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Open Door Policy: Meaning, Benefits & Implementation

There are people from all walks of life working together in an organizational setup. Individuals belonging from different backgrounds, diverse cultures and traditions, varied temperaments and mentalities, and different educational qualifications work towards a common goal in an organization. The workplace culture plays a crucial role in uniting the employees, helping them have fun and enjoying their work, and delivering their level best.

The culture of an organization is composed of its value system, policies, beliefs, and ideologies. It is this culture of a workplace that determines the behavior of employees towards their fellow workers. The employees, nevertheless, are one of the most significant assets of any organization or company. They contribute immensely to achieve targets within the desired fixed frame for the company.

open door policy

Transparency is essential at all levels of hierarchy in an organization to avoid unnecessary conflicts and disagreements. Therefore, the open door policy is highly recommended in workplaces to avoid such situations.

What is the meaning of an Open Door policy?

An open-door policy is a communication policy. According to this policy, the doors of the offices of superiors or the management such as CEO, manager, MD, president, and supervisor must remain open for the employees to have easy access to queries. This open-door policy aims to encourage open communication, feedback and discuss the matters of importance for each employee. It encourages team members to speak up to their team leaders and discuss their seniors’ issues on an open forum.

According to the American businessman Harold S. Geneen, “A true leader has to have a genuine open-door policy so that his people are not afraid to approach him for any reason.”

What is the purpose of the Open Door Policy?

Following are the significant purposes or ultimate goals of an open-door policy.

  • Transparency: To promote transparency at all levels in the chain of commands within the organization.
  • Workplace Favoritism: Another purpose of the open door policy is to cut down workplace favoritism.
  • Communication: Encourage communication between managers and their employees is one of the significant purposes of an open door policy.

What are the advantages of an Open Door policy?

Following are the advantages of adopting an open door policy at the workplace

Open door policy encourages effective communication between the management and their employees.

When the manager’s door is always open for the employees and their concerns, it results in effective communication.

Open door policy fosters a culture of mutual trust and collaboration.

Transparent communication leads to mutual trust and openness between management and employees. This results in an overall more efficient and productive team.

Open Door policy can prove helpful for employees who were harassed or victimized in the workplace

There have been many reported cases of harassment at the workplace. Sexual harassment at the workplace can be either verbal or physical or both. It interferes with the employee’s work performance as well as their well-being. It further created a hostile, toxic, offensive, and intimidating work environment for the employees.

Open culture at the workplace can help the victims speak and reach out and have open discussions about their concerns.

Open door policy helps prevent the spread of rumors and confusion in the workplace. When employers and employees communicate openly, it prevents employees from creating unnecessary confusion or rumors.

What are the drawbacks of the open door policy?

Following are the drawbacks of the open door policy.

Open door policy disrupts the chain of command

Chances are employees can sometimes violate the chain of command in the name of an open door policy. It can further increase the distance between the management and the employees.

Open door policy creates dependency

Too much of an open door policy can make employees too dependent on their managers. It can lead to employees feeling afraid to take decisions on their own and solve problems independently.

Open door policy can waste the management’s time

To vent out their problems to the managers, the employees might end up taking long hours. This can result in a delay in submission, not meeting the deadlines.

How should an Open Door Policy work?

The following guidelines can prove useful to make use of the open-door policy in the best possible way:

  • Talk: Talk to your employees about the kind of culture you want to implement in your workplace. You can also consult with the employees and hear their views and expectations from the polity.
  • Set boundaries: Setting boundaries will help in preventing abuse of the policy. Like any other policy, the open door policy has its limitations too.
  • Listen: Listen to your employees’ concerns and build a strong base for your open-door policy in the process.
  • Prepare Yourself: Prepare yourself to take steps to handle problems that will require immediate attention. E.g., sexual harassment at the workplace or other safety issues will require immediate attention.
  • Time Management: Keep track of time to make better use of the policy. Do not give long hours to an employee and their concerns, which will result in a decrease in productivity.
  • Follow-up plans: Make follow-up plans with your employee to make the open door policy successful.

The corporate culture is continually changing. With this change, most companies adopt the open door policy for all the benefits the policy comes with. If companies can figure out the pros and cons of the policy and what works best for them, they can benefit from the open door policy.

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Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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