Friday, January 08, 2010


An open door policy guarantees that any employee may seek assistance directly from the manager or may present information directly that is deemed helpful. Every effort should be made to prevent any repercussions for employees.

A successful and effective open door policy leaves the door open for anyone. Normally, problem solving should first begin within the applicable department and manager.  In other words, it is expected that employees will address problems first with their immediate supervisor unless there is any reservation such as the following:

  • The supervisor or manager does not respect the opinions of the employee,
  • there is a reasonable expectation that the manager will not act appropriately on the information,
  • the supervisor is not acting in accordance with reasonable expectations, and
  • there is a conflict of interest.

Regardless of the above, an effective open door policy means, literally, that the door is open to any employee for any reason and any issue at any time.

The purpose of an open door policy is to encourage open communication, feedback, and discussion about any matter of importance to an employee or to the company. If there is a concern or information that should be brought to management, employees should take advantage of this policy.  A truly open door policy means that employees are free to talk to the manager at any time.

At Rainforest Plumbing & Air, I invite any employee to email me, call me or walk into my office whenever they like for any reason.  Once you make a statement like that, you have to stick to it, buy into it and really mean it.

When this open door policy is effectively supported, the organization will experience the following:

  • managers will understand and respect the policy as part of the company culture,
  • the chain of command is honored first as long as it seems reasonable to do so,
  • the manager's problem solving skills are enhanced,
  • the employee's personal courage, conflict resolution, and problem solving skills are improved,
  • the organization benefits from shared information and feedback,
  • there are no secrets and any information great or small can be heard by the highest levels,
  • managers are never offended by a sense of loss of power because this is a known policy, and
  • high employee trust of the company is fostered by a successful experience with upper management.

An effective use of this open door policy is a win for all participants.

The absence of an open door policy fosters the possibility of the following:

  • Managers abuse their power over information
  • Key points of information are lost by managers who do not act appropriately
  • Employees leave the organization without explanation
  • Bad systems and processes remain broken
  • Ineffective managers remain in place or at the very least, remain ineffective
  • A secret-infected company culture develops, sheltering the boss from the truth
  • Embezzlement may occur because the manager (or owner) does not connect the dots

One wonders how many countries have been invaded because their leader was not told the truth!  Do not allow managers or any employee for that matter, be afraid to tell you the truth.  The consequences can be catastrophic!

The bottom line:  The door of Ike Tippetts, President & CEO is ALWAYS OPEN to ANYONE at ANYTIME for ANY REASON.