Reporting

The Heroes of Business Transparency: How 29 Leaders Use Transparency to Drive Business Growth

Learn what transparency in business is, how you can achieve it, and ways you can use it to accelerate business growth.

Masooma Memon Masooma Memon on August 4, 2022 (last modified on August 3, 2022) • 11 minute read

From motivating employees to earning respect in the eyes of your customers, transparency in business comes with a lot of benefits.

But promoting organizational transparency is easier said than done. In this guide, we bring you five real-life examples of how other businesses are fostering business transparency and how you can do it too.

Here’s what we’ll cover today:

Let’s dive in.

What Is Business Transparency?

Transparency in business stands for being honest and open about all business operations including workflows, pricing, and performance.

Put another way, business transparency is the complete opposite of old-school business practices of covering up performance — typically only showing it when performance is good but hiding it when it’s poor.

Take Buffer, for instance. The social media management tool is widely applauded for its transparent approach to business. Not only are they open about their workflows but also share their salaries, financials including revenue generated, number of customers, and an open-to-public product roadmap. This is all on top of their annual performance reports.

Why Is Transparency in Business Important?

Transparency in business assists you in a handful of ways. Here are the 3 most important ones:

Identify Problems and Business Bottlenecks

“Transparency promotes an ethical workplace. By reporting and tracking internally, we can identify problems and work together to find and implement solutions,” observes Melanie Musson from ExpertInsuranceReviews.com.

Essentially, when everything is out on the table, anyone on the team and the wider organization can note where business problems are cropping out from. This helps you identify and solve problems before they snowball to cause more issues.

Musson also adds, “By focusing on transparency, we improve employee loyalty and boost morale. People like working for a business they believe in. Internal reporting ensures that nothing is swept under the rug.”

Related: 13 Biggest Bottlenecks That Keep Your Business from Growing

Motivates Employees and Increases Job Satisfaction

Vibrant Media Productions’ Alex Cascio agrees with the point that Musson makes. Business transparency, as encouraged by internal reporting, improves employee motivation. They also trust you more as key data isn’t kept under wraps.  

In Cascio’s words, “Internal reporting for our overall business transparency has grown to be very important for us. On the internal side, we always make a point to meet with our team on a weekly basis to keep them in the loop on upcoming projects, potential deals, and to address any concerns. This has truly helped with open communication that translates into happy employees that work toward a common goal.”

Lauren Gast from Truck Driver Institute echoes the same. “Transparency is key for any business to do right by its employees and succeed. The discouragement of internal reporting is the discouragement of transparency and should be avoided at all costs.”

“While internal reporting itself doesn’t always have to be present and active in your organization’s road to transparency, creating and fostering a space in which your employees are comfortable doing so is what’s important,” advises Gast.

Improves Internal Processes and Workflows

“Internal reporting is very important for my business. That’s because it creates a sense of transparency and allows teams to understand their strengths and weaknesses. As a result, you can improve your internal processes and create a better workflow,” writes Patrick Wilson of Skill Courses.

“It also gives employees the freedom to talk about misconduct, consequently helping us eliminate such issues and deal with harm and losses. The best part is that it creates an overall company culture that is based on trust and loyalty.”

Leaders Share 4 Ways to Use Business Transparency to Drive Business Growth

Now that you know what transparency in business is and how important it is for employees and business growth, let’s look at the ways other businesses are using transparency to their advantage. 

  1. Build an empowered and engaged team
  2. Win more customers by earning their trust
  3. Drive growth by hiring well
  4. Promote accountability from the top down

1. Build an Empowered and Engaged Team

Strong, invested teams drive the best business growth. An effective way to build such a team of motivated employees? By being transparent with your team. It’s here that performance reporting comes into the picture.

Performance reporting not only helps you promote transparency in business but also brings other benefits like better business control, problem-solving, and help with data-backed decision-making.

At SaveaLife.com, Mackenzie Thompson shares: “We publish an annual performance report, showing the number of lives empowered and where through our online medical certification and training site.”

“We use our metrics as quality indicators on the site, in email, and on paid search — use these metrics to motivate employees beyond revenue and profit and focus on tangible metrics like lives empowered.”

Related: 8 Reasons to Make Performance Reporting a Priority in Critical Times

The team at Breaking Into Wall Street also takes a similar approach to using transparency as a core business value. Brian Dechesare comments, “Internal reporting is critical for transparent, open communications. While upper management sets the tone with regular reports, they help encourage and empower all employees to share their new, innovative ideas to help improve workflows.”

“Reports help our team thrive as a more cohesive, engaged team that trusts each other explicitly,” Dechesare explains further.

“We decided to pull back the curtain, so to speak, on our biggest metrics and decision-making processes for our team. In times of great uncertainty, like the pandemic, having that transparent foundation helped us immensely.”

For instance, “As a transparent team, our employees don’t need to speculate or feel anxious about their career’s future — they already know what’s happening. The trust we’ve built by allowing our team in on performance meetings has kept them engaged in our collective success.”

But Dechesare and Thompson aren’t alone in thinking internal linking is important for building strong teams and overall business transparency. 23 of the 29 experts we spoke to say that internal reporting is crucial for business transparency.

Only 5 think it’s somewhat important and only 1 thinks it’s not so important.

Importance of internal reporting for business transparency

In short, performance reporting helps you be transparent with your team. In turn, this promotes employee satisfaction and motivation even in critical times because knowing the truth saves them from the fear of uncertainty.

Besides using internal reporting, you can also be transparent and build a strong team by creating a performance dashboard featuring all the important performance metrics and making it accessible to all employees.

This approach is an uber-useful one because it shows employees the complete truth in their own time — they don’t have to ask for it or wait for an update meeting. They can simply reference the dashboard whenever and wherever they want.

“Providing employees with a clear understanding of company operations radically improves their morale and productivity,” notes Emerald House Cleaning’s Jason Baker.

“We introduced a weekly operations update at our Friday all-hands meetings. We put together PowerPoint slides with general performance dashboards that we show to the entire team,” Baker says.  

“We realized that our employees started to better understand their place and impact in the full scheme of things. Three persons shared their positive feedback about this practice after the first time we shared these dashboards. Five more did it a week after.”

Related: How SMB Owners Build Performance Dashboards With Google Sheets Data

2. Win More Customers By Earning Their Trust

When it comes to business transparency, most people think of it as being honest and open with employees. However, a transparent business culture is more than that. It’s being honest with your stakeholders as well as customers too.

Robert Himmaugh from Acadian Windows talks about it. “At Acadian, our windows are not the only things we keep transparent. When it comes to transparency, our aim is, to be honest, and customer-centric — we want customers to get the full picture when it comes to our services, pricing, and internal processes.”

“Our internal reporting is just the same,” adds Himmaugh. “It allows our team to more effectively troubleshoot, make innovative decisions, and better ourselves in what we do.”

Most of all, taking the honest approach has helped Acadian Windows create a trustworthy impression in an industry that’s not very highly trusted.

According to Himmaugh: “The home remodeling industry has earned a bad reputation — when companies focus on sales, it can bring unskilled craftsmen and poor-quality products. Acadian acknowledges the downfalls of our industry and articulates the ways we can combat them. We aim to be a model for other companies to follow — quality always comes before quantity. We’ve found that transparency breeds trust and that clients ultimately prefer the truth over hidden weak points.”

Related: 26 Effective Ways for Improving Your Customer Retention Rate

3. Drive Growth By Hiring Well

Yet another way to be open to both your employees and clients is to create transparent documentation.

Create accurate accounts of your workflows, job openings, revenue generated, and more. In turn, this helps you hire well and improve your onboarding process — both of which save you resources in the long haul.

“We believe transparency should start at day one, so we implement transparency throughout our hiring process to find the best talent possible,” highlights Ruben Gamez of SignWell.

“We strive to create accurate job descriptions, communicate honestly and often, and keep candidates in the loop throughout the process. By openly discussing salary expectations before the interview, including the range on every posting, we show we respect candidates’ skills as much as their time — we don’t want to waste any of it with vague communications,” Gamez writes.

The interesting bit? By being transparent and honest from the get-go, you can retain employees better. It also contributes to helping you build a high-performing team.  

4. Promote Accountability from the Top Down

Finally, it’s important you encourage accountability throughout your organization, which is critical for continual business growth.

But here’s the thing: for accountability to become an embedded trait throughout your organization, you need to lead by example. This means unless leadership isn’t accountable, you can’t get employees to stick with this value for long.

So take a page from Skill Courses where Patrick Wilson shares they promote transparency by ensuring the top players in the organization are accountable.

In Wilson’s words, “The best way I used business transparency was by holding myself accountable for my mistakes. I believe that accountability starts from the top; after all, employees will automatically follow suit once they see their leaders being honest.”

“This strategy has worked wonders for me to drive business growth,” admits Wilson. “Owning up to our mistakes and past decisions means that we’re acknowledging the results we got, even if they weren’t good. As a result, we can tackle challenges head-on and improve our business procedures to maximize growth.”

Not to mention, accountability promotes objective thinking and problem-solving. Nobody becomes attached to their ideas. Instead, they share it in all honesty (including if it performed poorly) and decide how it can be improved or if the team needs to kill a campaign/idea altogether.

Foster Business Transparency Using Databox’s Performance Dashboards

The easiest and fastest ways to promote transparency in business is by leveraging internal reporting and creating a performance dashboard to give everyone a peep at performance.

The best part? Creating performance dashboards with Databox is a piece of cake. You can quickly and easily build a dashboard from scratch or plug in your metrics and use a template to feature them on a visually engaging screen.

All templates in Databox are customizable. This way, you can add or remove sections, change the dashboard’s color, and tweak the data visualization.

All in all, a Databox dashboard can help you be more transparent with your team by providing them with data at their fingertips that they can review in real-time.

Most of all, the data featured in a Databox dashboard is easy to read and understand, which makes it accessible.

In fact, the visually appealing nature of the presented data correctly promotes transparency given half the job is to provide data that’s understandable.

Convinced you need a Databox dashboard to foster business transparency? Sign up for free today and promote transparency as part of your culture.

About the author
Masooma Memon
Masooma Memon Masooma is a freelance writer for SaaS and a lover to-do lists. When she's not writing, she usually has her head buried in a business book or fantasy novel.
You may also like...
Read more

Build an Effective Performance Reporting Process with These 8 Tips

Say goodbye to generating reports via spreadsheets: 30+ experts spill their best-kept secrets on creating an effective reporting process.

Reporting   |  Aug 5

Read more

How To Develop An Effective Reporting Process With Databox

By establishing a repeatable reporting process businesses are able to make more data-driven decisions. Learn how to use Databox to automate your business analytics and reporting.

Reporting   |  Aug 4