How To Get Staff Buy-in And Why You Need To Do It

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Being passionate about your business is a given, especially if it’s something you’ve been dreaming about for so long. Now that you’ve finally fitted all the pieces together to gain traction, you want your staff to feel the same excitement so you can work as one unit to make your dreams come true.

However, it sometimes happens that not everyone will feel the same way you do. Sometimes your staff will view their work as just their 9-5 and won’t feel any sort of excitement about what they’re doing. It’s hard to blame them–they need to put food on the table after all–but it ultimately rests on you to motivate them to share your ideals, values and vision as a business leader and owner. You need staff buy-in. 

You need to be a good leader to inspire them to want the same things as you. Instead of a manager hiring just anybody who might fit the role, you need to be discerning about who you’re adding to your team. 

I know this firsthand.

When I was first starting out my business, I was hiring from a place of pain with very limited resources. Instead of looking at my potential hire’s values or the direction I wanted my business to go, I was just looking to hire quick and easy. The staff I got were in it for the paycheck, and didn’t necessarily want to help me grow my business. Turnover was high and stress was even higher and I realised that reactive hiring was not the way.

As soon as I came to this realisation, everything changed for me and I was able to turn things around. My staff grew excited, we collaborated on ways we could make the business better and everyone was all in and passionate about values and goals because they believed in my vision. 

Staff buy-in keeps everyone on their toes, motivated and on the same page to help your business succeed.

Why staff buy-in is important

You want your staff fully engaged and excited about their job and the tasks they have to carry out. Staff buy-in affects this engagement and drives it. When they believe in your goals and vision and understand them completely, they’ll feel like their contribution makes a difference and pushes your business forward.

Employee buy-in also helps your staff feel more confident and like they can speak up and make important decisions when it comes to projects or tasks that require collaboration. They won’t feel as if they need to hold back because they think they’ll make a mistake, they’ll instead step up to the plate and solve any problems or mistakes they may make constructively. This will help them deepen their working relationships with you and each other, leading to more productivity and stronger morale. 

In my years of experience both in business and as a business coach, I’ve found that the more your staff feels aligned with your values and goals, the more they’ll work together with their colleagues and with you. It’s not enough for you to explain your vision in broad strokes–nobody’s going to want to listen to you drone on using corporate buzzwords that don’t hold any water, you’ll just sound robotic and uninspiring–you need to craft it together and be specific. Flesh out the whos, whats, whens, wheres and whys and you’ll have your staff hooked.

One example I can think of is one of my clients: Story League. Content director Luke Buesnel is so thorough with his business goals and vision and is completely transparent about them with his staff. He has all of the fundamentals covered–a mission statement, a set of goals and a manual that outlines everything his team needs to know to achieve those objectives. 

Not only that, he’s dedicated to improving every staff member, seeing them as more than just worker bees, but actual human beings with their own passions and dreams. Engaging with them as more than just employees he can boss around, but people he sees as part of a collective that are all passionate about expanding his business. Staff buy-in in Story League is so genuine and it’s a great example of how their business leader wants to grow each member and, in turn, grow the company. 

5 ways to get staff buy-in

In order to move from your comfort zone to the growth zone and get staff to buy-in so you can efficiently work with like-minded and passionate employees, you need to employ these five steps. 

  1. Listen to your employees

Your relationships with your staff are just as important as your business plans and ideas. Don’t forget that they’re the ones who’ll be helping you execute them. You wouldn’t want to support or try to assist someone who’s treating you like garbage, right? So, you need to cultivate those relationships–ask them how their family is doing, be empathetic to their needs and be observant about their behaviour.

Two-way communication is crucial. It can’t just be them approaching you–chances are they might be nervous and who can blame them? After all, they may feel they’re bothering you or that you don’t have the time. Be the one to approach, especially if you’re noticing they’re not delivering work that’s up to par or they seem down in the dumps. It’s not enough to keep your door open, you need to knock on theirs, as well–trust me, they’ll appreciate it. 

  1. Ensure that your vision is clear

Missions and visions that have no substance and are all fluff won’t do–you might as well be giving them a monotonous sermon. You need to break down your goals and objectives in manageable chunks with actionable steps. Be specific, use numbers and figures and talk about your projected process to get there.

You need to make sure every employee understands what you’re setting out to do to get everyone on the same page. Once your staff is aligned and knows your vision by heart, you can all move together as one unit. Being scattered and confused will only make you look like a bunch of directionless, headless chickens. Don’t be that guy who mumbles something about synergy and unity, make it crystal clear. 

  1. Play to your employees’ strengths

Catering to an employee’s strengths and personalising tasks helps boost their confidence and simultaneously helps them become more efficient. You curb their weaknesses and encourage them to improve at the same time. 

Doing this provides them the avenue to shine and find out what they’re truly capable of. This boosts morale, especially when everyone on the team feels confident and are doing what they do best. 

  1. Show that you’re passionate and even vulnerable

You don’t need to expose your bleeding heart to be vulnerable, just showing your passion makes you human and, therefore, you can be someone your staff can empathise with. People respond better to someone who’s warm and motivated and doesn’t feel the need to hide the fact that they’re earnest and eager about growing their business.

Working with someone who shows they truly care about their business goals will help staff latch on better because they want to help someone who shows they’re invested. Nobody wants to listen to a robot, cold and unfeeling, they want to walk in-step with someone who is human and who recognises them as human beings in return. 

It’s not shameful to feel excited and devoted to your business goals and ideas, so don’t feel the need to hide it. People want to work with people, not with soulless automatons. 

  1. Address resistance or mistakes immediately and with conviction

You need to be open and honest about how it’s okay to make mistakes so they feel less restricted. Your staff may resist big moves or risky decisions because they don’t want to let you or the business down, but mistakes in business help you learn more about yourself and how you need to operate. So long as you bounce back right away and you correct your staff member in private so you don’t embarrass them, you can better teach everyone how not to do things.

Address these mistakes and resistances right away–don’t wait for them to fester. You may feel hesitant to correct someone because you don’t want them to feel guilty for what they did, so make it a learning opportunity. Your job isn’t to yell at your marketing intern like a jerk, you want to uplift them after pointing out what they did wrong. Don’t let these errors fester, or you’re in for a world of trouble.

Creating this kind of culture in your business isn’t an impossible feat. While it can feel like a climb, it’s certainly no Everest as long as you are able to lay out the fundamentals, are clear with your staff, make sure they all feel supported and like they’re contributing and you show that you yourself are excited by the notion of growth–they’ll follow suit given that you’ve hired the right people.

If you want to cultivate this kind of atmosphere and enthusiasm in your business, I encourage you to join our Business Evolution Facebook group, to learn more about staff buy-in, igniting your team’s passions and how you can implement all of these steps in your business.

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