How Transparency and Inclusion Help You Produce Profit
In our webinar last week, I sat down with my fellow Waggl employee engagement thought leaders, Kate Benediktsson and Julia Winn, to share our expertise in creating cultures and mechanisms to support transparency and inclusion. These cultures and tools, in turn, support strategic business goals including profit and high-performance.
From my role as Head of Consulting at Waggl, I have worked with diverse clients and continue to see evidence of the clear relationship between transparency, inclusion, employee engagement, added effort and profit. Of course, from many senior executive perspectives the focus is on increased productivity, profit and shareholder returns. These goals are all appropriate and understandable, of course, tangentially, senior executives for the most part, do also want an engaged workforce.
We at Waggl contend that employee engagement and, within that, transparency, inclusion and the additional discretionary effort this can unlock, really are the primary and mission critical contributors to that sought after, growth and profitability.
In order to achieve this trifecta of productivity, profitability and shareholder returns, employees are going to need to go above and beyond what their job descriptions state and, moreover, want to do so voluntarily! This is where discretionary effort becomes vital.
Discretionary effort and inclusion
Accessing and unlocking the desire within an employee to produce more than what is asked of them truly is the ‘holy grail’ businesses search for because it is clear that these additional outputs are what will help increase the rate of success of any organization.
So, how do we get to a situation where people want to contribute greater effort? We have seen through our work that the likelihood of getting a high level of discretionary effort is greatly increased when employees feel informed, consulted and included in the decision making process. This is even more in evidence when those decisions are made in an open environment with a high degree of transparency.
If organizations can create a culture that invites, expects and supports inclusion and transparency, then they will start to get somewhere in the quest for high engagement and increased profit.
A look at a typical decision making approach within organizations, can be enlightening.
Some questions to ask when considering how decisions are made in your business:
- How often are important decisions made with the best input and these ideas from additional layers within an organization?
- Are these decisions genuinely collaborative and made after getting the best quality and most valid inputs from the organization?
- How can we, as a business, scale an inclusive decision-making process?
Now it is fair to say that many leaders want to include employee insights into more of their decision-making, but struggle with sheer volume in a modern enterprise. For example, how do you integrate 9,000 free text comments so that the feedback can support an urgent business topic? It is not at all easy. We often see that what is not easy, in many organizations, gets put on the too hard to do list. Nothing gets done. Opportunity is lost time and again. But we need a way to move forward with decision-making that is includes employees in a transparent way. It is this problem that our employee engagement platform solves.
Let’s explore collective intelligence
One of the benefits of communicating with transparency and inclusion throughout the organization is being able to access collective intelligence. With collective intelligence, what one of us knows, we all know. Effective knowledge transfer depends on a communication strategy that aligns with the real human frequency of conversation.
Organizations that make a commitment to utilizing employee insight and collective intelligence naturally create an environment for continuous contribution.
With both the right business structures and technological tools in place, leaders can send a clear message that the organization’s success is dependent upon hearing from and listening to their employees. Thus, they engage employees respectfully, offering assurances of confidentiality and in a transparent manner that acknowledges the value of individual contributions.
When a person feels respected and valued for their individual contribution, our experience shows that leadership can realistically expect to see more of that sought after discretionary effort in the workplace.
In summary, we know that discretionary effort relies on the individual, but it can be encouraged by creating a culture that evokes this at scale. When we hire individuals with the ability to go above and beyond, and include and then empower them with the tools and the environment to do so, we unlock the secret to long-term growth and profitability across the organization.
Dr. Anton Franckeiss is a highly skilled professional with extensive consultancy experience in Organizational Design, Change Management, Leadership Assessment and Talent Management. Anton has a Doctorate in OD and Change, is a Senior Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development and Member of the IOD. He works with blue-chip clients across all sectors and geographies globally on projects that bring clarity, as well as genuine transformational leadership and positive change.