What’s Honesty Got to Do with Business Performance?

It isn’t just brilliance, or hard work, or innovation that determines if a business is successful–although surely those factors help. No. The secret to optimal performance is…drumroll…honesty.generations and different communication styles

Halley Bock, President and CEO of Fierce, Inc, recently wrote about why honesty is so important to an organization’s long-term success on Software Advice’s HR blog, The New Talent Times. Bock cites a survey of 1,400 professionals conducted by Fierce, in which 70 percent of respondents said a lack of truthfulness negatively impacted their company’s financial performance. She said these findings support an earlier 2010 Corporate Executive Board study that found companies which encourage open communication and feedback experienced superior shareholder returns over a ten year period, outperforming others by 270 percent, 10-year total shareholder returns 1998–2008 of 7.9 percent compared with 2.1 percent at other companies.

Chief among the business benefits of open communication is the avoidance of fraud and misconduct.

So how can your organization ensure its success, while avoiding what some call, “terminal niceness”? Bock provides four strategies you can use at your organization to promote candor:

  1. Be Current and Brief. Resolve problems faster by addressing issues as soon as they arise.

  2. Don’t Sugarcoat the Issue. Don’t cushion confrontational situations with compliments or small talk. Tell colleagues or employees what’s at stake and review the steps required to address the issue together.

  3. Keep Positives and Negatives Separate. Focus only on the positive or negative when it is warranted and don’t muddle the issues in a “compliment sandwich.”

Use a Social Networking Approach. Enjoy higher employee morale, improved productivity, better retention and increased bottom-line success through candid dialogue with managers, employees and coworkers.

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