Why transparency and open culture is important in today’s competitive start-up ecosystemPradeep Malhotra
Over the past few years, the Indian startup ecosystem has grown exponentially, and is continuously developing. This boom is driven by factors such as massive funding, mergers, evolving technology and a growing domestic market. The dynamic evolution of startups in India has even managed to catch the fancy of the investors across the world. Due to the competitive nature of start-ups, the work environment can often be crowded, and demanding of employees. Despite the challenging nature of the work, start-ups have managed to grab the attention of a great amount of talent. Young organizations are considered the best places to work for, due to their transparent and open culture. Recently, there has been a definite rise in the number of startups that are very transparent about the way they do business, and share information with employees openly.
With new businesses sprouting up every day, the lifespan of many start-ups is extremely short. Transparency and free flow of information enables many organizations to evade the competitive start-up battle and become successful. Sharing data with employees, customers and other stakeholders helps organizations build their reputations and increases people’s interest in the organization. Transparency in companies is important for building trust with customers and other stakeholders. Investors often appreciate transparency, as it helps them understand the progress made by companies. An open and transparent culture sends a strong message to the workforce, telling them that they’re trusted and valued members of the team, all working toward a common goal. This helps in instilling the core values of the company in employees, and promotes collaboration amongst employees. Start-ups that adopt transparency with employees see more productivity and higher positive decision-making capabilities, due to information being freely available to the employees.
Culture plays an important part in talent acquisition and growth strategy. Sharing information can yield benefits in a variety of ways. Some initiatives that companies can take to build an open and transparent culture are:
Open Board Meetings- Employees should be given the freedom to join board meetings and listen to the proceedings, and the opportunity to ask questions to the members present. Permitting employees to be present at board meetings makes a great impact on company morale, culture, and employee trust.
Encouragement to provide feedback- Encourage employees to provide feedback, and discuss their feedback at meetings to ensure that there are no surprises, and that the employees feel that they are heard and their feedback is taken into consideration. This will help employees feel valued and like a part of the company.
Flat and open office setting- Employees sitting across from each other promotes collaboration. This helps establish a culture of being open and sharing. Having no closed offices, and the entire leadership team, right from the CEO, sitting with the employees on the floor helps build a feeling of togetherness and honesty. By this, employees also feel encouraged to approach to the senior-most leaders of the company, in case of concerns.
ESOPs- Start-ups have now started to provide stock options to all employees, across all regions and functions. Offering stock ownership fosters employee morale and helps in attracting and retaining talented employees. Employees also feel a stronger sense of ownership and responsibility towards the organization.
When it comes to making a choice between an open office culture and a closed one, the best time to choose is in the company’s early days. Transiting from one culture to the other is tough, and could leave the employees in state of confusion. Transparency helps with innovation as a company grows, and encourages productivity and personal growth. Being open also helps leaders bring their teams closer and build trust with their employees. As employees are more connected to the organization if it is honest and transparent, retention of employees is also easy. When it comes to relationship-building, modernization, and eradicating competition, the best thing you can do to guarantee your company a place in the future is to adopt the philosophy of openness. You’ll be amazed at the difference that that one simple change can make.