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HCI Webinar: Why Transparency from the Top Down is Essential to Company Morale, with Peter Rahbar

In the latest HCI Webinar, Dr. Jonathan H. Westover talks with Peter Rahbar about why transparency from the top down is extremely important to company morale. Below is a summary of the main points from their conversation! Check out the full episode and let us know what you think!


Watch the episode here:


Transparency and Morale: Insights From Legal Expert


Peter and Jonathan discussed the importance of transparency in companies for maintaining morale. Jonathan, based in Utah, and Peter, from New York, explored this topic in depth. Peter, a workplace legal expert, shared his extensive experience representing clients in high-profile matters. The conversation was recorded for an audience to learn more about the topic.


Transparency in the Workplace Evolution


Jonathan and Peter discussed the importance of transparency in the workplace and its evolution over the years. Peter noted a significant shift towards openness and transparency in recent decades, with employees now expecting more from their managers and corporate executives, especially during times of societal upheaval. He emphasized the need for effective communication as a means to build trust. Jonathan and Peter agreed that over-communication is often preferable to a lack of communication.


Transparency in Communication for Organizational Trust


Jonathan and Peter discussed the importance of transparency in communication, especially regarding difficult topics, within organizations. Jonathan highlighted the generational disconnect that exists between leaders who grew up in a time when transparency was not the norm and younger employees who expect more openness. The lack of transparency often leads to eroded trust, as team members may fill in the gaps with negative assumptions. Peter emphasized the need for leaders to be open to updating their leadership styles and playbooks to meet the needs of the diverse generations in the workplace. The younger generation, in particular, poses new challenges as they have unprecedented access to information and are more open about sharing it.


Narrative Shaping in the Digital Age


Peter and Jonathan discussed the changing landscape of information access for employees, highlighting that companies can no longer control the narrative as they once did due to the availability of online resources and employee access to information. Peter stressed the importance for leaders to adapt to this change, shape their own narrative, and communicate effectively with employees. Jonathan added that hoarding information can negatively impact trust and morale, and that younger employees especially have a different baseline expectation for communication. The pair agreed that controlling information is not a viable strategy in today's environment, as it can erode trust and undermine influence.


Stereotype of Younger Workers: Entitled or Accountable?


Jonathan and Peter discussed the stereotype of younger workers being entitled. Jonathan argued that this could be due to a change in educational approach and that younger workers are more likely to hold their leaders accountable. He also suggested that the job market's fluidity and demand for labor has enabled younger workers to be more selective. Peter acknowledged that entitlement is not a new phenomenon and that it's more visible now due to social media. Both agreed that it's necessary to adjust to the reality and find ways to work effectively within it to attract and retain younger workers.


Leadership, Respect, Transparency: Prioritizing Employee Values


Peter emphasized the importance of language and respect for employees in leadership roles. He expressed his frustration with the idea of employees leaving their jobs if they don't receive what they believe they deserve, pointing out that the stigma of quitting has diminished. Jonathan brought up the role of transparency in the workplace and its connection to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Peter highlighted the importance of fair treatment, respect, and diversity in opinions and workforce, as well as the importance of communication from the top down.


DEI Challenges: Court Decision & Company Commitment


Peter and Jonathan discussed the current challenges faced by DEI programs, particularly in the wake of the Supreme Court's affirmative action decision. Peter emphasized the importance of companies affirmatively stating their commitment to diversity and standing firm in the face of legal challenges. Jonathan agreed, stressing that creating an environment of psychological safety through transparency and open communication is key to fostering a truly diverse and inclusive workplace. Both acknowledged the need for companies to not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk by adjusting recruiting practices and creating a safe space for dialogue.


Empowering Employees: A Conversation on Workplace Culture


Peter and Jonathan discussed the importance of employee channels for raising issues and having a say in major decisions within a company. Peter emphasized the need for a good HR team to provide a safe environment for employees and to offer mental health support. He also encouraged leaders to be bold, assertive, and show leadership, especially during difficult times. The conversation concluded with a brief about Peter and his work, and he invited the audience to reach out to him for further information.


Listen to the episode here:


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