Transparency: The Key to Keeping Employee Morale High and Turnover Low

“My organization makes me unhappy and I love it.”- Said no one ever.

Employee happiness is a growing topic of concern among organizations as they try to lower turnover rate and boost employee morale for both financial and ethical reasons. Keeping employees happy doesn’t necessarily mean providing them with happy hours on a yacht or expensive catered lunches (although, who wouldn’t like that?), and organizations are realizing that keeping employee morale high could be considered an ethical no brainer. However, keeping employees happy isn’t as simple as it sounds and managers struggle with satisfying the bottom line while retaining the best and brightest around. TINYpulse recently released a study that deems transparency as the #1 factor contributing to employee happiness. Such transparency can be defined as consistently candid and open management, and is increasingly proving to play a positive role in maintaining an engaged, motivated and overall happy workforce.

Why Transparency Matters

A survey conducted on more than 100,000 U.S midmarket companies, identifies a strong connection between transparency and success. To be specific, 86% of the companies believe that transparency boosts long-term success. The survey also shows that 90% of businesses believe that they get their best ideas from individual employees as compared to teams within the company and even customers. This shows the importance of being transparent about what is going on internally and making them feel comfortable to think creatively. In addition, more than 82% of respondents say that “sharing financial success with employees” helps a company grow. Hence, leaders from these companies indicated that growth is attributed more to cultural factors and transparency than to, say, financing or product attributes.

To Give is to Get

You may have stumbled across the debatably unnecessarily large amounts of articles discussing Walmart versus Costco, or you may have chosen to ignore them because it’s similar to listening to people arguing over what tastes better – Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi. Regardless, the debate did in fact reveal how leaders who take a long-term view of corporate profit and responsibility while passing on their expectations and vision to employees find greater business success than those whose purpose is just to maximize profits. Companies are realizing the intangible value that comes with clearly communicating company values, status and goals to employees rather than solely focusing on the bottom line.  The cost of transparency simply implies an ongoing dialogue between management and staff. Seems like a pretty small cost to pay for big results (like retaining top talent).

Employee happiness boils down to a transparent work culture. From this we can draw the conclusion that people like to be dealt with honesty – we appreciate and respond well to managers who keep us up to date and set clear expectations. Although breaking down barriers could be difficult for some managers, transparency is one of the lowest to no cost initiatives that can be tackled right away.

Image used under Creative Commons by thephotographymuse.