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Reflecting on Companies Open Door Policies

Posted on June 30, 2017

Recently the media was buzzing about a leaked memo Steve Harvey, the popular talk show host, sent to members of the staff of his production company. In the memo, Mr. Harvey warns his staff:

“There will be no meetings in my dressing room. No stopping by or popping in … Do not open my dressing room door. If you open my door, expect to be removed … Do not approach me while I’m in the makeup chair unless I ask to speak with you directly … I want all the ambushing to stop now. … I promise you I will not entertain you in the hallway, and do not attempt to walk with me.”

Because I always look for HR angles in everything, this immediately made me think about Open Door Policies. While the situation with Mr. Harvey may be different because he is a celebrity, most companies should and do have an Open Door Policy.

It is crucial for companies give their employees an avenue for communication and complaints.

Open Door Policies let employees know that they have a path for all issues to be addressed, and they should never feel as though they don’t have anyone to turn to. In fact, some open-door policies specifically outline to whom an employee can turn with any type of issue.

  • Open Door Policies develop employee trust and make certain that important information and feedback reach managers who can utilize the information to make changes in the workplace.
  • Managers who are accessible to their employees will find that their employees feel comfortable stopping by for a quick chat to bring difficult issues, situations or ideas to their attention.
  • Open Door Policies encourage employees to come by and speak up when issues or important situations arise or when employees have creative ideas.
  • Open Door Policies can help a company defend themselves if an employee makes a claim against the company for something like harassment or discrimination. Showing that the employee had the opportunity to bring the situation to management is an important piece of the defense.
  • Open Door Policies create an environment in which employees feel they can express any question or concern without fear. It can also signal to the employees that the company wants to be transparent in its operations. Employers hope to keep employee morale high by ensuring employees their voices will be heard. Employers also benefit from open-door policies because it often means the employer will hear of issues before the issues escalate. You’d rather hear from an employee than from a lawyer.

Lauren Sims, the author of this article, is the Director of Human Resources Consulting at eqHR Solutions.

eqHR Solutions provides professional, tactical and strategic, human resources support, ADP payroll product implementation/training and payroll processing services for businesses throughout Southern California.

When your business requires professional Human Resources or Payroll advice to navigate the ever-changing landscape of California and Federal Employment Laws & Regulations, contact us for a no obligation consultation.