How to make transparency work at your business
Transparency is about being easy to understand. It’s being open, frank and honest in all communications, transactions and operations.
For many years, ‘transparency’ has been bandied around as a trendy buzzword. But we believe transparency fundamentally makes businesses and organisations better; both internally and externally.
Why practice transparency?
Quite simply, the more transparent you are, the more people and other stakeholders will trust you because you are able to present your organisation openly.
Businesses which practice transparent engagement are capable of being more authentic to the people who are interested in who they are and what they do. This transparency invites trust, and also encourages honest feedback, spurring on improvement and helping to better serve stakeholders.
For those organisations who have made ethical choices in their supply chains, transparency will encourage more people to become advocates of the business.
Complete transparency is not always possible. You may have safeguarding measures in place to protect the vulnerable, for example. But that doesn’t mean you should have a closed door approach to all aspects of reporting and communicating your business operations simply because you traditionally have done so.
Take a look at each business area, and decide which elements are relevant for stakeholders to know, which ones they would like to learn more about, and internally identify what information should remain solely within the organisation.
Finding similar organisations which practice good transparency can help you define how transparent you could be. Are those organisations easy to understand? Do you trust them? If so, adopting those principles helps reinforce that transparency in your organisation is good, and contributes to creating better business practices in your operating environment.
Since transparency is such a wide subject area, it is perhaps best to focus on one area to develop. You can later expand that thinking to other areas of the organisation.
You might create a policy which ensures that all suppliers that you use are organic or fair trade, for example, which would in turn govern more business decisions. You could legitimise this policy by gaining supplier certification, and join a community of organisations committed to creating positive change – which is something to shout about. You can even list the businesses or suppliers you work with on your website to help bolster the community you’ve joined.
At Triodos Bank, we publish a list all of the organisations that we lend money to (link https://www.triodos.com/en/about-triodos-bank/know-where-your-money-goes/) so our customers know exactly how their savings are being used.
Which ways do you think your organisation can become more transparent, and how do you think transparency can work for you?
Our next edition’s article will look at how to communicate business transparency.
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