What is an Open Door Policy and Why Should You Adopt It?


By far, one of the most common complaints from employees is not feeling heard. In fact, HR Magazine research reveals that 83% of employees feel they are not being heard “fairly or equally”. Another 60% believe their opinions are being ignored completely.

Yikes. We’d like to think employers aren’t intentionally ignoring their employees. Millennium Omaha knows that life happens, and work can get busy.

If you want to make sure employees feel heard in the workplace, might we suggest an open door policy? In this post, we’ll explain what an open door policy is and how it can benefit your entire office.

What is an Open Door Policy?

An open door policy means that all employees have access to a manager or supervisor in the event that questions or concerns are raised. There aren’t hoops and hurdles that an employee needs to jump through, and it’s as easy as popping in for a chat.

This system encourages open communication and paves the way to give all employees an outlet to express their voices. Companies that implement an open door policy will communicate this through their employee handbook.

Example: HP, a technology powerhouse, implements a policy where employees can raise concerns across all levels of the company. Employees first bring up their concerns through their own chain of command before communicating with other apartments. Part of the policy is also giving or asking for feedback without backlash from supervisors or co-workers.

Why You Should Adopt an Open Door Policy

As mentioned before, 4 out of 5 employees don’t feel heard. By adopting an open door policy, you’re tearing down the communication barriers that your employees struggle with. Employees feel better, and supervisors will receive more feedback so that your company can improve.

There are many other reasons to adopt an open door policy. Reasons include:

  • Establish trust with and among employees
  • Promote transparency within the workplace
  • Creates feedback loops that lead to improvement
  • Address “problem” areas before they exacerbate and become difficult to handle
  • Improve communication across all levels of a company
  • Encourage constructive discussions
  • Promotes teamwork on all levels

Note: An open door policy has many benefits, but it’s not perfect. Boundaries and guidelines for an open door policy need to be established too. Otherwise, employees may take advantage of managers or become too dependent on them. When implementing an open door policy, it’s important that managers and supervisors are trained to understand your policy in detail.