How would you feel if you want to discuss a serious issue with your management and you don’t have access to meet them?
Frustrated and Disappointed
Why do you feel so?
Because this makes you feel unimportant.
Nobody at workplace should ever feel unimportant. Problems occur when questions of employees go unanswered and their managers don’t have time to listen them.
As per Gallup research, only 7% of US workers think that communication is accurate and open at their workplace.
Transparency is crucial at all levels of workplace hierarchy. It prevents conflicts and unnecessary disagreements.
Modern organizations have been adopting open-door policy in the workplace to improve relationship between employees and management.
In this article, we discuss the basic concept and open-door policy advantages and disadvantages and how we can adopt this policy at our workplace.
What is Open Door Policy in the Workplace?
The open-door policy means that all management and executive offices, including the CEO’s, must keep their doors open so that staff members can easily access them to discuss any work-related issue.
The team members should be free to approach their team leaders and openly discuss any concerns they may have.
The expanding corporate world is embracing this style of workplace culture. It creates an atmosphere of respect and trust between the employer and the employee.
It is a part of modern-day communication strategy that is based on values of openness and honesty.
Advantages of Open Door Policy in the Workplace
There are certain advantages of open-door policy in the workplace. Let’s discuss these:
Strong Relationship with Leadership
When employees know that their leadership is available to listen to them, then their bond with leadership is strengthened.
The fact that there is always someone to support them in times of need prevents the employees from feeling excluded at work.
When employees have accessibility to their management then they can openly discuss their problems and issues with management. This one-on-one type of meeting without any barrier helps them to effectively communicate work related issues.
Safe Environment Against Harassment
Nowadays harassment at workplace is a real challenge. It can turn workplace into a toxic and hostile place if employees are not given opportunities and mechanism to come forward and speak up if they are experiencing harassment.
One effective way to deal with this issue is to have an open culture at the workplace. For this purpose, open-door policy contributes to make workplace a safe place to work in where employees have direct access to their management.
Team Morale and Motivation
Having open communication through open-door policy creates culture of cooperation and mutual trust. Employees feel themselves important when they are given access to discuss their matters with leadership.
Expressing themselves boost employees’ morale and motivation level. Their attitude towards work is improved and they become more productive and efficient.
Constructive conversation at work
Through open communication, creative ideas are exchanged and innovate solutions are found to address problems and challenges. Employees can freely discuss ideas with superiors and benefit from their expertise and guidance.
No place for rumours and confusion
Confusion and rumours related to leadership and work produce toxicity at work. The best way to avoid rumours and confusion is to have an open discussion with leadership. Open-door policy allows everyone at workplace to openly discuss matters and kill confusions and rumours.
Disadvantages of Open Door Policy in the Workplace
There are certain disadvantages of open-door policy in the workplace. Let’s discuss these:
Reduced productivity of management
Employees may take up a lot of time of their managers when they approach them and discuss their issues with them. Many a times, employees come up with their trivial issues which end up wasting precious time of their managers.
As a result, managers are not able to finish their tasks and responsibilities on time which ultimately reduce their productivity.
Violation of Hierarchy
Many a times employees violate the principle of chain of command and don’t discuss matters with their line managers and supervisors. They go straight to executives and leadership because open-door policy allows them to access their leadership.
This may negatively affect relationship with their immediate supervisor whom employees are supposed to discuss their issues first.
An open-door policy can also make employees overly reliant on their leadership. Employees who become overly reliant on management may become reluctant to make decisions or deal with issues on their own without first consulting their managers.
Examples of Open Door Policy in the Workplace
Many organizations across the work have open-door policies for their staff. Here are a few leading instances of various businesses implementing open-door policies to improve productivity, interaction, and transparency.
For many years, IBM, a sizable technology company with operations in more than 170 nations, has maintained an open-door policy. It enables staff to communicate their concerns to higher management.
In order to increase security, IBM also permits staff members to communicate in confidence and submit reports via phone, email, or even regular mail.
Another significant technology company, HP, has a policy that encourages staff to voice concerns promptly and facilitates communication between all divisions of the organization.
HP states that all employees’ daily work practices should include open communication as part of its expectations.
Saint Louis College
Higher education institutions also promote open-door policies. The open-door policy at Saint Louis University aims to add a more informal conflict-resolution process to the existing processes for staff frustrations and employee evaluations.
According to the policy, employees can seek assistance from their immediate supervisor by bringing up any questions, suggestions, or problems.
Keka is a provider of HR payroll software that takes pride in fostering a sense of security, inspiration, and job fulfilment among its staff. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the company has an open-door policy.
Open doors are used in Keka’s policy to encourage frequent team communication whether in person or online. Anyone may address their concerns to any pertinent party because this company’s policy applies to all levels and departments of the organization.
How to implement Open Door Policy in the Workplace
Follow these steps to establish open-door policy in your workplace:
Communicate your expectations
The first step is that if your staff members are unfamiliar with an open-door policy, you should explain what it is and what is its purpose and how it operates
For this purpose, it’s recommended that open-door policy, like other policies, should be available in written form so that everyone knows what is expected from this policy and how to follow it.
It’s beneficial to establish direct lines of communication with management, but if there are no boundaries, productivity of management may suffer. Establish limits that are practical for you and your team. Also, think about setting discussion topic boundaries.
If there is a conflict with another employee, employees should feel free to discuss it with management, but this shouldn’t turn into a forum for co-workers to start gossip at workplace and spread rumours about one another.
Actively listen to employees
Make sure you are paying close attention when an employee discusses a concern or an idea with you. Managers need to develop active listening skills for that matter. That means you should refrain from typing and sending emails to people who are trying to speak to you.
Instead, keep the conversations going by making eye contact, posing insightful questions, and summarising your conversation.
Address issues as soon as possible
While some workplaces claim to have an open-door policy, nothing gets done when employees raise issues. When an employee approaches you with a problem, follow through on your open-door policy by resolving it as soon as you can.
The workplace is changing at fast pace and there is immense need of open communication between employees and management. Open-door policy is like an invitation for all employees to visit their management to discuss their issues. But open-door policy has advantages and disadvantage. Every organization must adopt this policy after analysing what suits its purpose and goal