People crave routine. There’s security in the normal patterns of our lives. That’s why change can be difficult to accept. Even when it’s for the better, change disrupts our patterns and our routines. Rejecting change is almost human nature. That’s why implementing new policies, procedures, systems, and processes in your business can be difficult. If you don’t get employee buy-in, chances are, your plan is going to fail—which can impact your bottom line.
Adoption can take place without buy-in. However, without buy-in, the adoption can fall apart once things become too hard or slightly inconvenient. If your team doesn’t understand why you’re making a change (one that will potentially make their jobs harder), they can’t buy in. You see, adoption without buy-in means your team is simply following orders. You won’t get the best out of them in this scenario.
On the other hand, buy-in means your employees have caught the vision. They trust you as a leader and believe in what you’re trying to accomplish. When you get your employees to buy in, it transcends individual needs or issues. They will fight through adversity because they’re working toward something greater than themselves.
Why Employee Buy In Matters
A 2021 report by the Harvard Business Review indicated that 78% of companies in their metanalysis who attempted to shift the way they do business fail to do so. So, what was different about the remaining 22%? They succeeded at elevating growth through transformation by focusing their efforts on people. By taking an employee-centric approach that focuses on generating buy-in for your company’s goals, you can set yourself apart.
When you have the buy-in of your employees, they understand their own importance and are more likely to be engaged and fully committed to their work. It’s your people who are the catalyst for successful transformations in business. Therefore, getting your employees to buy in is critical to implementing successful change initiatives.
Five Steps To Generating Employee Buy In
Taking your team from being critics to fully bought-in advocates of your change initiatives isn’t necessarily difficult, but it could take time. Following these five steps could help get everyone on board for your current objectives while opening the door for future changes that may arise.
1. Build Trust
Trustworthy leaders do not have an “us versus them” mentality. They view their employees as peers whose ideas, opinions, and skills are valuable. Trust can be earned through honesty, empathy, and venerability. However, it’s important to have a personal connection as well. Remember, your team member is a person with a life outside the walls of your office. So, the conversation doesn’t always have to be about work.
2. Prioritize the “Why” Over the “How”
It’s critical to communicate to employees the ways that changes to your organization will be a benefit to you, the team, and the company as a whole. But how do you effectively communicate the “why”? Communicating the “why” before the “how” consists of four elements:
- Awareness. Present the problem and explain how the change will resolve it.
- Desire. Create a desire by explaining how the change will benefit your team.
- Knowledge. Let your team know why their unique skills and expertise are critical to the success of the change initiative.
- Reinforcement. Follow through with clearly defined milestones. Share progress reports with your team throughout implementation and beyond.
3. Incentivize Success
The hallmark of great leadership is the success of the people they lead. When they win, you win. Therefore, you want to create incentives for reaching key milestones. As employees achieve certain milestones, present them with a reward. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. You could offer something as simple as a gift card to their favorite coffee shop or take them out to lunch. The point is to let them know you appreciate their hard work.
You could offer bonuses as well. But achieving them should require the team to stretch themselves.
4. Be Transparent
Next, you want to allow your team to see exactly how their efforts are benefitting the company’s bottom line. This helps your team understand how their work matters and could encourage them to be proactive, offering ideas for further improvements. If your team sees that they’re performing meaningful work, it’s much easier to buy in.
5. Track and Adjust
Making changes in your business requires planning. As you and your team move to execute the plan, you must track progress and make adjustments as needed. Conduct regular follow-up meetings with your team and listen to their feedback. You see, they are the ones being most affected by the changes and will quickly identify what works and what needs to be adjusted. Additionally, this shows them that you trust and value their input, which can also increase their level of buy-in.
Friends, change is difficult. Getting your team to buy in can be even more challenging. But, by following these steps, you could lead them from the path of mere adoption to becoming fully bought-in change advocates. We all benefit from perspective and experience. Gaining employee buy-in is just one of the ways that a trusted business coach could benefit you and your organization. If you don’t have an advisor, our team is always here to help.
Look, I know life is hard. I really do. Life as a business owner can kick you right in the teeth. But friends, life is good. Getting your team to buy into change initiatives can be frustrating. It doesn’t have to be. With these simple steps, you can make employee buy-in at least financially simple. Let’s go out and make it a great day!
If your strategic plans and change initiatives continue to stall and flame out, you could benefit from a trusted business coach to help you to generate the buy-in you need. Reach out to our team to learn how we could help you, today!