Open Door Policy and How Is It Implemented?

Open door policy is a practice that encourages employees to knock on the door of the manager when they have any questions, concerns, or ideas about problems in the workplace.

Open Door Policy and How Is It Implemented?

"Employees enter great companies and resign because of bad managers." This phrase, which is accepted in the business world, emphasizes the importance of being a good manager. So how can you be a manager everyone would like to work with? Open door policy can add a lot to you in this regard.

Let's start with the definition of the open door policy. Open door policy is a practice that encourages employees to knock on the door of the manager when they have any questions, concerns, or ideas about problems in the workplace. The biggest advantages of this application are that it increases transparency, increases productivity and accelerates communication within the company. Which manager wouldn't want these pluses?

Another reason companies adopt this practice is to gain the trust of the employee and to make sure that important information goes to the management where the feedback can be very valuable.

However, this application contains many serious problems that can arise if abused by the manager or employees. If we count a few of them:

  • Excessive socialization that occurs when this system is used too much can lead to nepotism or rumors of nepotism in the office.
  • If employees make the habit of leaning their backs on the manager in the face of every challenge, this may reflect on the company as a loss of productivity as their problem solving skills will be dulled on their own.
  • If the information shared by the manager is not delivered to all of the relevant employees, that is, if equality in information sharing is not achieved, this may cause unrest among employees and may return to your company as a loss of efficiency.

We can guess the question in your mind. As a manager, how can I manage to put this policy into practice while ruling out potential harms? We would have prepared an effective 3-step guide to help you with this.

1) Set certain conditions in practice!

As a manager, you naturally want to be aware of the status of your team and therefore you want to constantly interact with your team by applying the open door policy. So how do you manage to devote time to meaningful discussions without making yourself a consultant or a micro manager?

Open communication is the most important requirement of a successful open door policy. You can get maximum efficiency from the open door policy by setting some conditions that encourage open communication in your negotiations. For example, the terms you can put forward as a manager may be the following.

Before you come to me with a problem, think carefully and be prepared to answer these questions: Is this problem only affecting you, or are there other employees or departments suffering from it? What can be done to fix this problem?
If my door is open, you can come in to discuss any problem at work. However, if the door is closed, please make an appointment for a later date.
If there is an emergency, like a chemical leak, find me urgently even if I'm not in my room.

2) Be an attentive listener!

The second best step to successful open door practice is to be an attentive listener. Let your employee explain himself and make sure that your conversation will not be interrupted by any notice, phone call, or other appointment during this process.

Briefly go over the narratives to fully understand the problem. Especially avoid underestimating your employee's problem. The reason behind their restlessness can be a major problem.

If an employee has begun to corrode your door for the same problem, it's likely that the root of the problem lies deeper. One of the best things to do in such situations is "What do you think the solution is?" is to ask. Thus, by shifting the focus of your conversation to possible solutions, you encourage your employee to look for solutions rather than complain.

Remember, not all of your employees are problem-solving oriented. In the decision-making process, it is very important to guide your employees to the solution with your questions, as it teaches your employees to trust their own skills in problem solving.

3) Worth your time!

Efficient time management is a vital criterion for a successful open door policy. If you get stuck in uninterrupted meetings all day long, you may throw your main job, management, to the second plan and cause your team's productivity to decrease. For this reason, it is essential for the managers to try to solve the problems communicated to them as quickly as possible and in one go for the system to work in the best way.

Undesirable situations in open door policy

We mentioned above that the manager should solve the problem in one go and as quickly as possible. However, if the senior manager's ability to solve the problem immediately takes away the chance of a senior supervisor of the worker to solve the problem, we must say that the open door policy does not work effectively in such cases. In order that the open door policy does not damage the employee-supervisor relationship, it is often best to solve the job-related problem in the closest position to the source of the problem.

In order not to create tension between the chief and the senior manager, senior managers need to make sure that this problem is moved to the chief first, if it seems to be solved closer to the source, before starting the meeting.

According to the content of the problem, it is ideal for a high-ranking manager to call the chief to seek a solution with a three-person discussion and to ensure that everyone is aware of the issue. If the complaint from the employee is about the chief, it is up to the manager to weigh the issue at his own discretion.

The open door application gives senior managers a very valuable perspective on problem solving by conveying what is in the minds of employees they do not meet regularly. However, there is a point to note here: this application should not be used as a means of revenge. In such cases, this practice serves malicious purposes rather than being productive and beneficial, and undermines internal peace.

Nowadays, open door policy is a kind of imperative. The days of managers sitting behind closed doors at tables made of walnut wood are long gone. Today's companies need active business executives who know their team well and know the conditions for success or the underlying causes of failures. Open doors and relevant managers within the company invite employees to cooperate and encourage a solution-oriented approach to problems.