It’s certainly possible to run a successful company without getting buy-in from your employees. If you take the time to involve them and stoke their passion for both their job and their business, however, you’ll likely find yourself with much less to worry about. An engaged workforce will go the extra mile, become unofficial brand ambassadors, and show initiative to improve processes. It may take some time to build a buy-in culture, but it’s worth the effort. Here are a few places to start.
Take Time to Communicate the Big Picture
Many people who are unhappy in their work say that it is due to a “lack of communication.” Indeed, far too many managers fail to instruct their team with even the basic information they need to complete their assigned tasks. This is often symptomatic of an entire business-wide culture, where executives fail to communicate the big picture. This leaves managers with unclear directives, where they tell their staff things like “we’ll be moving into micro-segmentation,” without ever explaining what that is, or how it will affect them.
The answer is quite simple. Executives, in addition to working with decision makers to fashion mission and vision statements, must impart to their managers how critical it is that they share them, and the strategy behind them with their employees. While no-one likes to be bogged down in endless staff meetings, a check-in every month or quarter to reinforce key talking points and initiatives. Post essential phrases around the workplace, and send frequent, concise, business-wide emails that expand on them.
Solicit Honest Feedback
Of course, creating a culture of engagement is not accomplished by one-way communication. If you want to truly have buy-in from all employees, they need to be able to at least weigh in on the things they’re being asked to do. While you can’t allow them to write their own rules, it’s certainly in your best interest to ask them if they have questions or concerns about the company’s mission and vision. You may realize in these conversations that some of the language is vague.
You may also realize that the rank-and-file employees may have suggestions that can improve your strategy. Input from the people responsible for executing your tactics is far more valuable than any consultant’s recommendations.
Your employee’s opinions are all well and good but empowering them to act can make real change happen. If, for example, a staff member says that a branding statement is unclear, empower them to work with colleagues to recommend something better. This not only builds their confidence, but it helps move toward a solution-oriented culture.
It’s hard to overstate what a massive asset this is. A solution-oriented approach puts blameless problem-solving into motion. Far too many organizations waste crucial time assigning fault rather than addressing issues. Accountability is not damaged if disciplinary action needs to be taken after the fact but taking precious time to do this during a crisis in unproductive. It can also create an environment where people have an outsized fear of making mistakes.
Show Examples That Prove the Plan is Working
The best way to inspire buy-in among employees is to prove that your strategy is working. Encourage the sharing of success stories, big and tall, and challenge the marketing team to present them in an effective way that amplifies their relationship to your mission and vision. Showing that you’re walking the walk and not just talking the talk is crucial to success. You can borrow a page from content marketing to show not only your accomplishments, but how they are of service to your community. This can be done through email blasts, social media, and video sharing platforms.
Taking the time and devoting the minimal resources needed to implement these suggestions can pay enormous dividends if they are practiced from the top down. If executives and managers believe in the power of engagement, and practice what they preach, employees will buy-in sooner rather than later, impacting enormous potential change!