Transparency, the Motivational Trump Card

The greatest impact of an open, honest culture can be summed up in three little words – “in on it.”

The highest form of employee recognition in any organization is leadership’s acknowledgement that everyone plays a role in the organization’s success. Every employee wants and deserves to understand and actively participate in the company’s game plan.

In short, they just want to be “in on it.”

That’s the power of transparency, leveraging the company’s best assets – its people – toward improved profit margins.

I had been practicing an internal communication approach that blended business education and “company journalism” when my research led me to an insightful executive summary, The Art and Science of Employee Recognition, by organizational behavior experts Heidi Page and Debra LeClair. The key result of a major study involving tens of thousands of interviews was this – the number one talent retention tool is transparency, sharing and exchanging knowledge with employees. The study also found that companies that invest trust earn greater profits.

A more recent survey by Deloitte highlighted a key disconnect between the thinking of executives and their employees. The study showed that executives think financial performance and compensation are the most important factors in a strong company culture. Not surprisingly, that isn’t what employees say. The study said “employees rank regular and candid communications, employee recognition and access to management and leadership as having the largest impact.”

An easy way to leverage the power of transparency is through compelling forms of internal news to tell the company’s great employee and client success stories. I promise you – every employee has at least one interesting story that illustrates business success.

That is why companies with positive cultures likely have one or more master storytellers who have a passion for brand evangelism. You can trace their impact to the bottom line in the form of reduced employee turnover, retention of top talent and stronger sales support.


Mike Kohler   BIO

Mike Kohler, Communications Strategist Mike Kohler has been a business owner, executive and communications strategist for more than 30 years. He earned his MBA and a Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Mike co-authored The Educated Franchisee, a guide for prospective entrepreneurs, and has held leadership roles with numerous nonprofit, government and professional boards. Mike teaches strategic communications and employee engagement in America’s top online graduate program and advises young entrepreneurs in Colorado State University’s Venture Accelerator program.

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