Have you ever stopped, sighed, and said to yourself “I wish we could all just be on the same page” while at your workplace? If this has become a frequent inner monologue for you, then keep reading.
It can be a scary feeling to be transparent (whether it’s about your opinion or your daily tasks), especially when it comes to sharing information with your co-workers. However, we believe that those organizations who practice transparency have the amazing opportunity to create an open and creative work environment.
Sounds pretty great, right? Check out these quick tips that can make a big difference in fostering transparency in your association’s culture today.
Set Clear Expectations
Your coworkers are going to have a much harder time accomplishing a collaborative task when your staff’s responsibilities are not well defined. In order to clear the air, try the following exercise:
- Have each staff member quickly (five minutes max!) define what operations they tackle on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.
- Make sure to let your coworkers know about this exercise in advance so they can have time to consider how they want to condense their responsibilities.
- Take this information and put together a one page document that best highlights these job responsibilities so that your staff can reference it in the future.
This short, transparent exercise should foster your culture on two fronts. First, it will help your staff have a better idea of who to turn to for certain initiatives and enable more collaborative and innovative projects between departments. Secondly, this will be a valuable observation exercise for your leadership team to see how each staff member prioritizes their varying responsibilities (so that you can step in if necessary).
Show Your Work
Remember this phrase from grade school? Make sure you show your work! Even in the professional world, you’ve probably observed that the more open your coworkers are with their current work projects, the more connected your staff feels as a team. Why? It’s human nature to want to feel a part of the group and this translates into wanting to cheer each other on in our own endeavors, personal or professional.
Now to be clear, we aren’t saying that all of your coworkers need to keep tabs on what you are doing all day, every day. However, we feel that being transparent about your current projects will help create the sentiment that “you are all in this together” as a staff. You can do this by having a weekly staff meeting that covers your individual agendas to get everyone caught up and on the same page. These meetings will help build a work hard, play hard mindset that will only further foster your culture!
Be Honest about Failure
Yes, we know what you’re thinking. Admitting your mistakes to your coworkers sounds like the worst, but just hear us out. It’s all comes down to establishing a culture of trust and forgiveness that your staff feels comfortable in. Otherwise, transparency will be out the window. So, how do you begin? The easy answer: It will take time and proof by example.
We recommend starting out by acknowledging to your staff that everyone makes mistakes and that unless there was a malicious undercurrent, you’ve already been forgiven. Whether it’s personally or professionally, we grow from our errors and these moments are how we learn the hard way. It will take time, but the ultimate goal is to prove to your staff by example that, as a team, you can face any challenge thrown your way. This behavior will be one of your key factors in building that culture of transparency.
It’s no secret that the employee turnover rate in the association space and nonprofit industry is quite high. And though there are a number of reasons for that, one of the biggest factors affecting nonprofit turnover is a poor (or nonexistent) onboarding process. Check out our free guide, Best Practices for Onboarding New Staff, to see what you can start doing today to cultiative an amazing association staff!