Gain employee buy-in for your change initiatives

…communication is key to effective change management within an organization.

In their definitive change management book Switch, Chip Heath and Dan Heath make the argument that in order to gain employee buy-in for change initiatives, your employees need to understand the complexities. They need clarity on what will change and what the future will be like after the change. They also need motivation to change, usually created by an emotional connection to the outcome.

If you’ve ever attempted a personal change, this will probably ring true for you. Any diet or financial planning scheme will encourage you to envision how you will look or feel once you’ve mastered the plan. You’re encouraged to make an emotional connection with success, while also being presented with the details about what the future will look like. People who are able to successfully make changes in their personal lives often talk about their “why.” Instead of relying on self-control (which studies have shown is an exhaustible resource) or following some arbitrary rules, they’re motivated by a deep emotional tie to their goal.


Gain employee buy-in for change

In an organization, the same things are needed for change—and they can be difficult to create. That’s why communication is key to effective change management within an organization. Without clear and compelling communication, you’ll never get your team to understand even the basic facts of the change. Let alone motivate them to actually make the change.

Organizational change still relies on individual behavior change. And just like a dieter, individuals who are relying on an exhaustible self-control will fail. Instead, you have to tap deep into people’s emotional drive.

For teams that are embarking on a long-term change, a communication framework is critical to sustaining employee engagement and buy-in. Although this may sound complicated, it’s really just a plan for getting the critical messages to your employees, at the right time, and in the right order.


To gain employee buy-in for change, you have to do four things:

  • Share a tangible vision
  • Inspire them
  • Show them their part
  • Show them the benefits

Master these secrets to achieving change, with our illustrated white paper: Four steps for getting employees to buy-in for change.