80% of UK employees say they are losing trust in their bosses because of a lack of transparency when it comes to information about company performance. The report produced by Geckoboard, says that just under a fifth (18%) said they never see any data about their company’s overall performance.
The research also found that:
- 81% of UK employees want their bosses to share more information with them.
- 50% said that company information has a significant positive impact on their contribution to the performance of the business
- Over 50% ‘do their own digging’ for information
Even when data is communicated, the methods used are dated and may be blocking employees from effectively using it
- Nearly 50% receive it in face to face team meetings
- 45% of those getting any information receive it via email, which is easily overlooked in a busy inbox
- 20% of companies still resort to using excel spreadsheets – not always easy to extract meaningful information from, and…
- 10% of employees still have to view a staff noticeboard to see any information
Now it could be that the leaders themselves don’t know what’s going on, but the research suggests that this lack of sharing does create distrust in managers, but the benefits in sharing do seem to be strong. Our research shows that 3D Businesses proactively keep their people informed about progress (it’s a key ingredient in 3D Characteristic #6: KeeP In Control). Whether it’s financial or non-financial information, they do so in an easy to understand format.
The benefits they tell us are it helps…
- ‘Engage’ people – particularly when it’s linked to the overall vision and company goals and targets
- Create Focus – on the areas that count
- Maximise operational performance – linked to the above
- Establish Accountability – people can see how and where they make an impact
- Create a ‘sense of pride’ – obviously when achievements and successes are shared
Here are some simple steps for you to consider to help ‘Maximise Information’ in your business:
Step 1: Identify What You Should Share:
It’s obviously different for each business, but a good starting point could be….
- Your overall vision, goals and targets – what tells you you’re ‘on course’?
- The key ingredients of your ‘Dramatic Difference’ – what do customers think are important?
- What do your people want to know? A useful ‘engaging’ question to ask individuals is ‘What information do you need to do your job better?’ Follow it with ‘How will this help?’
2. Establish Systems And Processes For Sharing The Information:
- Don’t bombard people with information – Find ways to share it around and through the business in a timely and meaningful way – ‘timely and meaningful’ as defined by the recipients, not the sender by the way!
- Recognise that most of us don’t understand balance sheets, liquidity ratios and all that stuff, so ensure that you give your people the information they need in a format they understand. Our experience suggests graphs and pictures work better than figures! (If you’re anything like me, I’m sure that may well have been influenced by the eager anticipation each week of the Blue Peter Appeal ‘Totaliser’ when I was a kid!)
- Consider graphs, symbols and pictures, not just ‘numbers’ figures and consider ‘Traffic Light’ systems. (Green is fine; amber is a warning; red means there’s a problem.) Trends work well too.
- Encourage questions/comments about the results – Put formal time aside to deal with the issues raised
3. Celebrate Successes!
- Ensure people understand the consequences of positive and negative results – ‘Champion Your Champions!’
‘3D Demonstrated’!: Paul Lindley, founder of Ella’s Kitchen baby food, has a great way of engaging his team and shares key information in a very creative and visual way. The whole team have bought into the concept of ‘Tiny Tummy Touch-points’ (just how many servings of the scrumptious baby food they plan to sell). Ella’s Kitchen have a huge transparent glass tube in their reception that is very visible to all to see. It has markings up its side representing sales targets for the business with the their target of a billion ‘tiny tummy touch – points’ at the top!
Every quarter, the team drop in the appropriate number of cartons of their products that represent their sales that quarter as they aim to fill it towards the top! It’s a very public, symbolic thing and everyone in the business understands how well they’re doing on the journey to that one billion!