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Open Door Policy (at work)

March 2, 2013 by , under Jobs, Life, On Blast!!, Thoughts.

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Open Door Policy is something that most of us have heard of in the workplace. In some parts of the world, people think about a world policy put in place so that different world countries could trade with China. That’s nice, but that’s not we’re discussing here. Let’s get into this policy as it’s relayed to us in the workplace.

This practice is used in businesses to allow employees to feel free to come at anytime to talk to upper management. It’s an opportunity to discuss suggestions, ask questions and talk about any problems that an individual might be encountering with co-workers, supervisors, etc. It’s meant to help with employee morale, efficiency, blah blah blah. But how well does it work??

If we were all Stepford workers, managers & CEOs, this would be wonderful!! But we’re not. We’re real people who feel frustration, anger, betrayal, jealousy and malice. Why would I go to another manager, jump the chain of command to let them know that my manager sucks?? This news would be discussed with my manager, who would address this, most likely, with me… Uhhhhh…this is the exact situation that I did NOT want to happen. Why would I want my supervisor to talk to me about what I said, about him, to his supervisor?? You KNOW this won’t be a discussion about how we can improve our work relation or his supervisory tactics that suck. Nope. This will be a discussion where I’ll be reprimanded for going over his head and warned not to do it again. Yeah…what a great policy!!!

Has this ever happened to you?

I’ve seen great workers who have embraced the open door policy and took the opportunity to discuss a situation where they were being harassed. Before you knew it, THEY were labeled as “someone surrounded by drama” & needless to say, they no longer work at the job and the person who did the harassing does. Hmmm…doesn’t something sound very wrong about this?

And management wonders why employees don’t speak up in meetings about negative issues that go on in the workplace?? When management doesn’t have the trust and respect of their employees, what do you expect? These people have families to provide for and need to live. Who wants to risk their job trying to make things better for a company that’s not trying to make things better for it’s employees?? Most of the time, management is fully aware of the negative things that are going on. If they took the initiative to “document” what they know is going on, instead of pushing that responsibility onto the non-management employees, the workplace would thrive. They could eliminate the lazy, selfish & greedy workers who take advantage of their situation. Good employees would actually think that their supervisors care about their work environment and well-being. Why would I tell you that someone is goofing off while the rest of the crew is bustin’ their azzez trying to get work done, especially when you’ve been notified in the past and you’ve done nothing to improve the situation? If I keep utilizing this open door policy, guess what’ll happen. I’ll get labeled as a “complainer”, the management “perception” of me will deteriorate and hey…if I keep doing what they tell me to do, I could lose my job. I’ve seen it happen and have done a pretty good job of avoiding this whole mess.

I think that you can express yourself to an extent. When you see that nothing is changing, then I think that’s proof that the open door policy is an illusion. It may be meant to accomplish one thing, but when it’s time to deal with the reality of things, I think management tends to come down with a bad case of memory loss. They tend to get defensive and “hands-off”. I tend to see situations where people are pushed in another direction. I don’t see the “I’ll help you with this” approach. I see the “you should talk to your supervisor about it” approach. It’s a shame because it makes employees feel like it’s “us” against “them” and that their words are falling on deaf ears.

Have you experienced this? Has the open door policy been handled wonderfully in your workplace? What’s your story?