While it shouldn’t be the motivation for good corporate behavior, whistleblowers can certainly keep an organization – and their company culture and business operations– in check. According to Glassdoor’s “What’s Ahead for Jobs? Five Disruptions to Watch in 2018,” last year proved that employees who feel mistreated don’t stay silent. Case in point: The former Uber employee whose blog post about the company’s dysfunctional culture went viral and ultimately resulted in its founder stepping down.
If there are less than favorable practices taking place in your organization, you should expect that the public will find out. Not sure how to stop these practices from happening in the first place? An honest and transparent company culture is the only way.
The Society for Human Resources Management’s (SHRM) 2017 “Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement” survey reported the greatest contributor to employee job satisfaction is “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels.” It ranked even higher than pay! This goes to show that employees are not going to stand for a company culture that is toxic and harmful. Being “respectful” to employees is a bare minimum when it comes to the spectrum of employee engagement, but it’s a start.
The SHRM report suggests revisiting core values and aligning behaviors to those principles, then asking employees for feedback about whether your observations of those behaviors are accurate. Coaching, particularly for management, is important to ensure transparency throughout the organization. According to a survey conducted by TINYpulse, management transparency is the top factor in determining employee happiness (with a correlation coefficient of 0.937). Managers must be honest about their knowledge (and limitation of it) and not only open to discussion but actively involve and solicit ideas from employees.
You may have heard the term “radical transparency” as it pertains to the work environment. It means nothing remains a secret. (Not even salaries.) And while it has worked for two decades for Bridgewater Associates, a hedge fund firm worth more than $160 billion and whose founder came up with the term, can it work for you?
What we do know is that the generation that now represents the majority of workers in the US expect transparency, seeking out information about benefits and perks, company stability, salary ranges, management, growth opportunities and the company’s mission and vision. A recent survey by Indeed found that 95 percent of respondents said insight into a company’s employer reputation is important when searching for a new job. And, if candidates can’t find what they’re looking for online, it provokes automatic distrust.
The idea of employer branding just doesn’t cut it. Candidates want to hear from potential, current and future employees in order to sniff out untruths. Empower your employees to be ambassadors for your company to attract like-minded people. The only way for them to do this though is if you genuinely provide a positive employee experience.
According to research conducted by Cone Communications, 66 percent of millennials are more likely to engage with brands when issues of social responsibility are brought to the forefront. This is proof they crave transparency – not just in their workplace, but when doing any kind of business. Since this age group is projected to overtake the boomers next year as the generation with the largest population, that’s nothing to scoff at. And their spending power is just as great.
This is not hard to achieve if you’ve already dug deep to define who you want to be. It shouldn’t be about what will bring in masses of customers. It’s your chance to be authentic, and genuinely attract customers who share the same ideals as you. According to Business Insider’s “As America Becomes More Polarized, Private Companies are Getting Pushed into the Political Spotlight,” a SurveyMonkey poll taken last year showed 68 percent of respondents said it’s “important for corporations to take a stand on important political issues facing the nation,” and 78 percent said CEOs should have a role in advising governments “on policies that impact their industry.”
Just be sure your stance aligns with your mission, vision and values. There is a warning here: With the divided political climate, be sure you understand the potential ramifications of your involvement and opinions on certain issues. Not everyone will like it. But, those who do, will stick by your side. The “2016 Label Insight Transparency ROI Study” found that when a brand offers complete transparency, 94 percent of respondents are likely to be loyal to that brand. And when consumers switch to a brand because of increased transparency, they are committed for the long haul: 56 percent said they would be very likely to stay loyal to a completely transparent brand “for life.”