How to Secure Buy-in for Change Initiatives

by Erin Bair on November 21, 2016

in Employee Engagement,Training

The Fix Is In

Recently an HR Manager asked me for advice on how to implement a successful cross-training program for team leads across multiple departments. There was a concern that the team leads would view the change as unfavorable – maybe even punitive. What could she do to secure their buy-in?

I hear very similar questions all the time. How can you rollout a change initiative and ensure that people respond positively? Unfortunately, usually the answer is you can’t. If you want employees to invest in change, it is imperative to involve them in the design and implementation process. This doesn’t mean employees have to drive the process or make all the judgment calls, but they do need to have a voice along the way.

For example, the HR Manager postponed designing the cross-training program until she had the opportunity to debrief those affected. This way she would accomplish two objectives. First, she would be proactive in crafting the message as to why cross-training was a good idea and why it was an opportunity rather than a punishment. In addition, she could solicit their advice on how to make a program successful since they were in the best position to know what would work, what wouldn’t and what obstacles would get in the way.

The result is that she and the leadership team have better data and the team leaders have a voice in the process. If transparency and lines of communication remain open throughout the process, then buy-in will not have to be sought when the initiative launches.

Buy-in will already be there.

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