Transparency is one of those words that’s thrown around a lot, but how do you actually go about shaping a transparent company culture? In this article, Sarah Reynolds, CMO at HiBob, shares their thoughts on what makes HiBob’s culture one to really look up to when it comes to trust and transparency.
What makes a great culture
It's clear that a great culture can provide a lot to an organization. If employees feel empowered and enabled to deliver their best work, we will see productivity rates spiking, delivering more business value, and employee retention will increase. All of these factors are critical if we want our organization to thrive and grow over time.
Considering the current climate, Sarah also shares how important it is for resilience to be prioritized. Teams need to be able to thrive through change and ups and downs, and for them to do that, we need to constantly ask ourselves a few questions:
- How do we drive productivity?
- How do we drive attention?
- How do we drive organizational resilience?
According to Sarah, HiBob’s dedicated focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has been the key to how they've successfully built trust and transparency into the company culture. DEI is a vital part of feeling valued at work, and that value translates into resilience and retention.
In Sarah’s own words:
“I really think that it's important to underscore that the way that we feel at work is often the best definition of our company culture. You can see lots of different commentary about “What is culture made up of?”. But I think that for us, it's about how our employees feel about the job that they do.
And the way that we talk about culture is that it's integral to driving business performance. Because how we feel about work, really reflects the work that we do or really reflects our ability to deliver great work to the organization.”
Initiatives that foster trust and transparency
During HiBob's focus on trust and transparency, they've not only expanded on and clarified their values as a company, but they've also put in place several initiatives to help steer their culture in the right direction. Let's take a look at the most crucial ones.
As simple as it sounds, the one thing to keep in mind for every single initiative regarding culture is communication. When it comes to management communication and sharing what’s actually being spoken about at the top level, however, it tends to get tricky, especially as the company grows.
Planning ahead and tailoring the content for each communication opportunity is crucial if we want to align with the values of trust and transparency. At HiBob, certain things are already planned for the full year ahead. They for example do all-hands meetings on a quarterly basis, complemented by monthly fireside chats with the CEO.
Collaborating with the internal marketing team can also be a good lever to enhance internal communications and communication strategies. Utilizing their expertise can help provide clear and impactful messaging that resonates with employees, reinforcing the culture.
Leadership accountability and development:
All employees should receive training to understand how and why a company culture thrives, and what behaviors that entails. But developing soft skills among managers is truly paramount to building trust with employees and reinforcing the desired culture, so we have to start there.
Leadership plays a pivotal role in shaping company culture. By aligning their actions with the values of trust and transparency, leaders inspire employees and strengthen the organization's culture. Holding leaders accountable for progress ensures a consistent commitment to fostering a transparent work environment.
At HiBob they not only focus on their leadership development program, but also various mentoring and coaching initiatives to help equip managers with the necessary skills to foster a positive employee experience.
As Sarah says:
"In addition to developing their people management skills, we want to encourage them to become mentors. And we want them to develop mentoring and coaching skills that can complement people managing skills."
Employee feedback and engagement
You can’t claim trust and transparency without opening the floor to honest feedback and constructive criticism. Creating avenues for anonymous feedback, such as an always-on feedback loop or dedicated platforms for feedback empowers employees to share their experiences and concerns in a safe way. Regular employee engagement surveys, coupled with anonymous feedback channels, provide insights for improvement and enable a continuous feedback-driven culture.
Cultural intelligence and unconscious bias
Making sure that employees have a deeper understanding of each other is key to minimizing unconscious bias and discriminatory behaviors. Promoting cultural intelligence training helps reduce miscommunication and foster cross-cultural understanding.
Additionally, addressing unconscious bias through training is crucial to create a fair and inclusive work environment, as well as recruitment efforts. Identifying and avoiding biased language and behaviors is essential in promoting diversity and equality.
Adapting company values
First of all, having the right values in place and actually using them is a major key to success in maintaining any company culture. At HiBob, values are the base of performance reviews, and so they have become an intricate part of the everyday culture.
In terms of growing and developing as a company, Sarah recommends regularly revisiting and aligning company values with trust and transparency. Modifying or supplementing existing values to explicitly reflect these principles helps shape employee expectations and guide behaviors across the organization.
The commitment to trust and transparency ultimately leads to increased employee engagement, improved performance, and long-term organizational success. Embracing the same principles as HiBob has, can empower an organization to create a workplace where trust and transparency thrives, fostering a culture that inspires and supports employees in their professional growth and well-being.
Also, keep in mind that it doesn't have to be all that difficult; start by improving your communication, and you are well on your way to a more transparent workplace.
Want to watch Sarah speak about this topic instead? Check out this short keynote speech they recently held!