What Is the Meaning of Transparency in the Workplace?

A transparent workplace emphasizes communication and honesty.
i Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

If you spend each day in a workplace full of dishonest people, double standards and a lack of communication, it's time to dust off your resume and look for a better job. A transparent workplace, on the other hand, features benefits that can lead to happier employees and even increased production. The key to transparent workplaces is openness between supervisors and employees.


    A transparent workplace shares many traits with a functional marriage or strong friendship. The website Young Entrepreneur defines the five characteristics of a transparent workplace as communication, honesty, regular feedback, respect and admitting wrong. Regarding communication, for example, the website emphasizes erring on the side of communicating too frequently, rather than allowing gaps in communication. Communication is not only important among co-workers, but is a key to healthy relationships between supervisors and their employees.

For Employees

    You might not have trouble sustaining a transparent working relationship with your co-workers, but when it comes time to provide honest feedback to your supervisor, you may face challenges. If your supervisor proposes an idea that lacks substance, be honest but share your opinions in a constructive manner. "Harvard Business Review" recommends ensuring that your feedback is related to the issue at hand, rather than a criticism of the boss' management style. For example, if your boss shares a memo with you before distributing it to staff, point out a specific sentence that might create confusion, rather than saying the memo is ineffective or poorly worded.

For Employers

    Many employers ask their employees to exhibit the traits of a transparent workplace, such as honesty, respect and admitting when they're wrong. But unless an employer also acts in this manner, the workplace won't truly be transparent. Young Entrepreneur recommends that employers be honest about admitting when they're wrong and sharing this message with their staff. The sign of an effective leader, the website reports, is someone who admits shortcomings. Work Simple suggests that employers provide honest feedback about employees' performance so they'll know their strengths and weaknesses.


    When the leader of a workplace acts in a transparent manner, the workplace and its employees benefit in several ways, according to Forbes. The results may be faster problem solving, better teamwork, healthy working relationships, trust and, ultimately, improved performance. Conversely, performance can suffer from a lack of transparency from the employer.

the nest