Qualithoughts by: Ross McLeod, Q2 HR Solutions, Contributor

To be transparent in life, a person needs to display such qualities as openness and cooperation. This is because Transparency is a habit, and like all habits it needs to be cultivated over time.

Simply put, Transparency is a way of life.

The driving force behind the idea of corporate transparency is no different.

But what effect, if any, could this possibly have on the way people think and act in a given workplace?

Internal Implications of Transparency

For a start, employees who can see that their employers are not afraid to break down barriers are much more likely to trust them. And trust is a key element to any relationship, especially work-based relationships where there is an official hierarchy.

The impact of trust on the inherent hierarchies in any business organisation cannot be understated. This is because trust is a two-way street; if employees trust their employers more, then employers will trust their employees more.

Now this is where things get interesting. Because, when there is mutual trust, two things happen:

1) Employees who trust their employers are much more likely to want to stay with that employer. With this, a culture of employee retention is developed. Retaining employees should be important to companies in order to keep the brainpower of an organisation strong. And it just so happens that employee retention is a direct result of the ability of employers to engage their employees.


2) Employers who trust their employees are much more likely to entrust employees with responsibilities they wouldn’t previously have done. As a result, employers involve and empower their employees in the process.

With these two elements a snowball effect is created wherein the employer-employee bond grows stronger and stronger. With a stronger workplace bonds, the team grows stronger and can therefore produce better results.

This is an internal positive, which is great, but what can transparency do for the way a business is perceived by others?

External Implications of Transparency

The direct result of a transparent policy is that of a greater reputation. This greater reputation is brought on by two elements.

The first element is a direct result of the strengthening of the employer-employee bond, in that your organisation becomes an employer brand. The desirability factor of your brand for new employees is key to remaining competitive in any market. And if your employees can’t stop talking about how much they enjoy working for their business, word will spread.

Secondly, the mere act of implementing a transparency policy will increase the reputation of your business.

The Movement that is Transparency

Despite any personal issues that individuals may have towards the concept of Transparency, the hard truth is that in an ever-connected world where the free flow of information is becoming an expected standard by more and more people, the movement is happening and won’t be slowing down any time soon.

Despite this fact, there are still differing opinions on the extent of Transparency that businesses should have.

In an article by Ilya Pozin of Forbes, it is detailed that some companies extend transparency only as far as go so far as to share company-wide goals. Some create open floor plans to promote the free flow of employees between departments. Even fewer go to the extremes of Transparency; a social media company, Buffer, has gone so far as to release the salaries of every employee as well as the reasoning behind why they are paid what they are paid.


The positive effects of Transparency as a whole cannot be denied. However there is still a lot of confusion and fear surrounding some ideas to promote transparency, especially the more drastic approaches.

At the end of the day, transparency is a case-by-case concept and employers should seek to find a transparency policy that fit with their organisation.

To what extend do you think businesses around the globe should be transparent? Should levels of transparency be different for different organisation types?