BY CHRISTINA FIORENZA
Now more than ever, communication, transparency, and openness in the workplace are crucial in ensuring your employees feel safe and taken care of during this time of disarray in the world. Finding and keeping talent is proving to be very difficult as some employees are parents who have to be home with their children who are attending school virtually or others who are able to postpone returning to work due to unemployment benefits. The importance of keeping high performers on your team has taken a front seat today, and one way to keep your employees engaged and performing is to ensure the lines of communication are open—both from your employees to you and from you to your employees.
I’m talking about open-door policies. When I ask you if you have an open-door policy, I don’t mean, “Do you have one written in your handbook?” I mean, “Do you have one written in your handbook that is actually in practice at your company?” Is your door—and your communication—open and encouraged? Let’s talk through some benefits of an open-door policy and how it is beneficial to your team and your company as a whole.
Helps Employees Feel More Engaged With Your Company
Employees feel more connected to their managers and, therefore, the company when their managers are accessible and willing to talk, whether it’s a brief conversation or a longer, more structured meeting. Being accessible also gives you, as a manager, an idea of what is happening in your department. Understanding how employees feel about their work, their co-workers, and the company allows for better leadership. Be sure you are an accessible manager and leader.
Unscheduled Meetings Can Lead to Valuable Insights
You may be really good at scheduling meetings with your employees, but are you easily accessible for the more informal, “pop-in” conferences? Unscheduled, drop-by meetings can be the bane of managers’ existences as it’s hard to get on a roll and concentrate on the work at hand when they are constantly being interrupted. But if you aren’t allowing for spontaneous chats, you may be missing important information as it’s happening, allowing a mistake/incident to go unnoticed and unfixed as you take yourself out of the loop with what’s happening in your department. You also run the risk of non-verbal communication that suggests that you don’t care about what’s happening in your department .
Builds Trust Between Managers and Employees
It’s so much easier to get timely information when your door (or phone, in today’s remote workforce climate) is open. If employees know they can reach you and that you welcome their communications, they might come to you with a creative idea about how to handle an issue the team has been dealing with, or one that needs immediate attention. If your door is closed, or you have communicated that employees need to always schedule a time to talk, you may be inadvertently telling your employees their concerns are not important to you.
Creates a Stronger Team Environment
Just as closing your door diverts open communication, opening your door creates closer and more trusting working relationships. It shows that you consider yourself part of the team, and you are not a stand-off manager who just tells people what to do and expects that work will be done efficiently and effectively. Creating open and close relationships with your employees leads to better teamwork, more creative ideas, improved problem-solving, and a general desire for everyone to work together to reach the goals of the department.
According to the book Silent Messages by Albert Mehrabian, 93 perfect of communication is non-verbal and only 7 percent is verbal, therefore, creating and exemplifying clear and open communication between managers and employees is of extreme importance. An open-door policy is more than just a physical office door being open: it’s a commitment to teamwork, transparency, and receptiveness. [CD1220]
Christina Fiorenza is the HR Director for the LMC Groups. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.