Opening Doors to Success: Building Transparent Processes in the Company

Embark on a transformative journey with Svitlana Rumiantseva, Senior Delivery Manager at Innovecs Games, as she unveils the captivating power of transparency. Discover the hidden gems of promoting transparency within your organization, overcoming challenges, and fostering a culture of openness, even in game development. Strike the perfect harmony between transparency and confidentiality, breathing life into your company's operations. From seamless onboarding to leveraging technology, learn how to cultivate a transparent work environment that fuels success.

The True Value of Transparency

Transparency carries weight, particularly within a digital transformation tech company. Firstly, transparency fosters trust between employees and management. When information is shared openly, it creates a culture of honesty and integrity. Team members feel more engaged when they have access to information about the company’s goals, strategies, and decision-making processes. This leads to increased loyalty, motivation, and productivity.

Secondly, transparency helps align team members’ goals with the company’s objectives because everyone puts their interests above. When everyone clearly understands the general direction, it becomes easier for colleagues to collaborate effectively and make decisions that contribute to overall success. Transparent communication also enables teams to work together, share knowledge, leverage each other’s expertise, engage others in the common goal, and ultimately drive innovation and efficiency.

Moreover, transparent leaders can effectively manage expectations, address concerns, and guide team members through the transformation, minimizing resistance and increasing the likelihood of successful implementation.

Transparency extends beyond internal communication and applies to how a company interacts with its customers. Being transparent about product features, updates, data handling practices, and security measures helps build customer trust. It demonstrates that the company values openness and is committed to maintaining a solid relationship based on honesty and integrity. In essence, this cultivates an environment where every individual feels valued, well-informed, and motivated to actively contribute to the overall success of the company.

Challenges and Strategies for Promoting Transparency

When transparency is lacking within an organization, several challenges and obstacles can arise. One of them is a lack of trust. Without transparency, people may question the motives and intentions of the leadership because they may not fully grasp the strategy behind their actions and tasks. This erosion of trust and the resulting skepticism can lead to low morale, decreased engagement, and a breakdown in organizational communication. Furthermore, the absence of transparency creates room for rumors and speculation to fill the gaps, ultimately resulting in misinformation and confusion and further exacerbating the communication breakdown.

In addition to the consequences above, more open communication is needed to ensure collaboration, leading to faster and more effective outcomes. Evidently, individuals are reluctant to commit to something they do not fully comprehend.

If you, as a leader, aim to initiate change, a lack of transparency will foster resistance and generate uncertainty among team members. Without clear communication regarding the rationale behind the change, they may resist embracing new processes, technologies, or initiatives, impeding progress and adoption.

Customer-wise, lack of transparency can transform into uncertain business dependencies, such as unclear requirements, a hidden scope of work to be done or requested, or inadequate product information. This can potentially undermine customer trust, lead to dissatisfaction, and harm the company’s reputation.

Overcoming Resistance to Transparency

I recall a few situations of such resistance, like trying to hide some part of work or being separated from the team due to commitments and communications. In most cases, such resistance appears because team members don’t understand the goal and benefits they have from transparency. So my best painkiller here is a trustful discussion, transparency “by example,” and addressing privacy concerns in the first place. 

Another noteworthy scenario is when an individual becomes overwhelmed by excessive information and resists it due to overload. In this case, an abundance of information is counterproductive. Therefore, transparent processes should prioritize sharing relevant and concise information, allowing colleagues to make informed decisions without being inundated with unnecessary details.

Fostering Transparent Game Development

Among a wide variety of strategies and initiatives, managers need to pick up those that could work in their fields. Given game development is the realm I dwell in, I’d prefer the following:

  1. Transparent communication channels. Launch open and accessible communication channels where all info will be brought in, such as Daily team meetings, team chapters (like we have in Teams), all-hands sessions, company-wide newsletters, etc.
  2. Define clear goals and expectations. While we can’t magically implant our visions into someone’s mind, we can definitely ensure that the company’s vision, mission, and project goals are effectively communicated to all team members. Once you articulate these goals, you’ll be surprised by how attentively people listen and how much they remember. 
  3. Transparent decision-making. Clearly communicate the rationale behind decisions, provide opportunities for feedback, and ensure decisions are made based on objective criteria rather than personal preferences.
  4. Regular project/status update. Provide frequent updates on progress, milestones, and challenges. Share information on the status of different departments or teams, highlighting achievements, milestones, and plans for completing them or overcoming obstacles.
  5. Open code and documentation. For any product development, it’s vital to have open documentation, plans, specification, workflows, etc., to complete work effectively. Within the legal frames, obviously.
  6. Transparent performance reviews. Provide team members with clear criteria, feedback, and growth opportunities. We must support our colleagues in their personal and professional growth, demonstrating our value and attitude towards their individual interests. This support encompasses providing opportunities for knowledge-sharing and learning.
  7. Leadership role modeling. Leaders should lead by example and demonstrate transparency in their actions and communication. When leaders prioritize transparency, it sets a strong foundation for it permeating the organization.

Impact of Transparent Processes

I can provide examples of how transparent processes have positively impacted the performance and collaboration of teams within our company.

  1. Improved decision-making processes. Transparent processes ensure that relevant information is shared across teams. When teams have access to necessary data, insights, and context, they can make informed decisions that align with the company’s goals, resulting in improved outcomes.
  2. When teams have visibility into each other’s work, progress, and challenges, they can offer support, provide valuable input, and collaborate more effectively.
  3. Increased responsibilities. When goals, metrics, and progress are transparently communicated, team members are more likely to take ownership of their duties and deliver results.
  4. Transparent communication channels and processes encourage team members to share ideas, suggestions, and feedback. This fosters a culture of innovation.
  5. Trust within teams and between team members and management. When information is openly shared, it demonstrates a sense of fairness, honesty, and respect. This, in turn, improves the team’s morale, engagement, and loyalty. 
  6. Encouraging open discussions about challenges and sharing information paves the way for effortless pooling of resources, expertise, and perspectives. This collaborative approach helps us find practical solutions to minimize delays and maximize productivity.

Balancing Transparency and Confidentiality

Striking a balance between transparency and confidentiality is crucial, as they are not always mutually exclusive. It requires a delicate approach to maintain openness while respecting the need for privacy or handling sensitive information. Here’s how I propose achieving this equilibrium.

  1. Establish clear guidelines and policies regarding what information can be shared transparently and what needs to be kept confidential. Communicate these boundaries to all team members, ensuring they understand the importance of confidentiality.
  2. Limit access to sensitive information to individuals who need it to perform their roles. Implement access controls and permissions to ensure that only authorized personnel can access confidential data (and transparently communicate the existence of such restricted information and permission groups).
  3. Provide a transparent explanation to team members about the reasons behind it. Help them understand the importance of maintaining confidentiality in certain situations.
  4. Implement confidentiality agreements or non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to maintain confidentiality legally. These agreements help emphasize the importance of secrecy while transparently outlining the consequences of breaching it.
  5. Provide ongoing education to team members regarding confidentiality best practices (workshops, training, or even just reminders based on guidance). It must be aligned with providing explanations regarding the necessity of confidentiality.

Cultivating Transparency Across the Board

As for me, a transparent culture starts at the top. Leaders must demonstrate a solid commitment to transparency by openly communicating, sharing information, and fostering an environment of trust and openness. Managers, Top-level leaders should lead by example, consistently practicing transparent behaviors.

This is obligatory to have clear and accessible communication channels to facilitate transparent interactions (within the company and separate teams). Actually, these can be regular team meetings, town halls, digital collaboration platforms, or even dedicated forums for information sharing and open feedback.

To my mind, sharing the vision and goals is a must. Everything we discussed transparently explains how individual roles and contributions align with the broader objectives. When team members understand the bigger picture, it promotes a sense of purpose and enables them to make informed decisions.

Another great pattern to have is a culture of feedback and recognition. Foster an environment where colleagues can openly provide feedback, suggestions, and constructive criticism and recognize and appreciate such communication. This is something the company, products, and teams will benefit from.

Keep transparency in decision-making. As we already mentioned, the involvement of team members in decision-making is crucial whenever feasible. Solicit their input, consider diverse perspectives, and transparently communicate the reasons behind decisions. When transparency is established, people feel more at ease admitting and discussing possibilities and issues. It also creates a sense of stability and control, which is crucial during challenging times. 

Transparent Onboarding: Integrating Newcomers into Company Culture

First off, we need to ensure that the candidate is about a culture of transparency at the interviewing stage. If the person is against it – there is no appropriate solution to impose any culture or vision. But if this is “our” team player, ensuring that the transparent culture is integrated into the onboarding process is critical. Here are some ways to achieve this:

  1. Onboarding materials should be available and transparent. They should communicate the company’s values, mission, and culture. Provide new teammates with comprehensive information about project and product history, goals, and strategies. This helps set the foundation for transparency right off the bat.
  2. During onboarding, clearly define expectations about further communication and collaboration. Explain the company’s policies, guidelines, and best practices for transparent interactions.
  3. Mentorship is always a worthwhile endeavor. Existing team members, including managers and leaders, actively practice transparency in their interactions with newcomers. Encourage shadowing opportunities, where new people observe how transparent communication is practiced within teams and across the organization.
  4. Involve newcomers in existing open communication channels, and introduce them to the various tools used for transparent interactions. Offer guidance on accessing information, specify the permissions and security levels established for different information categories, and provide reasoning behind these decisions.
  5. Create a safe and open environment from day one to encourage questions and feedback. On the one hand, newcomers can dig deeper without fear of making a misstep. On the other hand, company and team projects obtain the opportunity to get available feedback for further development.  
  6. Offer ongoing training and development opportunities that promote transparent communication skills. This can include workshops on active listening, giving and receiving feedback, and navigating challenging conversations.

Quantifying Transparency: Metrics and Indicators

There is no magic pill that fits all businesses and situations for sure, but I can suggest the following ways to collect and evaluate the effectiveness of transparency:

  1. Surveys. Regular satisfaction surveys can include specific questions about transparency. We can measure people’s perceptions of information sharing, communication effectiveness, and organizational trust levels.
  2. Track communication metrics. For example, monitor digital collaboration platforms’ usage and engagement rates, town hall attendance, etc. High participation can indicate the effectiveness of transparent communication processes.
  3. Feedback. One of my favorites is asking questions and getting answers. Do team members know about company changes? If not, why? Where and how do they find important information? And do we actually use these communication channels as a company?

At the end of the day, retention rates and engagement levels over time will be impacted by transparency processes. The higher visibility and transparency rate, the more comfortable and safe atmosphere is in the company. It affects satisfaction as well.

Leveraging Technology for Workplace Transparency

Technology is a friend nowadays. It plays a significant role in facilitating and enhancing transparency in the workplace, and I promote some particular tools to make the life of teammates easier. I would divide them into several groups: 

  • Communication tools: We’ve got messaging platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams that help us keep real-time and transparent communication going across teams and departments. And if we want to gather feedback anonymously or confidentially, online survey tools and feedback platforms like SurveyMonkey, Typeform, Google Form, and 15Five can do the trick.
  • Collaboration tools: To keep everyone on the same page with project needs, progress, goals, and challenges, project management software like Jira, Trello, and Asana come in handy. And when it comes to sharing and collaborating on documents, platforms like Google Drive and SharePoint are great.
  • Performance management systems: There are tools like Zoho People, Peopleforce, Rippling, and more that allow us to transparently track individual and team goals, objectives, and progress. They give us visibility into performance metrics and recognition, which helps foster accountability and transparency in the performance evaluation process.

An impressive number of software and technical tools are available to enhance transparency within a company or project. Specific tools and platforms can vary depending on the organization’s needs, preferences, and budget. It’s essential to evaluate the features, integration capabilities, security measures, and user-friendliness of the tools to ensure they align with the company’s transparency goals and enhance collaboration effectively. Both free and paid systems could be used depending on requirements and budget. 

Closing thoughts

Building a culture of transparency and collaboration is crucial for organizations to thrive. By implementing the strategies and practices mentioned above, companies can nurture an environment that empowers team members to access the necessary information, make informed decisions, and contribute effectively. 

Embracing transparency not only enhances performance and decision-making but also fosters trust and open communication, laying the foundation for long-term success. Together, we can leverage transparency and collaboration to unlock the full potential of our teams and drive organizational excellence.

If you need assistance in building a product from scratch or supporting the existing one, drop us a line to discuss details, and we will reply within 24 hours.