A well-organized and collaborative team is the backbone of every successful project. At Sunscrapers, we take team building seriously and do everything we can to make sure that all our employees feel inspired to work hard towards common goals.

We’ve been building teams for a very long time, and we noticed that there are many different factors that contribute to building productive teams. Mutual trust, honesty, and shared culture fit are just some aspects of fantastic teamwork. But in this article, I wanted to focus on another one: team transparency.

Why team transparency?

Let’s start with the other side of the coin.

What happens when transparency is lacking in a team?

In my experience, teams that aren’t transparent usually suffer from various problems that when combined may severely compromise team performance and affect the atmosphere at the workplace. The mounting of small errors that impact progress, high risk of missing deadlines, and opaque workflows result in loss of priorities and data ownership. As you can imagine, teams that experience this become frustrated and employees easily lose their motivation.

Consider this:

Team members who aren’t given access to all the data they need at the right time won’t be able to develop a broader vision of the project and see the value their individuals tasks bring to it. That’s why transparency in the workplace is critical to building a sense of ownership and enthusiasm among team members.

In short:

Lack of transparency may easily affect team motivation, or lead to bad decision-making because critical project information is not available to all stakeholders.

Transparency is a buzzword today, but many companies try to implement it without really understanding what transparency is all about. Organizations often fail to balance transparency and instead end up on either of these extremes: wholly opaque or fully transparent.

But what exactly is transparency in management? Read on to learn more about the benefits of this approach and see examples of transparency in the workplace as implemented at Sunscrapers.

Transparency in business – definition

Here’s-how-we-define-transparency

For us, transparency is about giving every team member full access to crucial knowledge about the company. That type of knowledge sharing provides team members with the context required for decision-making and helps them to understand their role in the company’s overall objectives better. This is what a transparent workplace is all about – empowering employees with contextual knowledge.

However, it’s not a good idea to introduce transparent workflows at the expense of individuals and their right to privacy. It’s best to leave the decision about sharing that type of information to team members.

So what kind of data do we share?

Another matter is transparency in communication. There are many thingswe share publicly at Sunscrapers. We do that to help people understand who we are, what we do, and how we think. We communicate information related to our mission, vision, values, workflows (if allowed by the client), and team members.

Naturally, we make some information public just within the company. We do that to build company culture, align team members with company goals, and help them improve the decision-making process.

In particular, we inform our employees about our strategy and plans. Sharing goals means that we’re also sharing metrics that show whether we’re on the right track. Finally, we also make sure that everyone has access to company-wide progress reports.

We also make sure that all team members are aware of the rationale behind every decision affecting the team directly.

We keep team members updated about changes in our processes, as well decisions to hire or let go a team member.

Another smart thing to spread around the company is learnings and insights from project retrospectives. This is a great example of transparency. It effectively allows us to transfer experience between project teams to speed up learning and prevent other team members from repeating the same mistakes. Client feedback is an essential element of knowledge sharing as well because it helps us all improve our work and pinpoint weak spots that need improvement.

We share positive feedback and praise of the individual and team performance or achievements.

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We also make sure that financial required for goal setting and progress evaluation is within reach of all team members.

What we don’t share

We never share the confidential information of our clients. That one might seem obvious, but we find that it’s always good to articulate obvious things – that’s how we keep everyone on the same page.

We also never communicate performance feedback given to individuals. We are passionate about promoting growth at our company and want to give people an opportunity to improve themselves and fix problems on their own.

We chose not to make information about salaries public. We keep the company roadmap with salary ranges public because we want to build an honest recruitment process. We also have a system for deciding about salary ranges and pay rises. We are aware that some people prefer to keep their salaries themselves, so we don’t impose any rules here.

Reaching a balanced team transparency

I hope these transparency examples help you see why it’s worth to implement honest and transparent communication among your staff. The idea behind transparency is empowering the team without making anyone uncomfortable. And reaching this balance often turns out to be challenging.

But an organization devoted to constant self-improvement will make the most of a transparent workplace for reiterating assumptions and making workflows even more efficient. Knowledge sharing is critical to business success and this approach powers the information flow like nothing else.

Transparency in the workplace is just one of the many principles that drive us in developing the working environment for our teams. We want to support them in the best possible way, and one of them is creating a transparent work culture.

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