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Smile! You’re On Camera [Perspectives recap]

Transparency has become a hot topic for employers and employees alike. Collaborative work, generational differences, and the rise of technology have all contributed to a “wide open” view of the enterprise. For this month’s episode of the Perspectives webinar series powered by The Predictive Index, we decided to set our sights on the transparency topic.

Rachel Rosenthal, the show’s Executive Producer, and I recruited an amazing panel of experts with diverse views:

Audience poll

After a bit of light housekeeping, I introduced our Menti poll. We just love to get our audience impressions on two items before we dive in.

I began with the question “How would you rate your organization’s current level of transparency?”

At first glance, it’s positive to see that more than half of respondents were comfortable with their current degree of transparency. This means that the remainder do feel there’s room for improvement, however. Several claimed to only share positive information, with a minority being overly transparent or opaque by comparison.

The second question was designed to set the tone for the discussion. I asked participants “How spicy should we get in today’s conversation?”

As you can see above, they really wanted us to bring the heat!

Panel discussion

I framed the panel discussion by sharing recent headlines describing:

  • The Good | “The Transparency Trap” (HBR)
  • The Bad | “5 Benefits of More Transparency in Your Workplace (ASAE)
  • The Ugly | “Tech worker goes viral after posting her layoff on TikTok” (YouTube)

It’s clear that transparency is not a one-sided affair, but I wanted to get panelists’ views on the specific benefits, challenges, and context strategic HR leaders and executives need to understand to strike the right balance.

I kicked off our panel discussion by asking, “Where did all of this heightened interest in transparency at work come from?”

Adam observed that transparency “was like the fad value of a company in the 2010 era. Through that process—and I think particularly once Covid happened—people started to realize they didn’t know what was happening within the company. And transparency was not being actually executed and delivered in the way that it was promised particularly once things got tough and it lost trust of employees.”

Jamy acknowledged natural workplace tensions adding: “There’s a power struggle now between employers and employees. There’s this assumption or perception that whoever has the most information, or whoever has the most data, has the most power gets to make the decisions and rule the roost.”

Gwenevere highlighted another key shift that’s taken place. “Having information, quick access, the Internet, social media, the technology that we have in today’s world. Even being able to have communities where you can go and talk to like-minded individuals, hear what’s going on in their world and experience.”

As we continued our discussion, we hit on several key themes including:

  • How transparent we should be with candidates
  • How transparent we should be with employees
  • Sources of debilitating fear in organizations
  • How to strike a balance when treating sensitive information
  • The right attitude to take at a time when employees can and will publicize their private work experiences

Audience Q&A

Our audience posed some great Q&A that we addressed live.

Questions centered around:

  • How a once-transparent group can dial it back now that the company is growing
  • What candidates can and should ask during the interview process
  • How to regain trust after blindsiding employees

Closing the show and next steps

At the end of the webinar, I shared these takeaways from our panelists:

  • Gwenevere: Listen to the Scaling With People podcast to learn from experts discussing growth, how to master employee engagement, ways to blast through your scaling goals, and more!
  • Adam: If you want to get insights from my favorite Chief People Officer, please subscribe for free to I Hate It Here. If you want to connect and learn with other HR leaders, check out Safe Space – the fastest-growing membership for HR leaders. 
  • Jamy:  There are a lot of changes happening in the HR space right now. Your HR tech stack should support your business initiatives and especially the people accomplishing them. Some really cool examples from my network lately include ChangeEngine, Litespace, Kinfolk, Bereave, Knode.ai, Healthee, and Assemble. Need help making a technology buying decision? Solution: TrustRadius
  • Matt: I had a wonderful Lead the People podcast chat with Brian Phillips, a young executive recruiter with HP. He took me to school on all things Gen Z so have a listen on your favorite podcast platform or by visiting mattpoepsel.com/64.

I gave our attendees EARLY ACCESS to this month’s tipsheet all about transparency.

I also shared details about next month’s Perspectives webinar:

Perspectives: “One for the Ages”

How to bridge the generational divide in your workplace

Wednesday May 8, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Register now!

This was a really great episode about transparency. If you’d like to watch the replay, please find it below.


Matt Poepsel, PhD is the author of Expand the Circle: Enlightened Leadership for Our New World of Work and host of the Lead the People podcast. He serves as Vice President & Godfather of Talent Optimization at The Predictive Index. He holds a PhD in Psychology, an MBA, and a Harvard Business School Certificate of Management Excellence. Matt has more than 25 years of leadership experience as a software executive and consultant. He’s also a US Marine, an Ironman triathlon finisher, and a student of Buddhist philosophy.

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