Trust Unlocked: Creating a Transparent Culture with an Open Door Policy

CoachHub · 10 May 2023 · 7 min read

Trust, in general, refers to confidence in a person or that a situation will turn out the way you intend it to. In organisational culture, trust is essential to ensure that people can work together towards the goals of the organisation. Without trust, it would be difficult for individuals to believe that their co-workers can carry out their responsibilities effectively.

Trust is what makes it easier for managers and employers to delegate responsibilities to the workers below them. In the workplace, trust is the foundation of cooperation and understanding. It would be difficult for people with different backgrounds and experiences to work together if they do not trust each other.

One of the things that fosters trust in an organisation is an open door policy.

An open door policy promotes openness and better communication in a workplace. The open door policy is something that needs to be incorporated early on in a company. Some managers think of promoting openness in their companies after an air of distrust has settled between workers. This is one of those cases where prevention would be better than the cure.

However, even if a company doesn’t have a culture of openness and trust, a manager can always try to incorporate it into the workplace culture. Digital coaching is one of the most effective ways of making it work between employers, managers and co-workers.

Understanding the Open Door Policy

Having an open door policy literally means that you keep your door open to workers in case they need to reach you. When it comes to workplace and organisational culture, an open door policy means that the doors of communication are open to workers who need to speak with you.

An open door policy in the workplace is essential for open and honest communication because it helps for workers to know that they can talk to their managers and co-workers about any issues or questions they have. It is hard to solve problems in a workplace if people do not feel like they are going to be taken seriously. This is why managers need to make it clear that they are willing to listen to their workers.

In modern culture, Christopher Layne is one of the scholars who has popularised the term “open door policy” to refer to political and economic policies of nations that help them interact on an international basis.

Even on a global scale, having an open door policy to ensure that there is transparency between corporations. This makes it even more important for the internal workplace to cultivate a culture of speaking and communicating openly.

How communication looks depends on the specific culture of the workplace. Whatever it looks like at your organisation, it is important that your workers are carried along when new policies are introduced into the organisation.

At the end of the day, the goals of a company are more easily achieved when there is workplace trust and communication built from an open door policy.

Woman executive with open door policy

Building a Transparent Culture

Organisational transparency and trust are two qualities that are very closely related in building workplace culture. Trust grows when workers and managers are transparent. Being more transparent is one the first steps towards building trust amongst workers.

Transparency is the quality of being open. It is the ability to directly express your thoughts. If trust is the foundation of cooperation in the workplace, then transparency forms the foundation for trust. Transparent leadership makes workers appear more accessible and trustworthy.

A transparent culture only encourages more honesty amongst all workers. With time, it will become an essential part of the workplace culture.

Benefits of a Transparent Culture

There are many advantages of having a transparent, open workplace culture.

  • Employee engagement increases when trust and transparency are an integral part of the workplace culture. Workers are more likely to participate in activities when they know that their opinions will be taken seriously.
  • Productivity of employees increases when transparency is encouraged. Solutions are developed faster and problems are taken more seriously.
  • Employee retention will also be easier as workers are more likely to remain in an organisation that has a culture of transparency and trust.

It isn’t always easy to promote trust and communication amongst employees, especially when an open door policy has not been in place before. The main challenge to transparency in a workplace is often figuring out how to carry workers along and implement the policies seamlessly.

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Implementing an Open Door Policy

Some strategies are effective in building trust in teams. Consistency is an important quality that helps to solidify transparency amongst workers. Constantly showing that you are capable of staying open and honest no matter the circumstances increases one’s credibility in the workplace.

Sharing ideas amongst employees also encourages them to get on board with new policies introduced to the workplace. This makes them understand the need for these policies. In this process, you show that you are willing to listen to feedback, making it clear that you value the thoughts of your employees.

Even if transparency isn’t a major part of your workplace culture, leaders can still try to bring employees into the process by encouraging open communication. Express thoughts freely, even if it isn’t the popular opinion. This shows that you are confident and sure of your ideas.

While expressing yourself, you need to make it obvious that you want employees and team members to do the same. One of the ways of doing this is by admitting when you have been wrong and graciously accepting criticism from other team members when it is offered.

 

Digital Coaching and Open Door Policy

Digital coaching is a concept that helps to foster workplace communication. Digital coaches offer an outside perspective to address issues that would otherwise go unnoticed in the workplace. It is an effective means of implementing new policies in the workplace because it makes provision for the fast-paced nature of the workplace environment.

When it comes to creating an open door policy, digital coaches point managers and team leaders in the right direction to show them the aspects of the existing workplace culture that need to be worked on.

open door policy meeting

Overcoming Challenges and Pitfalls

As good as an open door policy is for a workplace, it isn’t very easy to perfect and implement in the long run. Like most workplace policies, it comes with its own challenges and pitfalls, some of which are:

  • Implementing a new open door policy can be time consuming, especially when trying to figure out how best to handle employee questions.
  • It could create a spirit of dependence amongst employees, making it harder for them to create solutions on their own.
  • Open door policies may inadvertently erode the chain of command.

Strategies to Overcome Challenges and Pitfalls

Once you can recognise the challenges that come with implementing a new open door policy, it becomes easier to solve them.

  • Clearly outline the policy to ensure that all employees understand the need to create a new system.
  • Be consistent in the way you address concerns that are brought to your table.
  • Set boundaries to ensure that employees do not override the chain of command or waste time.

Measuring Success: Metrics and Evaluation

Finding out if a new policy is effective takes time and proper measurement. On the surface, it isn’t always easy to see the effects of an open door policy unless you look at the bigger picture and direction of the company.

There are few data points you can use when trying to measure the effectiveness of a new open door policy in a company:

  • Employee turnover: The rate at which employees leave or stay in a company can be measured before and after the implementation of the policy. This helps to discover how effective the new policy has been.
  • Productivity: By measuring employee productivity, you can pinpoint any existing problem areas and find out how to adjust for them.
  • Feedback: Encourage employees and team members to give their opinion on any new policies to be implemented.

Listening to feedback and consistently improving workplace policies encourages workers to participate actively in workplace activities. People become more receptive to new ideas when they are able to contribute, especially when they understand that their input is needed to drive the organisation forward and achieve a common goal.

Digital coaching is one of the best methods of ensuring that workers become more open and willing to listen to team members and team leads in order to foster stronger communication.

 

Conclusion

Understanding the open door policy is essential to improve the state of an organisation. It becomes easier to monitor activities within an organisation when you can honestly communicate with coworkers and team members about important activities and changes.

Digital coaching is an effective way of ensuring that an open door policy takes root and becomes an integral part of the overall workplace culture.

Organisations need to direct a more concerted effort towards unlocking trust and transparency between workers.

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Samuel Olawole
Samuel Olawole is a freelance copywriter and content writer who specialises in creating exciting content across a wide range of topics and industries. When he’s not writing, you can find him travelling or listening to good music.

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