Information is one of the most valuable commodities in any organization. It is critical to ongoing success and growth. It enables us to understand the present and plan for the future. Unfortunately, it is often treated as a secret.
We have seen organizations in which people try to hoard information, keeping it from employees at all costs. One of them tried to justify this behavior to us by insisting employees would “not be able to understand the big picture.” Obviously, neither did that individual.
Effective employee engagement demands everyone have access to all relevant information as soon as it is available. No one can understand what is happening or strategically plan for the future without good information. This knowledge enables groups to move beyond day-to-day thinking and move toward long range planning on how to improve the product or service, better shape customer expectations, and grow the organization. They can move toward long-range planning, not just short-term reacting.
When it comes to information sharing, more is better. Share information about what is happening in the organization, what the trends are in your industry or service, and what your competitors are doing. Groups can use a variety of tools to determine the meaning and relevance of the data they are given. As we work with groups to help them learn how to analyze data we see improved understanding of the work system and increased ability to plan ahead and forecast the future.
Don’t be threatened by sharing information. Even if the news is not good, engaged employees can help find ways to reverse negative trends.
While many view information as power, its significance is lost if it cannot be used. Effective decision making demands access to all relevant data. There is no room for secrets if you want employee engagement teams to be able to improve the work system.