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10 strategies for building a culture of transparency in the workplace

10 entrepreneurs share how they try to be transparent with employees.

5 min read


Open culture


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Q: What is one way you plan to be more transparent with your staff to ensure everyone’s on the same page? What specific strategy will you use to make this happen?

1. Communicate constantly and openly

Aside from quarterly all-hands meetings and purpose-based group meetings, leaders should communicate as often as possible with the entire company. I think of each day as a snack. Friday is the dinnertime and the best time to review the week: what went well, what didn’t, what will be the focus next week. These weekly emails are not only simple to draft, but can keep your mind on what matters most. — Logan Lenz, PartsMarket

2. Make metrics and roadmap

We place digital displays all around our office that switch between showing our sales metrics and quarterly product roadmap. The displays are strategically placed in the office entryway, the lunch room, and around our conference rooms so people can’t miss the latest news and data. The displays also have live feeds of our social media posts so the team has access to the most up-to-date content. — Nanxi Liu, Enplug

3. Use a shared platform

It’s fine if employees use a variety of social media sites and collaborative platforms. For transparency, though, it’s good if there’s one main platform that everyone shares for key news, updates, changes and important information. Asana is a good choice but there are others as well. Encourage your team to check in daily and stay current with the latest happenings. — Shawn Porat, Scorely

4. Build personal rapport

Creating trust goes a long way in making an organization transparent. An easy way to make employees feel they’re not in the dark is building rapport at a personal level, no matter whether you’re a CEO or a manager. Hosting fun events where employees’ families are invited gives us plenty of time to talk about work-unrelated topics. Trust develops when you relate to employees in a casual atmosphere. — Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns

5. Create a safe space for feedback

Transparency was a value upon which our company was founded, and is integral to our success. We do quarterly on or off-sites with a deep dive into everything going on (good and bad) with the company. The staff knows we value their questions, opinions and insight. Creating a safe space for your team to share critical feedback or ask hard questions is key to building a strong, transparent culture. — Jennifer Mellon, Trustify

6. Turn freelancers Into team members

For anyone that is using outsourced freelancers to complete a lot of work on their sites or business, it’s time to think about bringing them in-house and making them part of the team. This doesn’t mean you need to pay more or actually have them work at your location, it simply means providing them with more work and responsibilities, thus improving the relationship and trust in the process. — Zac Johnson,

7. Keep them in the loop

Feeling out of the loop on key business decisions isn’t good for morale, and staff can’t fully contribute or perform if they’re in the dark. Keep your team in sync by sharing as much as you can about company plans, strategies, and challenges ahead of time. — Sam Saxton, Paragon Stairs

8. Document and share the hard lessons

Start documenting the lessons you and your team are learning and develop a history of your company. As they say, “those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This includes companies that deal with employees leaving with institutional knowledge. Then, whether it’s in weekly stand-ups or town halls, find opportunities to share those lessons openly with the team. — Jonathan Gass, Nomad Financial

9. Be open about KPIs

Every Monday we have our update meeting with our entire staff, from warehouse to executive, to update on new product arrivals as well as upcoming marketing promotions. While we don’t review all key performance indicators, we do talk about some to let everyone know where we stand. By removing uncertainty about our companies’ health, our employees can work toward their future. — Marc Lobliner, and MTS Nutrition

10. Give the team whiteboards

Put a whiteboard in every office, and write the monthly plan on it at the beginning of each month. Instruct the team to track their progress on it and then share it by snapping a pic on their phone and circulate when needed. The pics can be sent through Slack or other apps, and the presence of the photo on the phone will be motivating. — Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley, LLP