What is a single source of truth?
In most modern organizations, you’ll find an array of tools and channels for internal communication – digital and non; official and non. But employees need to know where to go for the most up-to-date, accurate information, and they need a level of trust that the content is the current ‘truth.’ Some are better (a well maintained and governed intranet), some are worse (email chains), but the first thing to do is identify one single source of truth, and then start using it like one.
Your single source of truth is the anchor to all your other communications activities; it is the last word and the foundation on which you can build trust in your workforce.
Why establish and enforce a single source of truth?
1. To build trust
Teamwork is built on trust. If you want your employees or coworkers to work together, they must trust each other. That is hard to do when each person has his or her favorite program and refuses to acknowledge anything else.
A single source of truth gives visibility to each other’s work and the work you and your team do in terms of internal communications. Own it, be proud, and be visible. Accountability is just one but an effective way to build trust.
2. To eliminate uncertainty and avoid operational errors and inefficiency
The only thing worse than employees working uncertainly with no information is employees working confidently with the wrong information. Outdated policies, old price lists, incorrect brand standards, and stale communications – these are all things that pop up with distressing regularity when an organization lacks a reliable central source of truth.
If information is consistently accurate, up-to-date, and accessible, you run into far fewer issues, like locally saved documents, endless disparate versions of the truth, and general hearsay.
3. To support the employee experience
Finally, a single source of truth will give your workplace a better atmosphere all around. The stress-free environment allows employees’ minds to stay healthy, engaged, and efficient. Interpersonal relationships will flow more smoothly as the potential for mistakes decreases.
Managers and employees will be able to understand each other better, less busywork will make for more real work, and employees and employers alike can finally feel the satisfaction of getting something done together. That kind of pleasure is priceless.
Using this tool
This tool includes a quiz and checklist and will help you determine whether you have an existing single source of truth, establish one if you don’t, and then walk you through how to maintain it.