Many internal business initiatives fall flat due to poor communication. Communication for new internal business initiatives such as get healthy challenges due to rising employer healthcare costs can be tricky. Similar initiatives such as schedule changes and changes to routine procedures (e.g. expense reports and paid time off requests) can also present similar communication challenges to employers. Instead of telling employees that something has to change essentially “because I said so,” show employees how the changes will both benefit the company at large and employees on an individual basis. Use business analytics to create presentations that display big data in a way that is easy to understand. Instead of rattling off statistics, create a short presentation with lunch provided that includes the following listed below:
Have a graphic representation of current business trends in big data. Clearly show the presenting problem without appearing intimidating.
Use predictive analytics to demonstrate what would happen if no change were to happen with another clear graphic representation.
Provide solutions for employees on an individual level. For example, gain buy-in for a health-related initiative by offering a monetary incentive. Or, provide alternative solutions when changing day-to-day procedures (e.g. schedules, new email platform, new intranet site, use of a company car, filing expense reports, etc.) for a limited period of time. Give employees a chance to adapt without panicking.
Employees often will reject a new concept due to a fundamental lack of effective communication. One common example of a breakdown in communication that results in a breakdown of employee satisfaction occurs after a smaller company is acquired by a large enterprise.
A Case Study in Employee Buy-In During Acquisitions in the Engineering Industry
The engineering industry has seen dramatic change within the past few decades. In the 1980s, global engineering firms did not exist for all practical purposes. Typically, firms were comprised of small businesses with a maximum of several dozen employees (the largest engineering firm in the city of Los Angeles had a single office with approximately 100 employees in 1982). Today, the largest engineering firm is global. Their offices span across six continents, and they boast over 40,000 employees. This firm grew to be the largest engineering firm on the planet in under a decade via the rapid acquisition of many different small and medium-sized firms and a speedy rebranding process. By in large, the employees that worked for the smaller firms had a number of additional benefits and opportunities after the acquisition. Some individual benefits of the acquisition included the following listed below:
Better benefits due to the leverage of a large corporation
More opportunities to compete with other firms for work
More opportunities to work semi-remotely on different projects in different locations which often equates to superior job stability
However, many employees did not understand the benefits of the acquisition and opted to quit. They held on to an idealized version of what firms were like a few decades ago. They could only focus on lost value such as the inability to know the CEO of the firm on a personal level. The right business intelligence (BI) software could have clearly presented the individualized benefits of working for a global firm in a clear and easy to understand way.
The Value of Continuity of Communication and Big Data
It is natural for people to get anxious about change or otherwise not like it. Instead of causing a certain degree of panic coupled with confusion, show employees the rationale behind change to gain buy-in for internal business initiatives. Almost no one wants to pay more for benefits or receive less paid time off. Arguably, most people would prefer gainful employment with fewer perks than working for a business that is predicted to fail in the immediate future. It is important to find creative ways to present extra opportunities and unique value propositions to offset ill feelings and promote a positive company culture. Gain buy-in for internal initiatives by presenting current big data and future projections in a way that employees can easily understand.