 35 percent of employees described themselves as engaged at work;  engaged employees describe themselves in this survey as "involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace." 

If this survey data is true for your company, two-thirds of your team members are doing less than they otherwise could to help you  grow your business. Across the United States, that costs companies like yours over $500 billion a year.

Your secret weapon in your fight to keep your team engaged: transparency. Here's why:

Transparency creates trust.

Trust is the foundation of any healthy work environment. As the leader, your primary responsibility is to communicate a clear vision for where the organization is going. If strong trust hasn't been established between you and your team, or between the members of your team, then the clarity of that vision will become murky as individuals question leadership's true intentions.

Nothing builds trust faster than full transparency. In the absence of details, people tend to fill in the blanks with "worst case scenario" information: "We aren't backfilling that department manager position? The company must be getting ready to downsize the entire department!"  

When important events unfold, ask yourself, "Is there a message that I need to deliver to my team to help them understand why these decisions were made?" If the answer is yes, give them the full spectrum of information.  Team members that feel trusted are more likely to be engaged in their work.

Transparency reduces friction.

Payroll is the single largest expense for most businesses, so it's critical that your team operates at the highest possible level of efficiency.  That state can only be achieved if your team has the information it needs to make critical decisions.

Every time an employee has to stop what they're doing to ask a manager what to do, it costs you money. Every time a manager postpones a decision because they're afraid to make the wrong decision, it costs you money.  Most of the time, these slowdowns are avoidable. The team lacks the information or the context they need to make a confident decision in the moment, and feels the needs to ask permission from someone else.

These moments of indecision really add up over time, and you can attack this problem quickly with an increase in transparency.  Does your team understand how their role fits into the larger goals of the organization? Are they provided with the data they need to feel confident in these moments, or are you playing gatekeeper, forcing them to seek out information as it's needed? When getting work done is more difficult than it needs to be, engagement suffers.

Transparency creates peer accountability.

Nothing drives employee engagement quite like publicly posting individual and team results. By giving your team access to everyone's performance data, you're harnessing the power of human nature and communicating that there's an expectation of self-management and accountability.

If you find yourself looking at performance metrics at the leadership team level, but struggling to drive engagement at the frontline level, consider sharing this data across the organization and getting out of the way.  You'll be amazed at how quickly people begin to obsess over their numbers; you'll start dealing with a whole host of new issues related to data quality ("My numbers are wrong, how do we fix that?"). Arguably, those are great issues to be solving. 

Increasing the engagement level of your team can pay big dividends. Transparency is your tool to get there.

Published on: May 2, 2018