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Benefits of an Open Door Policy in the Workplace

Do you have an open door policy in your workplace? If not, you might want to consider it as a means to help your business grow and prosper. See how it can help both you and your employees!

As a business owner, manager, or supervisor, it’s important to be approachable and accessible to your employees. Also, it’s essential for managers to know what’s happening with their teams and projects. The same is true in reverse; employees want to know what’s happening at a managerial level. An open door policy indicates to your employees that you are open to questions, complaints, suggestions, and challenges. When managers remove themselves from the workforce and create separation, it can lead to many problems. So, what is an open door policy, and why do you need one?

What is an Open Door Policy? 

Open door policy is equal to open communication

An open door policy allows employees to communicate openly with senior executives, immediate supervisors, and managers about work-related topics. This is important when employees struggle with their direct manager, and they can feel comfortable going to a more senior executive about their issues. The core purpose of an open door policy is allowing employees to feel comfortable and able to go to someone above them for help. 

What Happens Without an Open Door Policy? 

Before we get into the benefits of an open door policy, let’s set the scene for what can happen without one. The effects on a workplace without an open door policy can be just as significant as the effects of having one. 

Without an open door policy: 

  • Managers, supervisors, and executives may become isolated from their teams. This leads to disjointed communication and a huge disconnect in the workforce. 
  • Managers lose sight of employee performance issues, meaning they cannot appropriately address them. More often than not, this will continue to worsen over time. 
  • Team morale can take a hit when there is no open discussion. Without that open discussion, a secretive company culture can form, deeply affecting employee morale and engagement
  • Aside from secretive company culture, all elements of the company culture can decline and dilute without an open-door policy. This can lead to a drop in productivity and increased employee turnover. 

Ultimately, having no open door policy negatively impacts your company’s bottom line. Imagine an employee or individual facing a blocker, issue, or obstacle. Of course, ideally, when an employee faces a blocker, they go to someone more senior for guidance or help.

However, in an environment where they do not feel comfortable or able to speak to their seniors, this doesn’t happen. Projects delay, issues arise, and ultimately, we disappoint clients/customers.

Benefits of an Open Door Policy 

So, it’s clear that an open door policy is pretty essential for most modern companies. Here’s how your company might benefit from such a policy. 

Improved Understanding of Employees 

As we’ve stressed above, an open door policy is a great way to create a conducive environment for open communication. When managerial doors remain open and welcoming, employees can be more forthcoming about their work-related challenges and concerns. As your employees come to you with problems, challenges, and concerns, you ultimately get an improved sense of how they are as employees. It can show you those that are more resilient, problem solvers, and require a little more help.

As a manager, that is an invaluable insight for your employees. It also gives you, as a manager, the opportunity to capture potentially problematic issues early. You can prevent them from impacting day-to-day operations by catching these issues early.

High levels of Employee Engagement 

Employees engaged in an activity

Similar to the point above, it is crucial for employees to feel comfortable speaking to managers about issues and challenges they face. With an open door policy, employees speak freely and openly to managers. If managerial doors are closed, and employees can’t do that, they disengage rapidly. As a result, opinions, concerns, and suggestions go unvoiced and unheard. 

An effective open door policy actively encourages employee engagement. Information flows efficiently upwards and downwards to benefit everyone in the business. Managers can maintain control and provide support to their employees.

Employees feel heard and valued and as though they can contribute. 74% of employees say they’re more effective at work when they feel listened to. Now, you’re dealing with a healthy and productive work environment, and your bottom line reaps the rewards. 

Improved Access to Information and Ideas 

Traditionally, information has to follow a particular chain of command within more organizations. The chain of command hands up ideas before they reach the critical decision-maker. This can slow down the information flow and dilute ideas and information.

Key ideas and information may never even reach the decision-maker at all! A manager or supervisor somewhere along the chain of command might brush it off and park it. Employees feel their ideas, information, and efforts are not appreciated when this happens. 

An open door policy resolves this issue. Employees feel they can go straight to decision-makers with ideas and information. Also, decision-makers are equipped with all the information and ideas needed to make the best decisions possible for the business.

Remembering that your employees are involved in the business’s day-to-day operations is important. When they have ideas for improving workflows or introducing new processes, their insight is worth its weight in gold. 

Improved Workplace Relations 

We’ve discussed the idea of agile organizations and flattening out the hierarchy. An open door policy can break down the walls of superiority to improve workplace relations. With a stringent chain of command and hierarchy, the divide between employees and managers is vast, and no relationships can form. However, with an open door policy managers and employees of any level can create relationships for the better of the workplace. 

Informal conversations are often more fruitful than contrived, formal conversations where employees feel intimidated. 1:1s are great as they allow you to touch base with employees, but it’s not always conducive to a natural flow of conversation and ideas. Allow your employees to come to you whenever they need to (within reason), or join them at lunch and just talk to them. 

An open door policy can help your business become more open and transparent. It encourages communication and productivity, which can help your business grow and prosper. If an open door policy is something you’d consider, it’s essential to develop a policy, discuss it with employees, and truly enforce it.

An open door policy doesn’t work as a virtue signal to your employees. Do it, embrace it, and welcome it; you will reap the rewards.

Written by Chloe Driver

Written by Chloe Driver

Chloe is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Celayix, focusing on content strategy and website management. She has been working with Celayix for over 3 years and learned a lot about SEO and Website Development in that time.

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