Change is hard. In fact, change management is a business discipline unto itself. That is why achieving staff buy-in is vital when a company undergoes strategic planning with the intention of moving in a new direction or introducing new ideas. Since there will always be employees who oppose or even sabotage the efforts, it is critical to get key staff (not just management) on board early. Here are a few key steps for achieving staff buy-in.
Involve Key Staff in Strategic Planning
The first step in achieving buy-in for strategic planning initiatives is involving staff to create a feeling of ownership. Staff who are part of the process are more likely to help shape the changes than to struggle against them, even during tumultuous company changes.
Listen to Feedback
People like to be heard. Employees who feel that their ideas and concerns are being taken seriously are more likely to side with management decisions during strategic initiatives. Asking key staff for feedback is critical to enabling a smooth transition and will often inspire them to lead the change, even if they don’t agree with every decision being made.
Simple Communication is Best
Management will often find that staff members who are opposed to a new direction simply don’t understand the expectations of their new role. This can be easily avoided with strong communication. When management are transparent and provide staff with a clear picture of their new roles and responsibilities, there’s less anxiety and greater incentive to embrace change.
Identify Major Obstacles
Identifying the major obstacles involved in a strategic planning initiative and allowing key staff members to decide which should be tackled first – and how – is a perfect way to inspire ownership within an organization. Working together to identify obstacles and create solutions will have a positive influence on overall company culture, strengthening the team and setting the stage for smooth changes in the future.
Showing appreciation is one of the most important elements to successfully guiding a company through changes. When key staff members embrace change and provide input or feedback, be sure to thank them. Knowing that the management recognizes their efforts can be a big incentive. When company management leads with integrity and treats all members of the company with respect, they will have a greater ability to improve productivity and make changes with less resistance.
Navigating major changes or strategic planning initiatives is difficult for any company. Involving key staff from the beginning will help maintain morale during difficult periods and smooth out the transition for the entire organization.