In a book titled Sharing Information with Employees, management guru Alexander Heron explains how executives know they’re doing a good job of sharing information with employees.
[T]he evidence of success—will be questions!
The supplement we must provide is an adequate plan for meeting these questions. Meeting them does not mean parrying them; it means answering them.
Some of the questions will be annoying or embarrassing. Some of these will drive us, the employers, into fields of thought which we have avoided. Some of them will test the completeness of our willingness to share information with employees; they will force us to ask ourselves if we have really meant it.
If there have been conscious or unconscious limitations in our willingness, we shall be in a most unfortunate position, much worse than if we had stayed with the narrow but consistent position that information about the business was none of the business of the employee.
The employer who supplies to his employees only those facts and figures which portray him as benefactor, or as an object of sympathy, is likely to get no good result from the beginning. The employer who enters a program of sharing information with employees and later admits that he meant it “within certain limits” has injured his relation with employees, probably seriously and permanently.
As you’ve probably guessed by the lack of buzzwords and jargon, that book was published some time ago. 1942, to be exact. But the truth of the thing remains.