What’s more important, transparency or security?
Businesses are facing an interesting paradox, where transparency is crucial to social acceptance and employee engagement. On the other hand, secure information management is crucial to protect a company’s intellectual property and financial documentation.
So where is the balance between empowering your employees through transparency and trust and ensuring your business is safe and secure?
Keeping your employees up-to-date on the financial status of your business is a way to maintain transparency in the office. It also provides you with an opportunity to empower your employees by acknowledging their work is what fuels these numbers.
On the other hand, keeping the employees abreast of financial situations can be debilitating in some scenarios. If the company is doing poorly, it may cause concern about job security. It can also cause discontent amongst teams if one department has to make cuts to allow for progress in another. You may also be limited in the information you can report depending on the structure of your business.
Focus on actions and results rather than numbers. Instead of quoting percentages and targets to the general population of your workplace, you might say “we aren’t where we need to be, but we can be. This is what we’re doing to fix it, and this is how you can help.”
Future Planning and Changes
Employees like to have an idea of what their future holds. Change management is challenging for all involved. The plans of the company directly impact the future of your employees. Having a widely-known long-term plan can help employees feel secure about the road ahead.
The future of the business isn’t always set in stone and sometimes a certain amount of discretion is required in the name of progress. Communicating a vague idea of changes can create a negative environment in the workplace. The simple answer that something will be changing leads to more questions: How will that impact me? Will I have to do a job I don’t like? Will my job still exist?
Don’t communicate changes until you have answers for the inevitable questions from your employees. Be careful with your wording. “We are looking into future merger opportunities, though nothing is finalized yet.” will be received better than “We are planning on merging companies and don’t know how that will look for our employees.” Wait to announce specific changes until you have all the puzzle pieces in place.
Effective workplace communication ensures everyone is on the same page. Communication increases efficiency and reduces costly, time-consuming errors and mishaps. Keeping open lines of communication with your employees, and ensuring everyone else does the same, will prevent your employees from feeling left out and resentful.
Proper channels of communication can be hard to achieve in a work environment. Emails get lost and redirected. Phone calls get missed. Mishaps in communication can result in two integral employees being out of the office at the same time, and important meetings get double-booked.
Having a standard operating procedure in place for communications is the key to success in the workplace. Ensure all employees are using the same protocol to request vacation or book meetings. Updated calendars and out-of-office notifications can help manage expectations and make cross-functional teamwork easier to initiate.
Closed Doors and Compliance
Employees appreciate knowing that the integrity of the business is intact and that their personal Human Resources documentation is protected. They can also appreciate that added security measures support their job security, by protecting information that could cause discord or destruction if it fell into the wrong hands.
Employees don’t often like the feeling of being on the other side of a closed door or knowing their co-workers have locks on their files. They might worry about secrets and harbor negative thoughts. Locked filing cabinets, in particular, can cause problems when one employee is out of the office unexpectedly and another must cover their work.
Having an open communication plan will prevent discord surrounding closed doors and locked cabinets. Your main priority is to ensure compliance with your local legislation when it comes to protecting sensitive information.
You can hire outside businesses to assist you in learning about compliance. For example, experts at Precision Locksmith are required to complete training on local business compliance laws for their Commercial Locksmith Melbourne service package. Human Resources consultants can also identify potential compliance issues, particularly in regards to employee safety. Knowing your compliance laws allows you to identify where protection is required, and communicate to your employees, so they know why the added security is a necessity.
Transparency Versus Security
Transparency with one’s employees is a necessity in the modern workplace. However, that transparency should never come at the cost of your company’s security, whether that be financial data or personal information. Know your requirements and limitations as a business owner, then work with those in mind to create a happy, safe work environment.