The Canadian arm of a global pharmaceutical firm says putting transparency at the top of its agenda has already improved engagement – and now other healthcare companies are following suit.
“We believe that employees want to work for organizations that are committed to transparency and we really believe that means our employees not only need to understand what we’re doing but why we’re doing it,” says Tracy Lapointe, VP of HR at GlaxoSmithKline Canada.
“Sometimes as management, we listen, we discuss, we make decisions and we share those decisions but we don’t always take the time to help employees understand how we got to that decision,” continues the Toronto-based HR exec.
“I think it’s very important to talk openly, answer questions and help employees understand what we’re doing because only then can they see how that translates to their job,” she adds.
While transparency is the first step, Lapointe says it’s just as important to make employees feel involved with any major changes and to give them the opportunity to ask questions.
“If somebody tells you to something, you react very differently to how you do when you’ve had an open conversation,” she says. “If you’ve had an open conversation and you’ve been able to ask questions – and that doesn’t just mean two minutes at the end of a meeting – then you feel much more involved.”
Alison Pozzobon, director of corporate communications at GSK Canada, was also involved in the push for greater transparency – she says creating those opportunities for feedback cultivates an open culture and opens up an invaluable dialogue between leaders and employees.
“The longer we’ve been living this transparency culture, the more that our town hall meetings have actually become discussions between the leaders and the employees versus more traditional town halls where it’s purely information out from leaders,” says Pozzobon.
As well as improved inter-organizational communication, Lapointe says the increased focus on transparency has also had a positive impact on employee engagement.
“When people feel that they not only understand what the organization is doing and why they’re doing it but that they’re part of that then there is more involvement, people are engaged in the conversation, people are more aligned and they’re supporting each other,” she tells HRM.
“It creates a very positive environment because it’s sends the message that we’re all part of this and we’re all doing something very important for our patients and consumers so it does increase engagement.”
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