Strategies to Support an Open Door Policy

We have all heard that employees join great companies but leave poor managers. How can you become that manager that every employee wants to work for? A good place to begin is by implementing an open door policy. This means creating a work environment where employees are encouraged to approach their managers with questions and concerns. This policy is intended to promote transparency and foster strong communication between employees and their managers. The benefits of having this type of policy in the workplace can be numerous and can add significant value to any company. Furthermore, it can prove to be a valuable method for maintaining employee morale and reducing turnover rates. Here are a few strategies that will help managers to implement a successful open-door policy. 


Set Parameters Around the Open Door

The term “open door policy” doesn’t mean that managers have to make themselves available at all hours of the day. Doing so would make it impossible to get anything else done and you would probably end up feeling more like a counselor than a manager. A healthy open door policy has boundaries and there are a few ways you can implement this policy. You might choose to have specific times each day when you are available for discussion and employees are free to drop in during one of these times. You might also choose to let employees know that if your door is open, they are welcome to come in and share their thoughts. Conversely, when the door is closed, they will need to wait and schedule a time to meet with you. It is important to set parameters because too many daily interruptions could have an adverse effect on your performance. 


Listen Intently

You may allow your employees to drop by your office but if you are distracted by emails and paperwork while they are talking to you, you don’t really have much of an open door policy. A true open-door policy requires managers to listen intently to what their employees have to say. Recap what you heard to make sure you fully understand their concern and drive the conversation toward a solution. Let your employees know that you appreciate and value their opinion and help them find ways to discover their own solutions to problems. 


Understand the Value of Time

Time is valuable and too many interruptions could affect your team’s productivity. That’s why it’s important to keep conversations brief and efficient. Let your employees know that you cannot waste time on endless venting so any meetings they have need to have a defined purpose. If a problem arises that needs additional time to fully handle it, set aside time for a follow-up meeting rather than letting your entire day get off track. An open-door policy functions best when employees use it as a chance to discuss roadblocks and find solutions rather than a means of gossip. 


When implemented correctly, an open-door policy can be a great way to increase employee productivity, foster teamwork and collaboration, and tackle problems early on. Communication is an essential tool for building success and you can keep those lines open with an active open door policy.