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Open-Door Management: The Benefits and How-To

“Just the act of listening means more than you can imagine to most employees.”      – Bob Nelson
Business success originates at the top of the food chain with leaders who consider their workforce as a pivotal asset, without which, company goals could not be met or exceeded. Management must continually refine and update company policies and administrative style to nurture a solid foundational core. Although there are several techniques for managing staff, the trending “open-door” approach yields excellent success. Here’s why.
Defining Open-Door Management Style
“Open-door-policy” is a familiar term seen within the business community, but its meaning needs clarification.
According to the Business Dictionary, an open-door policy is a “management practice whereby all employees have direct access to the senior executives without going through several gatekeepers or layers of bureaucracy.”
As you incorporate new policies into your employee handbook, boost effectiveness by including specific details that include governance, prerequisites, and boundaries to each potential issue. In addition, ensure your entire workforce knows and thoroughly understands the policy. The result will prove beneficial to both your staff and your business.
Benefits of Open-Door Policy Management
Open communication between management and staff removes barriers preventing employees from speaking freely without fear of retaliation. Up close and personal conversations:

  • Allow employees the freedom to talk openly about problems that may lead to production or safety issues in the workplace
  • Can build an environment of reciprocal trust and respect
  • Provide a means for employees to receive counsel or feedback to improve their performance
  • Offer employees the opportunity to offer suggestions for change, input on matters, or a way to share new and innovative ideas
  • Can shed light on issues for which management may not be aware
  • Eliminate misinterpretations that occur using digital communication
  • Allow staff to express complaints or concerns
  • Give workers a safe and private setting to discuss personal matters
  • Will result in lower turnover and higher retention rates
  • Foster closer working relationships

Tips to Build Your Open-Door Policy
Office policies must be well thought out before implementation. Gather your management team and brainstorm, decide on content, boundaries, and roll-out. The following checklist may help guide you.

  • Intro – Formally introduce the policy and its components verbally and in writing. Provide a formal addendum to the employee manual.
  • Follow the org chart – Explain the chain of command related to the policy; if an employee has a complaint about an immediate supervisor, explain the prerequisite steps, including mediation.
    Specific times and dates – Determine and specify times and days managers are available for one-on-ones.
  • Schedule – Appoint someone to create an online scheduling process, or to manually schedule appointments.
  • Boundaries – List boundaries for various situations to avoid creating a venue for tattle-tailing and rumors.
  • Encourage self-help – Suggest that staff attempt to find a solution before requesting a time slot.
  • Listen! Put your office on “airplane mode,” place all devices in a desk drawer and turn off your computer monitor. Give team members your undivided attention. If possible, leave the premises, or use a conference room or other casual setting to promote a relaxed and safe space.
  • Quality assurance – After the work is complete and your new open-door policy is part of your employee manual, take additional steps to assure that management and staff are adhering to it. Form an oversight committee to monitor its effectiveness and foresight for necessary tweaks.

Conclusion: Open-door management is more than an open line of communication with your staff.
Genuinely listening to what team members say, not only gives them value but also invites innovative ideas from staff, which may be a gateway for a valuable new product line or cost-saving method.

  • When directing an employee to helpful resources to solve a problem, you empower confidence and independence.
  • Your availability to employees shows respect and demonstrates you’re on the same playing field.
  • It builds a bullet-proof, highly productive workforce.

About Lingo Staffing
Lingo is a full-service staffing firm dedicated to providing top quality services to its clients and candidate pool. With extensive knowledge and experience in light industrial, administrative, and professional employment, Lingo encompasses the capabilities and resources necessary to help you get ahead.
Our experience and commitment to client satisfaction make us the perfect choice to manage all your staffing needs. Our staff guarantees exceptional customer service with a fitting response time.
Meet our experts at an office near you: Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia.
Lingo, the language of On Demand solutions. Contact us at an office convenient to you.

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