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Open Door Policy at Work

Dhritiman Basu Jul 21, 2020
The Open Door Policy is a radical approach to liberalize the inter-hierarchical communication within an organization.
The term 'Open Door Policy' has been derived from the name of the 1899 treaty between China and the US for facilitating free trade in the East. Implementing this policy at work helps in developing a congenial organizational culture which reduces the communication gap between subsequent hierarchies.
This provides a very transparent construct within the company and can assist in efficient problem solving. This technique facilitates effective organizational leadership and smooth functioning in the chain of command.

How it Works

Open door policy at work requires equal contribution from all the echelons of the organizational pyramid. Each employee should be able to put his message across effectively without any intervention from his/her immediate authority.
However, the employee should make sure that they do not abuse this liberty by approaching an undesirably superior level of authority who would not be capable of entertaining his/her demands. The employees should openly communicate with their immediate supervisors or managers regarding their problems.
Further, if an employee faces some sort of difficulty and takes it over to his/her immediate manager, who in return, fails to formulate a feasible solution, then it is obvious that he has to advance to the subsequent manager. Moreover, it could highlight the lack of trust between the junior and the successive superior parties.
To minimize this inadequacy in communication, the organization should initially start grooming its managers and make them well-equipped for their position. Additionally, the practice of open door policy in business would prove to be beneficial from both the ends.
By doing this, the employees can solve their complications, and eventually allow their immediate managers to realize, and thus amend their shortcomings in handling the prevalent crisis. Hence, it is a win-win situation for everyone within the organization.


  • Casual Conversations - Strike up a casual conversation with your junior peers and see whether they are satisfied with the management.
  • Be a Good Listener- The most crucial part before delving into any problem solving is understanding the problem. Firstly, understand what the employee has to say, and then, devise a rational solution.
  • Felicitate on Achievement or Innovation - Employees are but humans. They constantly urge for that warm 'pat on the back' from their superior for the smallest accomplishments. Give them what they want with a generous token of appreciation or maybe a cheerful feedback. Sometimes, it can work better than financial incentives.
  • Stay Open to New Ideas- It has never been a rule of thumb that the manager has to be omniscient about each and every process which he/she has been deployed for. Remain open to new and innovative ideas from other employees because they might help in understanding their needs and improvising them.
Sometimes, some managers or authorities are vested with responsibilities of employee management which they are incapable of executing efficiently. In such cases, the employees should directly discuss the unresolved issue with the succeeding authority.
If the situation worsens, then stricter action should be taken against the manager, and if necessary, replace him/her with someone who deserves to hold the position.
Open door policy at work helps in building a harmonious and productive hierarchy, where every workforce level gets the opportunity to contribute in uplifting the communication standards within the organization.