Building Transparency in the Workplace with Tech

June 28, 2015

6:00 pm

It’s clear that transparency in the workplace can help build better trust, engagement, and all-around happier employees. Not to mention, it gives employers increased visibility into the inner workings of the company. That level of transparency is fueled by social and workplace technologies. Without that tech, employers are often left to their own devices when it comes to how employees work.

This guest article was submitted by Andre Lavoie, the CEO of ClearCompany, the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. 

Technology could be the key to building a greater sense of transparency between employers and their employees — when used properly. Used the wrong way (think micromanaging, mass surveillance, and the like) technology can have the opposite effect on your workforce: less trust, lower engagement, and hurt morale.

The question is, how do you make the most of tech as a transparency tool without being likened to Big Brother by your employees? Here are four tech tools designed to maintain an open and honest work environment:

1. Accountability Tools

Monitoring how long it takes employees to complete tasks can be a headache for both employees and managers. However, by tracking time spent on assignments, you gain more insight into how employees juggle tasks and manage their days. Additionally, time-tracking tools help build a workplace culture based on ownership and accountability.

Thanks to apps and software designed to make time-tracking easy on employees, time sheets don’t haves to be a thorn in anyone’s side. Encourage employees to use time-tracking tools like Toggl or tools designed to keep employees from wasting time like RescueTime or StayFocusd.

Buffer, a company widely praised for a transparent culture, achieves their transparency through personal self-improvements. They track and share their progress on everything from time management to fitness routines. By establishing a culture based on sharing, coworkers become collective accountability partners, and a valuable support system, in and out of the workplace.

2. Company Intranet

Intranets aren’t new, but the way businesses use them has evolved significantly. What was once a collection of static, employee-facing web pages, is now a dynamic employee engagement tool. What’s more, company intranets can be used to maintain transparency across all aspects of business.

Take HubSpot, for example. HubSpot uses its company wiki to share and discuss financials (cash balance, burn-rate, P&L, etc.), board meeting decks, management meeting decks, strategic topics, and — for added fun — HubSpot “Lore & Mythology.” Having a central location where employees can share and discuss important company information can help build and maintain a high level of transparency.

3. Talent Alignment Platforms

The key to building and maintaining transparency — without hovering over employees — is to make sure everyone is on the same page. Goals should serve as the basis for everything you do within the company, but only 43 percent of employees were familiar with company goals (yet couldn’t name them), according to the recent “How Leaders Grow Today” study.

Cue talent alignment technology. Talent alignment platforms put goals front and center, by making them easy to visualize, set and track. Additionally, by making goals visible, it empowers your workforce to take ownership of their work. Consider implementing goal-based talent alignment software to help everyone stay on top of company-wide and individual goals.

4. Social Media

Last, but certainly not least, use social media to build transparency between employees, clients, job seekers, and the like. Social media is the only tool that can help you paint a better picture of employees’ personal attributes and life outside of work, as well as attract job seekers, clients, and potential investors by promoting your brand and company culture online.

There is, however, a fine line between using social media to connect with employees and using social media to track employees. While you don’t want to track employees’ social media use at work (and risk breaking trust), “friending” your employees on social media can deter them from abusing it during work hours. Not to mention, connecting on social media can help them keep up with the latest going-ons within the company.

What do you think? How much tech is too much, when it comes to workplace transparency? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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Previously the Managing Editor at Tech.Co, Ann Diab has a background of launching and nurturing of startups and tech companies. Empowering and educating entrepreneurs and startups to better productivity and culture is her passion. Growth Manager at WorkingOn to enable folks all over the world to enjoy work and improve communication. Follow me on Twitter.

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