Like most people, you have no problem being vocal about the successes in your life. The failures or near misses? Well, not so much. This same thinking applies to businesses, too, both brick-and-mortar as well as virtual. Companies might be quick to put out a press release when a new product hits the shelves—and then remain silent when said product doesn’t perform as expected. After all, you want to shine a spotlight on the positives, not the negatives. So, how do you communicate your company culture in a virtual environment, in all its beautiful and messy glory?
It’s important to have a transparent company culture, particularly in a virtual environment. In a remote work environment that can be, at times, ripe for feelings of isolation and loneliness, a company that shares its company culture freely can help keep remote workers engaged, creative, and loyal to the organization. It empowers each and every one of them to view their job not as a mere position, but rather an owner whose role represents his own piece of the corporate pie.
But for managers who aren’t used to sharing info—and who might have their own issues with transparency—this shift in managerial styles can be tricky to pull off.
Here’s how remote companies can have a transparent company culture in a virtual environment in five easy steps:
1. Hire wisely.
There’s no two ways about it: hiring a traditional office worker is a very different process from hiring a virtual worker. And if you’re looking to have a transparent company culture in a virtual environment, you’ll need to ensure that you hire the right people right from the start. One way to achieve that is not by simply hiring workers, but job candidates whom you trust and plan to empower to think like a business owner within the constraints of your company. Remote workers will feel respected—and your bottom line will flourish.
2. Acknowledge your shortcomings.
No company likes to admit its fault or failures, but it’s by far one of the best ways to have a transparent company culture in a virtual environment. By acknowledging where improvements need to be made, you’re inviting your team to help you tackle those tough issues and solve them together. This also bonds your virtual team together, fostering remote team collaboration, which is something that is super important in a remote work environment. It also helps to create a stronger company that is proud of its history and looks forward to the future, together.
3. Disseminate information freely.
Sure, the latest initiative that your company rolled out didn’t exactly take off. But that doesn’t mean that you need to sweep it under the rug like it never happened. In order to have an effective transparent company culture, you’ll need to share information—both good and bad—with your employees. But that’s not enough. When you share info, it should be in real time, not a few weeks down the road or during a year-in-review meeting. Information should flow freely from the top to the bottom, and back up again, with employees feeling that they can—and should—ask any questions or voice concerns without penalty.
4. Be honest with your audience.
Today, consumers want to know the face behind the brand, the behind the scenes stories. That’s why being transparent doesn’t stop with your company and crew, but rather extends itself to your audience as well. Consumers will be loyal to a brand that they view as honest and upfront, even if it means potentially losing business.
5. Listen to your employees.
Even though you may be the one training and teaching your employees, you can still stand to learn a lot from them, too. Your employees are a great source of information on how some practices and policies work—and others, not so much—as well as new ideas on how things can be done. So tap into your richest resource—your team—and offer up a survey on what your workers are really thinking.
To ensure that they give open and honest answers, be sure to make the survey anonymous. You’ll still get the same great information and your employees will feel safe sharing their ideas. Then, take it to the next level and hold a meeting to discuss everyone’s ideas and how they can be implemented for the betterment of the organization.
Big and small businesses alike can benefit from a transparent company culture. A company that creates a strong sense of transparency in its company culture can easily and effortlessly build success based on the policy of being open and honest about its business practices. Which is a smart way of doing business, indeed.