Open Door Policy
Open Door Policy

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 by Dave Blum

In a recent article (titled “Visibly Shaken”: June 2009) in ASTD’s Training & Development Magazine, the author Michael Laff talked about the effect this downturn is having on employee morale.  He writes:

“A closed door, an ignored email, or an unfriendly gesture are all subtle hints that one’s job may be vulnerable, whether it’s true or not.

And…

“Seventy-six percent of respondents say they fear a pending layoff when noticing that their managere’s door is closed.”

I think this is a valuable reminder that, as managers, we need to be particularly mindful of our actions these days.  People are living in fear, just waiting for cues that the shoe is about to drop.

So what can you do to keep morale high (or at least not sabotage it)?

1) Be respectful of employees’ time.   Avoid micro-managing and undue interruptions.

2) Be direct in your communication.  Emails are very impersonal; they do not convey empathy, so important for the development of trust.

3) From time to time, send a personal note of appreciation to employees’ homes.  They’ll be impressed that you took the time out of your schedule to do this.

4) Whenever possible, keep your door open (bearing in mind that, in order to avoid TOO many distractions, you you should probably avoid having your door directly facing the door).  The important thing is having the door un-locked, open and accessible to all.

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