Open Door Policies Don’t Have to Be a Free-For-All
by Nicole Degi
Open-door policy. I am sure you hear this often when people describe their leadership style or organization but what does it mean and how do you make it successful in your company’s culture?
An open-door policy is all about communication and allowing your team to feel comfortable expressing ideas, concerns or giving feedback. The goal is to ensure that employees can talk to managers at any time and that the manager creates a culture of openness, trust and honesty.
Not only does an open-door policy embody strong communication within your company culture, but it typically creates a collaborative environment where employees feel they can contribute to the overall goal of the company. Additionally, if people feel heard or seen then they are usually happier at work which increases productivity and reduces turnover.
Are you interested in implementing an open-door policy in your organization? If so, below are some tips that we recommend:
- Define your policy and include it in your handbook.
Just like every other policy your organization has, it is important to define what an open door policy means to your company which can look different for every company. For some companies what works might be, “If my office door is open then feel free to come in and chat.” Other companies might share calendars with each other for transparency and give the opportunity to schedule meetings to chat through ideas and concerns. Some use Microsoft Teams or Slack to have chats and open dialogue.
- Communicate and share the expectations with your team.
Communicate the policy with your team and let them know you are there for them if they ever want to chat about anything.
- Pay Attention to your employees.
As a leader, take the open-door policy literally. Shut off your computer or any other distraction and listen to the employee while they are communicating with you.
- Respond to concerns, ideas and feedback.
If an employee comes to you with an issue, then do your best to address it. No one is expecting the issue to be figured out overnight, but it means a lot to employees to know that their concerns or ideas have been heard. Don’t let the conversation go in one ear and out the other.
An open-door policy is great but there is more to it than just saying, “We have an open-door policy.” There are procedures and best practices to implement in your organization when creating this environment and culture.