Real-Time Transparency and Visibility: Keys to Effective Decision-Making in the Workplace
Establishing transparency and visibility in the workplace is vital in creating a positive company culture, fostering trust between employers and employees, and improving communication and decision-making.
Transparency in business refers to the practice of sharing critical information with stakeholders. Doing so involves the utilization of effective communication channels that facilitate open dialogue and exchange of information throughout the organization. There are many reasons why real-time transparency and visibility are important in business.
Transparent businesses are able to rapidly identify issues, adapt to new challenges, build trust and accountability, and make reporting straightforward.
In contrast, a business that does not value transparency and visibility ends up having a restrictive company culture that deters progress and growth. When a business lacks transparency in its operations, it also lacks a sense of direction, clarity, and responsibility. It becomes equally difficult for stakeholders and trading partners to trust the company and its decisions.
What Do We Mean by Transparency?
Transparency refers to the practice of openly sharing information, processes, and decisions with stakeholders, both internal (employees) and external (customers, investors, partners, etc.). It involves being honest, clear, and accountable in all business dealings. There are two forms of transparency or visibility within a company.
Digital transparency entails complete openness regarding your technology, procedures, systems, and other digital realms. Transparency in digital matters revolves around your dealings with your IT provider, social media and digital marketing platforms, advertising, software, and third-party suppliers, among others.
Business transparency, on the other hand, refers to complete visibility into every aspect of your company’s operations. This is distinct from digital transparency in several ways. For example, business transparency involves sharing and exchanging data and insights about company performance, revenue, pricing, and other business operations with your team, stakeholders, suppliers, and clients.
Benefits of Having Real-Time Transparency and Visibility
1. Access to Information
Transparency involves providing stakeholders with access to relevant information. This may include financial statements, operational metrics, product information, and corporate policies. By making this information readily available, businesses enable stakeholders to make informed decisions and understand the company’s actions and decisions.
2. Disclosure of Practices and Policies
Transparent businesses are forthcoming about their practices, policies, and procedures. They disclose their ethical standards, compliance measures, and environmental and social initiatives. This transparency builds trust and demonstrates the organization’s commitment to responsible and sustainable business practices.
3. Real-time Information
Have you ever struggled to obtain timely information from colleagues? Factors like time zones, holidays, workload, and data-sharing preferences can hinder communication. Transparency saves time wasted waiting for answers to questions like “What stage is this work item in?” or “How long until that bug is fixed?” When all work is monitored in a value stream management tool, individuals can focus on goal-driven work rather than on mere reporting and status updates.
4. Data-driven Approach
One of the major advantages of having data visibility is the cultural change it brings. Instead of relying solely on intuition, you can use data to inform strategy and resource allocation. By analyzing data exchange across teams, you can identify bottlenecks, improve procedures, and provide assistance to groups that need it. Using statistics to support your case and demonstrate the need for change is more effective than hoping management will agree to requests for additional staff, process changes, or new technology. Sharing data across teams ingrains it into your company’s operational procedures, simplifies the decision-making process, fosters empathy, and strengthens teamwork.
5. Wellness and Medical Benefits
Transparency, visibility, and ethical considerations are essential in distributing and awarding wellness benefits. Important decisions regarding medical care coverage and monetary allocations for employees should be made with clear ethical guidelines to maximize healthcare value for workers and their dependents.
6. Reputational Benefits
A transparent and open culture enhances a company’s reputation in the marketplace, helping it attract top talent and maintain trust among clients and investors. It fosters a healthy work environment, trust, and employee engagement, all contributing to the long-term success of the business and its teams.
Ensuring openness and visibility in the hiring process sets your business apart from your closest competitors. By establishing immediate trust and offering insights into the corporate culture, you can attract and engage mission-critical individuals. The same moral standards and openness at work promote teamwork, candid exchange of ideas, improved employee engagement, and staff retention.
7. Compliance with the Law
Transparent and open human resource policies and procedures ensure a company’s compliance with legal obligations such as equal opportunity employment and anti-discrimination laws. Additionally, it enhances the business’s reputation as a respectable and reliable employer, attracting top talent and fostering positive relationships with industry stakeholders.
8. Culture Contributions
Trust between teams and management shapes a company’s overall culture. In the absence of ethics and openness in corporate decision-making, HR decisions can harm this trust between management and the workforce. Transparency and visibility are, thus, vital to a business because even morally-correct actions may be perceived differently by employees and other parties involved.
9. Fairness and Equality
Transparency and visibility also encompass fairness and equality in business operations. This includes being transparent about compensation practices, promotion criteria, and equal opportunities for all employees. It ensures that there is no favoritism or discrimination, fostering a positive work environment.
10. Long-Term Business Success
Visibility and openness in a company’s decision-making are crucial for the long-term viability of a business. Such decisions foster respect, trust, and a healthy company culture, and minimize legal and reputational concerns. Transparent businesses are able to maintain open and timely communication with investors and shareholders as well. They provide regular updates on financial performance, strategic decisions, and potential risks. This, in turn, enables investors to make more informed decisions and promote confidence in the organization.
11. Clearly-Stated Expectations
When business decisions are made ethically and transparently, employer and employee expectations are precisely defined and matched. Fair and transparent companies tend to be more successful, as they increase employee engagement, strengthen the business culture, and provide individuals with greater freedom of expression. This, in turn, makes employees feel more appreciated, leading to improved employee performance and dedication.
12. Accountability and Responsibility
Transparent businesses take ownership of their actions and accept responsibility for their decisions and their impact on stakeholders. They are willing to acknowledge mistakes, rectify them, and learn from them. This heightened sense of accountability helps to build trust and maintain positive relationships with customers, employees, and partners.
Challenges with Real-Time Transparency and Visibility
1. Covert Efficiencies
While openness encourages cooperation, shared learning, and the elimination of costly mistakes, excessive use of it can also lead to factual inaccuracies and unproductive risk-taking. Workers may feel exposed and vulnerable in wide-open work environments with an abundance of real-time information on how they spend their time. This can result in changes in employee conduct, even if they have nothing negative to hide. They may go to great lengths to keep their activities a secret, and executives may closely monitor employee behavior if they suspect any covert behavior, further exacerbating the issue.
2. Information Overload
Real-time visibility can flood employees with a constant stream of information, which may sometimes lead to information overload. When individuals are bombarded with too much data, it can be challenging to process and prioritize the information effectively. This overload can potentially impact productivity and contribute to decision fatigue.
3. Distraction and Loss of Focus
Continuous real-time updates and notifications can cause distractions and disrupt employees’ focus. Constant interruptions from these notifications and alerts may hinder deep work and concentration on important tasks. Employees may feel pressured to constantly check updates, compromising their ability to fully engage in their work and make progress on important projects.
4. Stress and Pressure
The real-time visibility of performance metrics and progress can create a sense of constant scrutiny and pressure among employees. When their performance is constantly on display, it can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and a fear of making mistakes. This pressure may hinder creativity, risk-taking, and innovation in the workplace.
Finding the Sweet Spot
While real-time visibility and transparency in the workplace offer several advantages, there are also some potential problems, such as information overload, distraction and loss of focus, and even stress and too much pressure to conform to the requirements of an open company culture.
Luckily, many companies from diverse industries have discovered the optimal balance to strike between privacy and openness, reaping the benefits of both. They have implemented four different types of boundaries to create specific zones of privacy in open spaces. Such organizations establish borders around certain teams to prevent constant scrutiny and create dedicated zones of focus.
Boundaries are also set between assessment and feedback to prevent politicking and manipulation, defining zones of judgment. Similarly, zones of slack are established between decision-making and improvement rights to allow for experimentation. Carefully-planned experimental zones of time have limits to prevent both too frequent and too infrequent interruptions. Companies that have implemented these changes consistently receive the most creative, effective, and thoughtful results from their employees.
MSPs and Automated Solutions
Using a Management Service Provider (MSP) can offer several benefits for transparent decision-making within an organization, including the provider’s extensive experience and level of expertise, an objective and unbiased perspective on decision-making, access to comprehensive data and analytics, and better scalability and flexibility.
When choosing an MSP to collaborate with, however, it is important for you to consider the level of openness and transparency being offered by the service provider. The MSP you select should establish an open channel of communication and trust from the moment you engage with it, whether it’s filling out a form on its website, onboarding, receiving quarterly updates, or staying updated on your technology year after year.
Engaging an MSP can bring transparency, expertise, and efficiency to your company’s decision-making processes. It allows you to tap into specialized knowledge, access comprehensive data, and gain an objective perspective, leading to more informed and effective decision-making.
With the right MSP managing your IT operations, you can readily access all types of network-related information, updates on open tickets, security updates from Field1st, insights on how your workforce utilizes technology devices, and other valuable information to assist you in making better decisions.
The Bottom Line
Irreverence fuels our desire to experiment and break away from the norm. However, complete openness can also increase the risk of our irreverent actions catching up to us, discouraging exploration.
Advanced sensing and tracking technology make behavior highly visible in real time. The challenge lies not in the technology itself but in how people, teams, and managers utilize all that information. Cultivating an organizational culture that promotes psychological safety, trust, equal authority, and cooperation can be highly beneficial in this regard. Leaders can play a crucial role in striking the right balance between openness and private zones, allowing for an appropriate amount of deviation to foster creativity and productivity. Increased openness, transparency, and visibility can have positive effects on your bottom line, and foster a more resilient and collaborative workplace.
Take advantage of an enterprise platform focused on reducing OSHA-reported incidents through onsite pre-job briefings, safety observation monitoring, and reporting tailored to your industry. Reach out to learn more about Field1st or to request a demonstration.