“The single most important ingredient in the recipe for success is transparency because transparency builds trust.” — DENISE MORRISON; CEO OF CAMPBELL SOUP

Transparency in work can give integrity, accountability, clarity, and trustworthy. Unfortunately, leaders are in a dilemma between providing the entire truth and holding back certain realities. In one side, transparency creates inflow of information, eventually build trust and improve teamwork. On the other side, not everyone can have the same perspective on a piece of information.

Holding back realities is used to avoid unnecessarily scaring people or losing top talent; this issue has been raised in the previous article. To help you decide on should you or should you not instil an information transparency culture, we provide you with the pros and cons of information transparency in a workplace:

Why does transparency important in the workplace?

Short answer: Because it build trust and encourage your team to work to one unified goal.

Long answer: Because to retain top talents (or to make one), you need to provide them first a great work environment. Clear communication is one of it.

Now when we talk about transparency, we are focusing on the transparent communication issue and not on publishing confidential information for your entire team to see. This means more about sharing your business goal and the idea behind it rather than just ask your team to do something they don’t fully understand why.

Sure, it takes more time and effort to do that. You need to ensure you deliver the information in the most clear way possible so that everyone gets the information well. But we will argue that transparent communication leads to improved productivity.

Don’t believe us? let me gives you an example that we really think high of: Buffer transparency. You might heard it before: Buffer are the pioneer in radical transparency. They release their formula for equity, salaries, revenue, and tons other thing. It’s not without downfall, but all in all, it makes them a better company.

The pros of information transparency

Transparency fosters trust

Mary Ann O’Brien from OBI Creative explain that prioritizing transparency and integrity will lead to growth because customers and your team see they can trust you. Customer's trust will help you grow your business, but also can leads to more engaged, productive, and active employees. Having trust between the team members is crucial. Information transparency improves communication at workplace because everyone can have a complete picture of a goal, and how to get there. There will be no more separation in the business even though they work at cross purposes.

You open yourself up to more feedback

Information transparency leads to a more open environment. It leads you to get more feedback from your team. Sometimes, a great idea comes from across the department. Think out of the box anyone?

Your team have a full context of an information

Having all the information needed will create a more efficient workflow for your team. When your team have a full context of a goal, they can help you think better on how to achieve said goal.

The cons of information transparency

Transparency can lead to information overload

Not everyone can manage the information transparency culture. Some people aren't able to process so much information due to the lack of their information filtering ability. They will most likely be disturbed with too much information and will not be able to focus on their task.

Your team might not be able to see the big picture

Your team can get very anxious if they get the big picture. Giving your team the big picture makes them analyze and worry about things that shouldn't be concerned by them. Worries can affect work performances that will affect your business performances.

It may leave the business open for attack

The team should be the only one who are allowed to consume business information. Having an information transparency culture does create an opening of crucial information leak to a competitor. Any confidential information that leaked to the competitor will give the competitor a chance to take advantage of it.

Information could be misunderstood

You can't explain all the information to every person in your business because it will take time and raise opportunity for too many questions to be asked. In the end, you should assign someone else to share the information throughout the business. Delegating someone else to share information might create distorted or misunderstood information because they might not also have the complete information.


While a transparent corporate culture can deliver powerful results, information transparency culture isn't a cure-all for every organization. Your business is different from others; the way you manage it, the people inside your business, and in what industry your business runs. No guarantee in applying information transparency culture can create significant results for your company. Consider the pros and cons of bringing more transparency into your workplace before you take action.

Rock Paper ScissorsRock Paper Scissors is a Digital Business Architect. We help you create your own digital startup by turning your vision into a valid, clear milestone. We cover digital product planning, managed operation, and product launch. Find out more.