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Why Companies Should Embrace an Open-Door Policy

Are you an employer who strives to encourage open and receptive communication, discussion, and feedback on issues that are important to your workers?  Since this is one of the hallmarks of an excellent leader, you should be supporting an open-door policy within your organization.

Open door policy - business man standing in front of glass doors

As the name suggests, an open-door policy allows employees to seek out senior managers directly, to discuss work-related as well as personal issues. Often, the issues that employees wish to discuss may be those they are not comfortable discussing with their immediate supervisor.

Since employee issues can range drastically, here are some of the most common concerns employers should address through an open-door policy.


In 2015, 88% of U.S. employees reported overall satisfaction with their current job, making it the highest level of satisfaction over the last decade. Still, there is a small percentage of employees who are not satisfied with their jobs.


According to a Gallup poll, only about 50 percent of employees have a clear awareness of what is expected of them at work. Employees have a difficult time meeting performance goals when they do not know what their employer’s expectations are, whether on a detailed or general level.


A suggestion box is a good way to hear from employees, but having them go straight to management about certain suggestions may help improve overall workflow more quickly.

Safety Issues

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has specific health and safety standards that, by law, must be met. It is important that employees relay any safety concerns to their superiors. Without this level of communication, the company may be liable for failing to meet safety requirements for something they were not even aware of, especially if one or more employees are harmed on the job. This of course, could lead to litigation which can be costly for the employer.

Management Concerns

According to an Interact/Harris Poll conducted among 1,000 U.S. employees, 91 percent said they had communication issues with their managers, some of which are micromanaging, bullying, narcissism and indecisiveness.  Management problems should be addressed as early on as possible to avoid high employee turnover and lowered productivity levels.

Coworker Issues

Although workers certainly can approach this topic with management, they should also possess enough ownership and accountability to solve small conflicts on their own. This takes them out of their comfort zone and enables them to make some decisions autonomously; increasing confidence in the workplace.  However, a situation where coworker is making another employee’s job a miserable experience through harassment or bullying, for example, must be addressed and resolved for obvious reasons.

Employer Feedback

A Gallup poll found that managers who received feedback showed 12.5 percent greater productivity.  Allowing your staff their own voice increases company morale, as well.

Employee Performance Feedback

According to a PwC survey, almost 60 percent of respondents said they would like feedback on a daily or weekly basis. In addition, 75 percent of respondents said they believe feedback is valuable. However, less than 30 percent reported that they actually receive regular feedback.

Open door policy - women exiting and entering office

The implementation of an open-door policy will allow employees the confidence of knowing they have an alternative discussion forum, fostering a higher level of trust and communication between employees and upper management.  As executives, it’s important not to let a busy schedule deter you.  Offering your workers a few minutes of your time can prevent larger issues from developing down the road.


By Fred Coon, CEO


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