Transparency is a buzzword in the corporate world. Everyone talks about transparency and many companies are making conscious efforts to get there. And now, it is backed by research that transparency is directly related to Employee Productivity.
If you are short of time, head right over to the Key Take-away section.
What is Transparency?
Here is the formal definition from Merriam Webster and it does a pretty good job.
trans·par·ent adjective tran(t)s-ˈper-ənt
: able to be seen through
: easy to notice or understand
: honest and open : not secretive
Simply put, a transparent environment is one where openness is the language and honesty is an habit.
For example, if you know how the Performance Appraisal process works or if you know how the change requests from Customer are managed, then chances are high that your organization is transparent.
What is the study all about?
In the study I was referring to in the intro, the transparency is used in a slightly different context.
It is implied that the Employees know and actually see the customers who they are working for.
Here is the study performed by professors and students at the Harvard Business School:
- Subjects of the study are Cooks and the Customers (diners)
- Four scenarios were studied:
- Cooks and Customers don’t see each other
- Cooks see Customers but not the other way
- Customer see Cooks but not the other way
- Both Customers and Cooks see each other
The outcome of the study suggests:
The productivity and the quality of food made by the Cooks were highest – when the Cooks see their Customers.
By generalizing this principle, we can probably say that the Productivity levels tend to sore up when Employees see the end results or aware of their End Customers.
Why could this be true?
Following can be the reasons for this outcome:
- Transparency in this case may be seen as appreciation by the employees and this could lead to improved productivity
- Accountability improves because of transparency and the urge to excel can increase productivity
- When employees see that what they do matters, the productivity levels can go up
Though this analogy may not work everywhere all the time, the results are there for your to consider.
- Transparency is all about openness and honest communication
- Harvard Business School conducted a study with Cooks and the Diners
- The study suggests: Higher Productivity levels are seen when the Cooks (Employees) visually see the Diners (Customers)
- Using this analogy, Transparency can lead to higher Productivity levels in Organizations
References and Credits
- Article: Cooks Make Tastier Food When They Can See Their Customers on Harvard Business Review
- Image: Flickr Creative Commons by Jacob Renpening