While items like business banking, budgeting and strong revenue are vital to a small business, one factor may rise above them all when it comes to employee happiness, a healthy company and overall satisfaction.

And that is transparency. Essentially, this element of business means that the company is candid, open about communication and clear about the organization's structure. Better yet, a transparent firm is a fantastic way to motivate and drive employees to work harder – a positive for any financial plan.

What makes employees really happy
TINYpulse, a website designed to help business leaders figure out what makes employees tick, recently released a survey titled "7 Vital Trends Disrupting Today's Workplace." In order to gather the results, the researchers looked at more than 300 companies with over 40,000 responses. And the biggest result? Transparency is the greatest reason why employees are happy.

According to the survey, the cost of improving this element is near zero. It doesn't take a major adjustment to a financial plan in order to get everything going, but it does require a cohesive dialog between upper management and the workforce. An additional finding was that many top firms are using transparency as a recruiting tool, because this feature can not only bring in more candidates but also keep the best employees around for longer.

On the other hand, many companies around the world were interrupted by a lack of understanding. The survey noted that only 42 percent of the respondents knew what their company's vision, mission and values were. That means that less than half of the employees polled were aware of what their goal was, and why they were working hard each day. If a firm doesn't have a clear mission statement, they are basically moving forward without direction. This can directly impact the culture, as well as leave staff members confused and unsure about their direct motivations outside of the paycheck. And, this isn't exactly great.

In order to fix this, small business owners may want determine a concise vision before starting out. Then, the entire operation will be able to move forward fluidly. Hopefully, that will help employees understand what is driving the entire organization each and every day.

How to achieve transparency
Transparency is crucial to the overall success of any small business. Chuck Cohn, founder and CEO of Varsity Tutors, wrote in an article for the American Express OPENforum that this is an overlooked value, but with it in place, productivity, morale and culture will improve.

According to Cohn, every employee must understand the entire process behind a big decision. This includes the who, what, where, when and why – and it helps all staff members feel valuable to the company. Even more, the responsible decision-maker knows what he or she has to do, and the rest of the workforce will have a better understanding about their own tasks, without any confusion about added responsibilities.

Most importantly, transparency is teamwork. Thankfully, it doesn't require a major alteration to financial plan to implement, but it does need a little bit of work. Cohn explained that a business should establish transparency as an all-encompassing feature. It isn't just for the employees, it applies to upper management and every top executive. Therefore, it will be all about teamwork and not about spying. Also, leaders should make all criticism about finding solutions, not just airing grievances. A team should be encouraged to work toward an answer, instead of spending hours complaining about a problem.

Overall, transparency can become a valuable asset to any company. The goal should always be to use this element as a means to further the mission of the company, so the entire workforce is on the same page and striving toward success.