The year 2020 was a learning experience for everyone, especially those in leadership and management positions. In particular, securing employee buy-in in one way or another has been an area of focus for leaders.
From the pivot to remote work to the need to keep productivity up despite social and economic challenges, attaining buy-in from your team members is essential if you want to keep everyone engaged and committed to their roles.
This is true for any new venture by your organization. For instance, you might seek employee buy-in as you plan new company events. This year, hybrid events are likely on your calendar. With many of your team members still at home and leaders looking at a hybrid work model, it only makes sense that your future events, meetings, and other gatherings will have both virtual and in-person elements.
From offering easy ways to register for the hybrid event to how you present the event, there are a number of factors that can increase employee buy-in. Like with all new ventures, and especially during times of uncertainty, you should clearly explain the benefits and the reasoning behind any decisions you make. Overall, a focus on positive company culture and open communication between staff and leadership is key.
Before we dive into specific tips for your hybrid event, let’s review the basic benefits of employee buy-in.
What Are The Benefits Of Employee Buy-in?
When someone begins working for your organization or company, a two-way relationship is immediately established. The employee must work enough to bring the business value and outweigh the cost of compensation. On the other hand, the organization’s leaders and culture must actively engage the employee, offer them opportunities to grow, and motivate them to continue working.
This push and pull directly impacts your employee recruitment and retention rates.
In fact, securing and maintaining employee buy-in is a huge driver for both long-term recruitment and retention. The more workers you have backing up leadership decisions and organizational changes, the higher the chance that your company is one that potential employees are excited to join. Plus, your current employees will be more motivated to stay and grow their impact if they’re excited about how the organization grows and changes over time.
However, recruitment and retention aren’t the only benefits of maintaining a culture of employee buy-in. Actively making sure that your workers support your decisions and improve employee performance, choices can:
- Increase employee morale
- Increase team productivity
- Generate higher participation rates on events and activities
- Contribute to a stronger reputation as a leader in your sector
Gaining employee buy-in sounds like the ideal situation, but it’s not always the easiest to secure.
Next, we’ll go over some common obstacles that may pop up as you aim to increase your own employee buy-in leading up to hybrid events, when changing your remote work policies, or making any other important transitions.
What Are The Obstacles To Employee Buy-in?
It’s important to note that it will be impossible to gain 100% agreement from every single individual working at your organization. However, that’s not necessarily the goal.
Employee buy-in refers more to supporting and understanding whatever you and/or your team are implementing. Supporting decisions doesn’t necessarily require fully agreeing with them, but it does require that your employees both accept the decisions and continue to give their all within their roles to help ensure the new changes have beneficial impacts.
The initial obstacle to employee buy-in is simply ensuring that team members believe your leadership has the staff’s best interests in mind and that decision-making is rooted in what will be best for the organization.
In other words, employee buy-in is about more than just the decision or change at hand. Even if your next hybrid event is as exciting as can be, if your employees don’t trust your leadership or understand why the change is important for company culture, buy-in is less likely.
This challenge can combine with or lead to other issues that might affect employee buy-in. These include lack of communication between employees and leadership, personal opposition to new decisions, and the need for more clear reasoning and goals behind decisions.
To better address these obstacles, let’s look specifically at how you might increase employee buy-in for your next hybrid event.
5 Ways To Increase Employee Buy-in For Your Next Hybrid Event
As you are planning your company’s hybrid event, there are a couple of things you can do to increase employee buy-in.
As mentioned above, establishing initial trust with your employees is key. This way, even if they don’t technically agree with the idea of a hybrid event or don’t personally see value in virtual attendance, they’ll at least trust your leadership enough to know that you’ll make the best choices for the organization as a whole and for each individual team member.
To further increase employee buy-in for your next hybrid event, you can:
- Introduce the details and plan of the event early on. When it comes to leading a company, giving ample notice for events or other major decisions is extremely important. Not only does this show that you’re conscientious of your workers’ time and personal lives, but you’re also providing ample opportunity for them to ask questions. This way if something needs to be changed or if someone has a problem, you have enough time to address it.
- Explain the benefits of the event. A hybrid company event is an exciting endeavor, and your employees should know this. Directly and clearly lay out exactly how this type of event will affect the employee positively. For example, the biggest benefit is that this event will provide employees with a new level of flexibility on how they can attend.
- Address your employees’ concerns and remain transparent. There might be a number of concerns for a hybrid event during this time. If your employees have questions, be sure to answer them honestly. From concerns about budget to why the event matters, you should be upfront and clear with your answers. For one thing, perhaps some of your employees think that everyone should be in-office or everyone should be remote. Bring up these points before they are brought up by team members, so that they know you’re thinking of them first.
- Clearly explain all of the safety precautions you’re planning to implement. If this hybrid event is happening while there are social distancing guidelines and other health measures in place, you need to reflect this within your hybrid event. For instance, you might cap the number of people physically present, require masks, enforce social distancing, and assign individuals to clean surfaces frequently.
- Bolster your hybrid event with reliable tools and processes. Hybrid events still depend on tools as heavily as virtual events do. It might even require more preparation than usual because you have to determine camera placement and programming that will be engaging for both audiences. For starters, a dedicated online event registration tool, video conferencing apps, and live streaming platforms are essentials to any organization’s or business’s techstack. The better the tools you invest in, the more likely that the digital elements of your hybrid event are seamlessly integrated and intuitive to use.
These tips can help you get on the same page with your employees and earn their acceptance. However, fully gaining employee buy-in for all future decisions is much easier with that foundation of mutual trust already laid out. To establish this with all of your team members and prospects, having a strong employee engagement and compensation strategy is key.
Taking insight from this Astron Solutions article, “A fleshed-out and comprehensive [engagement and compensation] strategy gives employees insight into why their contributions are valued and aligns them with their job roles.”
How you’ll interact with your employees should be established before someone is even hired. Make sure you’re always considering your organization’s needs and how you can better serve your staff members—in the end, this is the most valuable way to secure employee buy-in.
Employee buy-in is a critical component of any organization or business’s success. Without your team members supporting your decision-making, it’s less likely that they’ll put their all into their jobs and bring genuine value to your organization. Remember to foster an environment of trust and transparency as soon as someone joins your team. Even if they don’t personally agree with all major business choices, they should still trust that your leadership knows what supports your organization’s long-term goals best.
Start planning your next hybrid event with your employees backing up this decision. Good luck!