How to share your business’s financial data with your workers

January 9, 2017

 

calculatorA recent study by the human resources consulting firm, Robert Half International, found that companies are becoming less tight-lipped about their finances, at least with their own staff.

Just four years ago, only 24 percent of private companies that responded to the survey said they shared financial data with at least some internal staff. Today, 56 percent of companies that responded said they shared financial data with at least some employees. Twenty-five percent claimed to share financial data with all employees.

“Society has become more transparent,” said Robert Half Regional Vice President Kimberly Stiener-Murphy. “Whether its social media or the news people expect transparency.”

Sixty-seven percent of employers claim their employees are at least somewhat interested in the financial health of the company they work for.

Employers have found that sharing the information gives workers a sense of ownership in the company’s results, especially if they are good results. That can lead to improved productivity.

“Everyone wants to work for a winning team,” said Stiener-Murphy.

There are some challenges for companies that choose to share financial information. One can be determining what to share. Matching what employees want to know with what management is willing to divulge can be a challenge.

“Every company is different,” she said. “What they find is that if they are tight-lipped, people tend to think on the negative side. For private employers, they get to choose what they want to release.”

Sticking to a schedule for releasing information is also important. Skipping an expected release of information can alienate workers.

Another challenge is connecting the employees’ work with the company’s bottom line. The information won’t mean much if employees don’t see how they are responsible for the numbers they get.

Also, explaining what the numbers mean can be as important as providing the raw data. It is vital for managers to carefully explain what the worker is seeing.

One of the keys to making the sharing of the information successful is tying workers’ performance to the information they get.

“You have to get everybody on board,” said Stiener-Murphy. “Get them to ask, ‘How can I become part of the greater vision?’”

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