Editor’s Note: This is part 4 of a 5 part series where John Schierer explores the topic of transparency in the workplace. To get the full context of John’s perspective on transparency in the workplace, we encourage you to start from the beginning of the series.
Part 1: What is Transparency and Why Do People Want It?
Part 2: Why Managers Hate Transparency
Part 3: What HR Can Do to Promote Transparency
Part 4: The 4 Great Myths about Transparency… and the Reality
Part 5: Transparency Case Study: Kyocera in 2001 During the Telecom Crash
By John Schierer
Myth #1: Employees get overwhelmed with transparency
Reality: It is impossible for any manager to say exactly what any employee may need to do their job. Saying employees will be overwhelmed assumes the worst about employee capabilities. Far too often employees would access valuable information to assist a customer if they knew it was available. Erring on the side of giving them too much information and letting them choose what to access is far preferable to the systemic frustration of an employee without the information to act on your behalf. Employees want to do the right thing.
Myth #2: We are violating privacy laws
Reality: Unless you are releasing legally protected health data or personal identifiers like social security numbers, it is highly unlikely. Be careful, but the value is likely found in wider transparency. Identify the concerns and address them with the goal: we will be more forthcoming and open.
Myth #3: Sensitive information may be leaked to competitors
Reality: It is highly unlikely you have not already reported your strategies to shareholders, analysts and investors. It is likely that competitors visit the same customers already. Employees seek job security so sharing key strategic information with the competitors is counterproductive. Besides, even if you competitors know your strategy- can they stop you if you execute? Transparency supports execution.
Myth #4: If everyone has the same information, why do they need me as a manager?
Reality: Welcome to the brave new world! Managers used to be directive and gatekeepers of information. Today, that has evolved to coach and mentor. By teaching employees to interpret data and information in context, they develop talent that can recognize patterns and act independently and quickly on behalf of the business. Great managers get results AND provide great talent for the rest of the organization.
Latest posts by John Schierer (see all)
- “The Next Question”Is the Hallmark of the Transformational Human Resources Leader - September 7, 2015
- Part 5: Transparency Case Study: Kyocera in 2001 During the Telecom Crash - March 30, 2015
- Part 4: The 4 Great Myths about Transparency… and the Reality - March 30, 2015