BE MORE TRANSPARENT
“Largely, there are two reasons for this. Some managers are unable to give bad news to their team. So they avoid communicating. And the other reason is that sometimes managers think that their team is not mature enough to handle the communication well and so the easier thing to do is keep it a secret.
The problem with such secrecy in both the cases is that eventually the manager has to deal with the consequences, and procrastination makes it worse,“ shares Hamsaz Vasunia, head HR, DCB Bank.
Inadequate dissemination of pertinent information and developments provides excellent fodder for toxic gossip mills.
Elaborating on some of the other negative consequences of excessive secrecy, Mukund Menon, director HR & communications, International Paper, India says,“It creates mistrust among teams, manager, and also among the peers. Lack of transparency will disrupt a seamless communication channel; resulting in lack of clarity on what to work on, which does not enable a coordinated effort. Most of the organisations fail due to lack of communication and transparency.
Normally it will push good talent, to leave if they are blindsided and unsure if their purpose is aligned with the company’s direction.“
The term ‘open door policy’ has become a major buzzword among corporate circles, but the mere notion of open cabins doesn’t always translate to open communication.“Most companies brag about having an open door policy. But in practice, how the leadership responds to blunt questions by employees, how it reacts to feedback and how it encourages whacky ideas actually set the tone for an open door policy.Apart from the culture, organisations must ensure that they are using several communication channels to talk about the big picture, strategy, challenges and issues to the last mile person,“ suggests Vasunia.
However, curiosity about matters that bear no relevance to your work is not encouraged in any workplace.“Information that is strategic, client confidential, employee personal or competitive in nature is only shared on `need to know’ basis with authorised personnel. As custodians of company’s confidential data, managers have a responsibility to keep information secure. This may, at times, be misconstrued as misplaced secrecy, if managers are not upfront about data sharing policies,“ explains Parage Pande, Accenture’s HR lead for India and global lead for learning and talent development operations.
Ask for information if it is not given to you.“Firstly, highlight the concern to their immediate supervisor or the team leader, and make an effort to seek information.Second, reach out to the HR team to seek guidance if the information pertains to organisation’s functioning or employee policy, which the employee has a right to know. Lastly, keep abreast with internal communication via emails websites and seek clarifications from contact persons mentioned therein,“ advises Pande.
Organisations should inculcate the need to be transparent right from the induction process and also reinforce the point through periodic training sessions.