I was reading a blog post earlier about how important it is to have transparency within an organization and I couldn’t agree with this more. I was only just talking with a friend last night about this very thing. They just received a promotion a few months ago and how now they were being tasked with trying to increase business. One of the big obstacles they seemed to be facing was staff buy in on ways to move forward.
They are involved in a retail business and the staff are happy to just go through the motions till its closing time then it’s out the door for them. As an owner or manager it can be hard not to get frustrated by staff who are delighted that the day was quiet and there were few customers. To some staff this is a great day, same pay and no work, what more could they ask for.
This is where I feel a business needs to become far more transparent. Staff need to understand that there isn’t a bank account that has hundreds and thousands just sitting there waiting to pay wages and bills, their wages actually come from sales and cash in the till.  This ability for staff to know this and understand where the business is comes from having great team communication, and this needs to comes from the top down.
Man distressed behind a screen in silhouette - transparency in business
Staff need to feel that they have a kind of ownership in the business, not like shares or anything, but just that their voices are heard and that they are part of the business. Granted some staff will never care but that comes down to hiring the right people. The other big area I feel staff are kept in the dark about is the mark-up on products and services. Managers seem scared to let staff know what they make on a product, but I think it’s really important that staff know for two reasons.
The first, is some products make a lot less than staff think. Let’s take the example of a chocolate bar. Let’s say they sell for 1 euro/dollar. The average mark up on a product like this is about 20-25%, so lets say the shop makes 25c for each bar sold. A box of 60 bars sells out and the staff see 60 euro/dollars in the till. Easy money they think, but the truth is the shop has only made 15 euro/dollars.
The other area why this is important to let them know this is to combat theft. If over time staff take a chocolate bar here and there it only takes 15 from a box to mean no profit is made at all from that box. If staff understand this it gives them a better idea of just how much has to sell just to cover their wages and that all cash that is in the till is not actually profit.
The second reason staff need better transparency in a business is they need to know what to push/sell in a nice friendly manner. If you have two similar products and one has a much higher mark up, that is the product you want your staff to sell when the customers asks, “which one do you think I should get?”
This applies in every business, restaurants, coffee shops, drug stores, even offices where you are supplying a service. Some services you offer are easily to roll out; they have less work involved and thus have a much better mark up.
By having transparency in the work place it can really help a business to move forward. If you’re involved in the management side don’t hide your tasks and procedures, allow the staff to be kept up to date with what you are up to.