Getting your employees to buy in might cost less than you think

Thought Leadership on Talent and H.R. presented by Speed Raceway.

Great ideas are the lifeblood of innovation. However, in the real world, ideas are only as good as their execution. And for most of us, it takes a team of people in multiple disciplines, departments and facets to execute an idea. Unfortunately, brilliant plans can get clouded and inevitably lose steam when others don’t share your vision and enthusiasm.

Whether it’s an innovative idea to lower production costs, or a mobile app designed to increase engagement with a rapidly evolving customer base, it can only be successfully realized if you muster the collective momentum of your most important asset – your employees. Thus, to really drive an idea to fruition, you need to achieve the all-important buy-in from each and every individual tasked with its execution. So how do you create that buy-in?

Over the last few years, employers have figured out that motivational tactics based solely on monetary incentives lack the complexity necessary to meet the needs of today’s employees. The simpler days of fair pay for a hard day’s work being enough to keep people happy have come and gone. Today’s employees are more in touch with their overall job satisfaction. What’s worse, with economic and geopolitical uncertainty, an employee might be less likely to quit a job than they are to remain at an unsatisfying position, while lacking the true motivation necessary to help the company succeed. These employees do just enough to keep their jobs, but become the anchors that sink collaborative achievement.

Luckily, business leaders are finally starting to realize what truly motivates their people. Yes, the all mighty dollar still plays its part. However, other aspects are becoming just as important.

Researchers at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed in their 2015 Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report that overall job satisfaction by U.S. workers has been steadily declining for years – until last year, when it started to regain traction. Simply put, the researchers point to a “stronger rapport between employees and upper management” as a key reason for this recent increase. From this study, we can learn that people are motivated by many things that sometimes get overlooked, some of the most important being opportunity, individual ownership and company culture. And when these criteria are met, they become positive, motivated and inspired employees, much more willing to buy into a company directive or an idea put forth by one of its leaders.

3 key drivers of buy-in

Opportunity – Job growth and career advancement have always been coveted, but millennials and Gen Xers are much more likely to consider them important for job satisfaction than their parents did. By establishing job training and career development opportunities, companies can create loyalty and shape their leaders of tomorrow. Try developing concrete career paths and job ladders. By doing this, many companies are showing employees that they are invested in their future.

Ownership – Another growing sentiment is that autonomy and ownership can help employees add meaningfulness to their jobs, and that a lack thereof can be a huge demotivating force. As SHRM puts it, “workers have shown an increased preference for knowing their role and where they fit into the success of the organization.” Trying to foster healthy two-way dialogues where every employee’s opinion matters can help accomplish this sense of purpose. Another way is to allow each employee some input on how and when they complete certain projects.

Company culture – As employees continue to look more deeply at their relationships with co-workers and management, a positive culture of respect and trust becomes crucial to retaining talent. Team building can create strong ties and camaraderie in the office, and can give employees extra motivation to work hard and contribute to team success.

By concentrating on these three things, business leaders will not only increase individual and team productivity, but they can also limit the costly effects of turnover. What’s more, gaining the elusive buy-in on the next great idea might just be within their reach.

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