Get executive buy-in with an appealing argument

Dear A,

We just conducted an engagement survey and our results were more than disappointing.  I know that we need to implement an engagement solution but our C-Suite isn’t buying in to the idea.  What is the easiest way to submit this idea to my executive management team?

Yours truly,
C-Not-So-Sweet

C-Not-So-Sweet,

No matter who’s the boss, you are bound to run into some resistance when you propose anything that requires an investment.  With regards to this topic, it’s important to know how to best to influence senior management to recognize the importance of employee recognition and how they can support that priority on an ongoing basis.  There are many different ways to persuade others with no single “magic bullet” that works for everyone.  Here are three suggestions to obtain executive buy-in:

  1. Try talking to executives in their own terms.  For top management, their language reflects their focus and priorities and typically includes a concern for achieving the organization’s strategic objectives, a cost/benefit analysis of potential management actions, and the financial “bottom line” or profit that is returned to the organization on any financial investment that is made directly via the organization’s budget. Probably the best way to influence top management is to demonstrate the bottom-line (i.e., profit) financial impact that will occur from an increase of recognition in your organization.  Emphasize the importance of motivated employees for increasing sales revenue, productivity, quality, safety, customer service or other key performance goals.
  2. Consider your competitors.  You can help bring a sense of relevance and urgency to the topic by citing what your company’s competition is doing on the topic.  You can often find out what your competition is doing by looking at their website and seeing how they are positioning their company as a great place for employees to work.
  3. Use your employee engagement survey to quantify the topic for your organization.  Draw upon a core number of responses when you present to the C-Suite, which will give you a more robust measure than just a single variable. If you want to gather even more feedback to bring forward, hold one or more focus groups with employees to probe.

Good luck!
The A Advisor

 

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