Establishing Employee Buy-In: What You Need to Know to Get the Team Onboard
It doesn’t matter what sort of new policy you hope to implement, getting the people around you to “buy-in” to the idea is essential to get things off the ground. Think about it. Some people adapt easily to change, others more slowly.
The best social psychology research can give some pretty good insight into the human behavioral characteristics which can drive these choices. Still, enough research has been conducted where certain somewhat self-evident truths have come to light regarding the landscape of building an organizational culture to establish employee buy-in and compliance.
Now while the original example mentioned a new policy, buy-in is essential to pretty much any aspect of the collaborative work environment. As a result, the lessons derived here can have far-reaching application across the whole landscape of your organization. Sit back, listen up and let’s build the team you need.
Even great employees sometimes need coaxing
Ok, so even the best and brightest people on your staff, sometimes need a little extra motivation, direction, incentive or coaching around how and why to buy into certain policies, procedures or ideas within your organizational culture.
It’s not that no one wants to follow policies naturally. It’s simply that everyone learns, processes and thinks differently. Again, social psychology science can be really useful for understanding the landscape of human connection and meaning.
Just because you might have to use different approaches for different types of staff members or people with different personality styles, does not mean you cannot get everyone on board!
On the contrary, taking a varied approach which instills the same values, main talking points, and organizational cultural artifacts (slogans, phrases, internal memos, speeches, etc.) across the work environment can have huge lasting benefits for group cohesion, collaboration, and innovation.
Who is on your staff
Let’s take a look at how Rogers’ model can help.
The Dream Team
These folks sadly are in limited supply. That’s why they are the dream team. Quite simply they will dive in and make things happen from the ground up.
These people need to be honored and respected from day one. Recognize who these people are and see the fire in their eyes as you discuss next steps. The dream team makes your dreams happen. Respect that power!
The Chosen Ones
Show these people why and they are on the case. They might not care about the downside as long as they see the clear benefits. They chosen are the ones that will proliferate your kool aid. Treat them well. Respect their interest in supporting your efforts. When possible promote them into positions of authority and influence so as to galvanize greater support.
The Alpha Dogs
This group is fairly balanced and will not jump in too soon or too late. They want to make sure that what they are doing feels good and that they are within best practices.
Getting these guys on board might be a little tough but as long as you are offering a clear strategy, with plusses and minuses laid out clearly and in terms that everyone can understand, the easier it will be to pull these essential team members over to your side.
Remember, treating your alpha dogs with respect is key. Often these are people in positions of power with defined expertise. Offer respect to the knowledge these people bring to your teams. Offer back the same transparency and openness
The Late Bloomers
The risk adverse late bloomers take their time making up their minds. They want to follow the rules, but the also don’t want to set themselves up for failure. These people will need to see why the new steps at hand will promote progress and growth, why they are essential to success.
Whether you are a carrot or stick person and you probably should be a bit of both, you will need to convince these people and convince them well. They may need multiple forms of input to understand the necessity of your undertaking. Though it may take a little time, because these are people that really live and breathe your company, reaching them and getting them on board is everything.
Find ways to repeat the same message and make it clear those who do the right thing will get ahead while those who hold things up jeopardize their longevity. Everyone should feel comfortable to do their work, no one should be terrified of being fired, but it is important to establish clear parameters and expectation. Employee buy-in can change everything about organizational culture and success.
These are the people sinking your ship. They are deadweight and should be tossed aside. Now the point is not that everyone who disagrees should be removed however those that are sabotaging your best efforts to change are standing in the way of your best success. Remove these people from positions of power, projects and your work environment.
Read more about the new opportunity for organizational culture in the digital workplace.