28 January 2016

6 Ways HR Can Increase Initiative Buy In


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


HR transformation


Rolling out a new initiative takes patience, planning and care. Do it right and you’re awarded with the appreciation of your colleagues, do it wrong and things can go very wrong.

1. Be transparent from day one

Don’t just surprise all of your employees with a new initiative and expect them to simply go along with it. Without any prior knowledge, individuals simply won’t be inspired and enthused by your campaign, regardless of what you’re trying to achieve.


In the run up to launching your idea, make sure that you’re sharing regular updates, asking for feedback and adjusting your approach based on what you’re being told by your colleagues.
The more you share and engage with people, the more they’ll feel part of the process and be willing to contribute proactively.
By the time you come to roll your initiative out you’ll already have buy-in from advocates, who will help you succeed with your efforts.

Sharing your progress with others, being transparent about your intentions and open about your goals, will also give you the chance to tap into their ideas and advice on strategy.

2. Enlist the help of a champion

Sometimes it pays to ask for help from an employee who you feel has a vested interest and would have a positive influence on an initiative roll out.
You may be launching a wellness incentive that an individual unconnected to HR has an interest in, or knowledge and experience of.
By enlisting others you’ll be able to tap into that knowledge-pool and increase the validity and quality of your efforts.

employee champion

Asking for help from individuals is also an effective way to increase engagement and motivation. Being asked for advice and input reinforces that your skills and knowledge are appreciated and haven’t gone unnoticed.

Quite often, employees are more likely to listen to ‘one of their own’, rather than a generic view delivered by ‘the business’. Utilising the trust that individuals have for their colleagues is very effective when introducing new ideas or initiatives.

Care must be taken to ensure that your champion does not feel pressured and is completely in favour of what the initiative is trying to achieve. Asking employees to abuse the trust of their co-workers is unethical and could damage relationships within the business.

People trust recommendations or referrals from friends. For instance, 84% of consumers say that they trust recommendations from friends and family.
A key element in gaining acceptance and enthusiasm, regarding your initiative, is enlisting an influencer within the business to help market your idea to other employees.

3. Let the masses decide

crowdsLetting your employees influence or decide future initiatives will increase buy-in and affect how successful an initiative is.
If employees have decided which scheme(s) the company introduces, then they’ll be far more likely to agree with its goals and the benefits it brings.

Forcing initiatives on a workforce will usually be met with some form of resistance, whether that’s a slow uptake or a complete refusal to take part. The more individuals are forced into something, the harder it will be to gain their approval.

If there’s an element of paranoia within certain areas of the business, regarding what you’re trying to achieve, then this could be alleviated by offering the choice of direction to those individuals.
If people have a sense of control over the direction the business is taking with its initiatives, then they’ll be happier and more enthusiastic about taking part.

4. Listen to what people are saying

employees talkingBy taking the time to listen to what employees are suggesting or requesting from the business, you can tap into a source of truth about the initiatives you should be targeting.

If you launch a program that you already know employees want, then you’ll have the confidence that you’re doing the right things, for the right reasons, and have buy-in from your workforce.
In your justification for the initiative you can state that you took notice of what was being discussed internally and acted accordingly. This increased trust that you’re acting in the best interest of your employees will also help when launching future campaigns.

Quite often, employees will be better placed to suggest what’s in the brands best interest, as they’re the ones on the ‘front line’. Ideas from around the business can be collated and any subsequent action taken accordingly.

5. Stay up to date online

latest newsScanning social media for popular initiatives that people are actively talking about will help you to stay abreast of what employees want from an employer. By offering these to your workers, you’ll tap into the interests they already have, and are talking about online, which increases acceptance rates.

It’s often the case that these popular initiatives are also well documented and detailed on various blogs and industry websites. This information will help you to form the best possible strategy for a roll out, based on case studies and the experiences of other brands.

There’s usually a number of strategies that can be employed to embed something new within a business culture; researching the various ways you can approach your campaign will help you to decide the best way forward and maximise your chance of success.

6. Explain the benefits specific to individuals

When employees understand what the specific benefits for them individually are, they’ll be more likely to accept company initiatives. If you only explain the benefits to the business, or worse still don’t explain the benefits at all, then buy-in will be low and persuading employees to accept and embrace your campaign will become an uphill struggle.

Employees who feel appreciated, and have faith that what you’re doing is in their best interest, will be more trusting and may even become champions for your endeavours.