“From giant companies with multiple levels of corporate hierarchy to small startups just implementing a scalable culture, the transparency question lingers large. It’s hard to know what the best form of transparency is, and when your company is stepping over the privacy line. With transparency being a tough corporate tightrope to walk, many companies abandon the balancing act altogether.” - Ilya Pozin (@IlyaNeverSleeps), Founder of Pluto TV, Open Me, and Coplex
Pozin brings up a good point… transparency is a tightrope, but it is a necessary balancing act. The balancing act doesn’t come from the question of whether or not to build an organization with an open and transparent rapport. Rather, how companies translate their openness throughout the organization. That means that goal management goes up and down the ladder; it doesn’t just trickle down from the top. Regardless of the structure of the organization, the responsibility of goal maintenance is equal between employees and supervisors.
Overall, managers don’t communicate goals the way they should; 71% of employees don’t feel their supervisors communicate company goals down the line effectively. Enlightening managers to their goal-oriented shortcomings might be difficult for the team because employees may have a hard time “managing up.”
Even in the most altruistic and open office space, the team is often apprehensive to give their supervisors honest feedback. For fear it will haunt their time at the company, they keep managerial shortcomings to themselves.
In some companies this might be the case. In your organization, however, managing up the ladder is just as important as managing down the ladder. In order to help your team reach their goals, it’s important they understand goals at the organizational level as well. This is why supervisors and their employees alike should work towards mutual goals and regularly communicate what these goals are.
Managing the Team
Team alignment isn’t a happenstance, it takes purposeful strategic planning. That’s why you first need to create a map for organizational transparency. The first step in creating transparent goals for your team starts with defining the vision for the company. Once the goal is explained as a whole, organizational leaders have to take the goal and separate it into digestible and relevant goals for each team member. Companies who provide their workers with achievable bits of this overall goal are 4x more likely to score in the top 25% of business outcomes.
All of this goal transparency is irrelevant unless you’re able to track it. The tracked information allows organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of those goals and act on that information. Using the right software to track employee goal success keeps your team and your company from cascading down the wrong path.
On the route to goal transparency, organizations have to show their employees how they are valued in the organization. A vast majority of engaged employees (72% to be exact) understand the importance of their work and how that goes forward to accomplish company goals. Furthermore, companies with high levels of engagement report 22% higher productivity. So, transparency in goals effectively leads to an increase in employee productivity because the team is more engaged while at work.
Roughly 50% of organizational leadership says the number one reason their companies are held back is due to a lack of transparency. Not employee engagement, not workforce benefits, not the company culture… transparency is required to not only maintain or increase engagement, but also to keep the organization progressive.
Managing through transparent goals isn’t the sole responsibility of those in management positions. Employees are just as liable for goal maintenance. While it may be difficult for workers in some organizations to manage up, a truly transparent company fosters this kind of relationship. The nature of the company culture fosters an open intellectual environment so employees feel safe to do so. Although goal transparency isn’t just top-down, managers are responsible for ensuring their employees know what the goals are and how they are a part of those goals. Translate your organizational goals with transparency to see greater communication, higher productivity, and more engaged employees.
Andre is the CEO and co-founder of ClearCompany. Prior to ClearCompany, Andre was Global Managing Director at Thomson Reuters, where he ran a 1Bn global business across 90 countries. Prior to Thomson Reuters, Andre was responsible for product development and operations at CCBN, a company he helped grow from a small start-up to number 36 on the INC 500.