Open Door Policy – Pros and Cons

by | May 13, 2011 | Employers Tips

Open Door Policy

Open Door Policy – Pros and Cons

In a company, open communication is one of the keys to success. When people are able to express their wants and needs this makes for an even playing field. However, in terms of an open door policy, some businesses may find that there are some pros and cons to this arrangement that should be taken into consideration very carefully before deciding to implement it in the workplace.

What is An Open Door Policy?

When it comes to employment matters, an open door policy is one that allows a person, whether a long-time employee or recent staff hire, the ability to discuss matters of concern with those in senior management, instead of going directly to their immediate supervisor.


Having the ability to go straight to the head honcho to talk about problems is especially helpful for employees that are experiencing issues with their own manager or supervisor. If the immediate supervisor is not open to reaching a resolution amicably, then they can be bypassed using the open door policy. Having a senior manager speak to the supervisor often has an instant effect, which can give an employee the opportunity to resume their regular routine.

The open door policy also improves trust between employees and senior management. Because the intimidation factor is taken away using an open door policy, problems such as a supervisor trying to bully an employee into being silent about an issue may not arise.

ConsOpen Door Policy

Just as helpful as this policy can be in letting a person jump ahead of the chain of command, this can also be at a disadvantage at the same time. There are levels of management for a reason and each one should be utilised properly in the chain of command. The open door policy is one that can easily be taken advantage of by employees, who may wish to skip going through their immediate supervisor or and go straight to the top, even if the issue at hand doesn’t call for it.

Another disadvantage is that the constant appearance of employees with minor grievances or disputes can cause a disruption in the workplace. Not only does senior management get bogged down with tedious problems, supervisors aren’t given the chance to exercise their problem solving skills. Additionally, using this policy could lead to even more tension between an employee and his/her immediate supervisor. Even after a resolution has been established, this doesn’t automatically mean everything in the workplace will be happy ever after.

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If you need help with this important management issue, including drafting policies, please contact us today.

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  1. Bob

    What about a small privately owned company where the owner is impossible to deal with, aggressive, rude, backstabbing and just a nightmare to deal with? Apart from resigning, how can you tell them to watch their attitude while remaining somewhat diplomatic?

    • vlasta

      Hi Bob,

      It is very hard to comment because I do not know your exact circumstances. I would suggest that you ask yourself these following question perhaps this way you might be able to answer your own question. What would be the most desirable outcome for you? Would you like to stay in your current job or prefer to do something else? Do you have a Human Resources person or someone in a position who you can come to and discuss your situation? Can you approach the owner? If you can identify a person you could approach, I would recommend to write things down and have a clear understanding what are the issues that need to be address. Remember emotions sometimes overcrowd our clear vision of the most desirable outcome, hence writing things down and clearing our head space is very good start to deal with frictions in workplaces. If you wish to continue this conversation you ca email me on

      Hope you will resolve your situation in the best possible outcome.


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