How to get your employees to buy-in

In Recognition and Engagement by Lori McKnight

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How to get employees to “buy-in” to your core values

As an HR professional, a big part of your role is promoting your organization’s values. Sounds easy, right? As you well know communicating values that A) employees understand, B) they “buy-into” and C) they live by is anything but easy!

Companies known for having values employees believe and live by every working day such as Southwest Airlines, Zappos, Dropbox, Shopify amongst others are widely recognized as amazing places to work.

Here are three common things these companies do that make them successful at creating employee buy-in:

1. Stay true to your values

Whether you work with a big company or a small family business the key is to have simple and consistent values that connect with employees and show you care. Success is a two-way street. When your employees are doing well, your company will too.

Associated Grocers (AG) of Florida, a CSI STARS client, is a great example of this. AG has stood by the same four core values in their CARE program since the company’s inception in 1945. AG employees know what is important to the company and these expectations have been reinforced repeatedly every day for over 50 years.

Customer focus. Accountable actions. Results-driven activities. Excellence in all we do.

AG invests in recognition programs that have made “saying thanks” and rewarding “excellence” a key part of their employee value proposition and something employees appreciate and buy into. Read the full story.

2. Be relevant

The only constant in life is change…and taxes. Or so the saying goes. While your core values remain constant, the way you reinforce and recognize employees who demonstrate your core values evolves over time.

Workforce demographics have changed with millennial employees now comprising more than half of most workplaces. This generation:

  • Grew up with technology at their fingertips. They need to communicate and connect instantly with people;
  • Are more “open” than generations before them. They share videos, pictures, posts and comments without the same privacy hang ups their parents have;
  • They expect frequent and immediate recognition and want to be recognized for their contributions publicly.

CSI STARS social recognition tools help companies reinforce the actions that support their core values by broadcasting praise from customers, peers and managers across the company. This visible recognition not only makes recipients feel great, it provides solid examples others can learn from and aspire to themselves.

Recognition Dashboard

3. Make recognizing employees a Big Deal

Southwest Airlines does this really well! Southwest makes giving and receiving recognition a very big deal and employees LUV it (having a Fun-LUVing Attitude is a core value). Southwest employees submit a non-monetary Kick Tail when they catch someone doing something that reflects a core value.

What is a Kick Tail? It’s a paper or electronic note of recognition submitted by employees (or customers). Each Kick Tail is entered into a database for monthly and yearly Kick Tail drawings—including cash prizes.

Each month over 80,000 Kick Tails are submitted! Yes 80,000! 150 Kick Tails are drawn monthly from the pool. Recipients are publicly recognized and receive points that can the redeemed for items. Each year, 10 Kick Tails are selected and recipients receive $5000. What makes this program extra special is how Southwest announces the winners. Senior management (watch this video!!) hand deliver certificates and award recipients a cheque in front of their peers and passengers. Who doesn’t want to work and fly with Southwest after watching that video?

While Southwest Air’s culture is exceptional, the formula is straightforward – keep your values consistent and simple, show you care in a way that’s authentic to your employees, and recognize when employees are doing things right. It’s a little like parenting a really big family!

CSI STARS helps companies cultivate a workforce that loves coming to worktm. Let’s get started!! Contact us for a quick chat or demo.

Author: Lori McKnight

Lori McKnight
Lori is VP Marketing for CSI International. Prior to CSI she worked at Mercer Human Resource Consulting and Youthography, a youth market research agency. Connect with Lori on LinkedIN to talk about how to motivate and bring out the best in your team.
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