Employee Engagement

How Transparency can Motivate and Engage Employees

Motivate and engage employees

Table of Contents

For leaders, decision-makers, and HR, trust in business can be a challenge to build and maintain. One of the biggest issues facing HR and employers today is the gap between pay grades, and how trust in the business fades when these differences are hidden from employees. This affects employee motivation and engagement within the business. How can you expect your employees to be engaged and utilize their potential if they don’t believe that their leaders have their best interests in mind? Being transparent across your business will rebuild trust, and motivate and engage employees.

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How can you motivate and engage employees with transparency?

A glass ball sat on a mountainside (motivate and engage employees blog)

As mentioned within our blog about the Four Enablers of Employee Engagement, we mentioned the importance of your organization’s Strategic Narrative and Integrity. It is this openness about the direction your company is heading that defines transparency. If future prospects are shrouded in secrecy, then employees can become uncertain about their place within the business and ultimately become disengaged. Transparency is being open about challenges and widening the conversation with your employees. At its heart, transparency is about trust; for your employees to trust you as leaders, there must be a level of trust invested in them and their ability to aid your business.

From Ego to Eco

Transparency creates opportunities to motivate and engage employees through lines of new conversation. There are possibilities to tap into resources that had previously been hidden. Otto Scharmer, Senior Lecturer at MIT and author of Theory U and Leading from an Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies, explains that business leaders need to change from ‘ego to eco’[1] and observe their practices from all perspectives so that decision-makers can approach choices from an open-minded and informed outlook. This ‘eco’ approach to transparency creates a community that invites your employees to contribute.

The resultant feeling of belonging promotes trust, because employees feel that their potential is valued. Your organization receives a return on this investment through the increased productivity and contributions from an engaged employee. Through these lines of communication, transparency promotes unintentional recognition, because employees feel as though their roles are contributing to the wider goals of the organization.

Transparency is a key proponent to fulfilling all the Four Enablers, promoting a line of communication from the top down. Without this level of communication ‘a leader’s ability to lead is curtailed – often resulting in a commanding leadership style or an environment of indifference or contempt’[2] and ultimately heightens levels of disengagement.

Transparency and Trust in the Future Workplace

With the future workplace looking more and more dispersed than before, there is a mutual need for trust between both employee and employer. Leaders must trust their employees to use their freedom productively, and employees must trust that their opinions are heard by the organization, despite not always visibly seeing the effects of them.

If mutual trust is established, then even remote employees will feel that their work holds the same value as it would if they were immersed in the office culture. A cycle can then be created; productivity increases because of engagement, higher productivity allows for more trust between management and remote workers, thus sustaining itself. This will motivate and engage employees.

Benefiting from Transparency

Hand holding up glass in front of a mountain - how to motivate and engage employees with transparency

Transparency is generated through various lines of communication. It is about understanding what your employees require from you and being open with what you require from them. This creates a community of employees who can contribute whilst feeling valued and in turn will be motivated to achieve more in their roles. Transparency reveals opportunities that were previously closed off due to no information, driving bottom-up innovation.

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FAQs: How to motivate and engage employees

Why is it important to engage and motivate your employees?

According to research by Gallup, ‘highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity’.

The cost of a disengaged workforce is real and includes increased sickness absence, reduced productivity, and poor customer experiences. However, an engaged and empowered workforce is productive, happy, and thriving to achieve organizational goals.

How do you engage employees?

You can motivate and engage employees by:

  • Ensuring you have effective communication channels in place, as well as transparent decision-making processes
  • Giving meaning to work – show your employees the impact they have
  • Enabling greater autonomy
  • Showing your employees that you are listening to them
  • Providing feedback and recognition
  • Offering mentoring, and ensuring you have a good onboarding process.

You can find out more on our blog about how to improve employee engagement.

How do you monitor employee engagement remotely?

To judge the success of employee engagement, it’s important to have a goal in mind:

  • Why do you want to improve engagement?
  • What does success look like?

For example, maybe your goal is to have employees recommend your company as a great place to work? Or perhaps it’s the number of individuals who get involved in organization-wide initiatives, such as ideas gathering or virtual hackathons?

Once you have your goal in place, you need to work out how you will choose to measure it. For instance, let’s say you wanted to look at your employees’ experience of working for your business. Many organizations capture the views of employees through regular surveys, but you can also use data from one-to-ones, or look at figures such as retention rates or Glassdoor review scores.

Establish your baseline results before you start to make changes and set KPIs around the results you would like to see. Then, check back on a regular basis to see the effect of initiatives you have put in place.


[1] https://www.cipd.co.uk/news-views/changing-work-views/future-work/thought-pieces/how-can-leaders-tackle-crisis-in-trust

[2] https://www.insidehr.com.au/5-steps-building-better-trust/


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