Is there any owner who hasn’t read a book or heard a lecture that didn’t advocate the need to get buy-in from your employees?
Bet they recommended a Suggestion Box!
I’m a bit ashamed to admit but I too tried it years back and all I got for my efforts were either no response or anonymous complaints. Both of which proved to be worthless to me and to those who worked at my company.
What I discovered by accident was that when I built my Operation Manuals and had the employees in the creative and rollout process of the manuals I got both constructive feedback, wonderful suggestion and the buy-in I had been seeking for years.
I also learned that only in a safe environment and ongoing meetings can employees feel safe enough to openly speak. The reality is you need to ask those who perform the various tasks it takes to run your company how to do their jobs in a better, cheaper or faster way. They know because they do the work everyday. And you can only hear what you need to hear if you let the team know upfront and often that telling you both what you need to know and what you don’t want to hear is actually encouraged at your company.
To make this promise a reality in their minds, you must set firm ground rules and they need to be in writing and signed off on it in writing by you and them. Here are 5 solid ways to get buy-in at your company:
- Meet on a weekly basis to discuss how you currently do the various tasks it takes to run your company. These meetings will create the foundation for sound written policies and procedures.
Note: It’s much better if you have already created rough policies and procedures with a small group and let the rest of the staff know it’s not official until they have given their input.
- Let them know that anyone who can give us a better, cheaper or faster way to do anything we do today will be heard and if approved it will become the new policy and procedure.
- Promise to listen to all input in a non-judgmental way and that as long as it is constructive and not personal it will be heard.
- When we get bogged down, the moderator will have the right to say, “Let’s agree to do it this way for today and revisit this again in the next meeting”.
- Someone must be taking notes at the meeting and they will be empowered to make sure the written policies and procedures are updated and then redistributed to all.
I want you to know that this will be a wonderful experience for all. I can say that because it was my experience at my own shop and has been at the shops all around the country in all the various trades I’ve worked with for over 7 years.
This buy-in and new enthusiasm by staff tends to take the owner by surprise but not me.
The reason it’s not a surprise to me is I’ve learned that your staff is dying to have a voice at your company and it’s not just to make their own lives easier but rather it’s to better serve the customer and the company.
Do these 5 things and begin to create a company that you’ll love to own!