OPEN DOOR POLICY
WHAT THE HELL DOES IT MEAN?
You often hear in business that we operate an open-door policy but is that really the truth and is it even a strategy or value that the company upholds or adds value to?
OPEN DOOR POLICY – REAL OR FAKE?
An open door sounds great, doesn’t it? Anyone and everyone are welcome to come in the office and sit down, talk freely about something worrying them, something they feel needs addressing, or even an idea/improvement that may add value to the business.
WILL THE BOSS EVEN LISTEN?
The premise of an open door is the above, however, it is also about the willingness and openness of the occupant of that office with an open door, to actually have the time and presence to truly listen. Saying it, wishing it, and doing it are two different things. The open-door policy has to work both ways. As the boss there are frequently times when the work you are performing at that exact time is of high importance and concentration is paramount, then a confirmed subsequent time should be agreed there and then to encourage the participant to return at a more appropriate and convenient time.
COURAGE TO USE THE OPEN DOOR
If you are the one attending and have plucked up the courage to enter the boss’s open-door office then the boss needs to be present and be welcoming and encouraging. That doesn’t mean they have to agree or say yes to all ideas/suggestions/whinges but truly listen. Allowing the attendee to get their concerns/ideas off their chest and out in the open to be discussed, addressed, or brainstormed.
IDEA SHARING, TWO-WAY OPEN COMMUNICATION
During the brainstorming stage of an idea/concern, they have come up with/foreseen, you as the boss may agree or say: ‘thank you, but that wouldn’t work in the greater business because …’.
GRATITUDE FOR THINKING OF BUSINESS OPTIMIZATION
It is important to thank the staff for thinking of the ways to improve the business. They may have opened an opportunity where that initial idea may become the solution. Or together you could find common or improved ground to extrapolate the idea into something even more beneficial to the business.
THE UTILIZATION OF SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS, STAFF SKILLS, AND ATTRIBUTES
Having a plethora of diverse staff skills (Subject Matter Experts, SME’s) under your wings who are continually working, striving, and wishing to improve efficiencies of the business is invaluable. Valuing staff’s opinions reiterates their worth to the business, their standing in the workplace, and an acknowledgment that their voice and expertise are welcomed and received.
STAKEHOLDERS NOT JUST EMPLOYEES
This then makes and encourages them as stakeholders in the business, not purely employees. As stakeholders, they are looking out for the greater good which can only lead to improved teamwork, morale, motivation, and ultimately leading to greater productivity and efficiencies.
OPEN DOOR POLICY RESULTS
All this, was because the door was open and a true two-way, non-judgmental, effective communication policy was encouraged and adhered to. Bridging the gap between them and us and creating a team ethos. Once these hypothetical doors are open and the attendees were received well and listened to effectively, the flood gates will open to further ideas and improvement that may never have been seen from behind the boss’s desk.
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