Why does leadership buy-in matter for Employee Experience strategies?
Strong Employee Experience (EX) programs require buy-in at every level to succeed. But a meaningful commitment from leadership is especially crucial.
Leaders set the tone for organizational culture. They need to show a willingness to listen to what employees have to say and a willingness to make changes based on feedback. If employees perceive that leaders won’t listen or make changes as a result of feedback, they will not be likely to offer feedback.
Change starts at the top. While individual contributors and mid-level managers can meaningfully move the needle for their teams as a result of feedback, organizational leaders are the ones who can adjust policies, processes, and strategies that aren’t working. If they are not committed to listening to feedback, they won’t do so.
Employee Experience requires resources. Whether it’s budget for employee listening programs, headcount to analyze and manage initiatives, or policy and process changes, leaders need to devote resources to support employee experience. They won’t do so if they aren’t bought in.
How to gain strong leadership support for EX
Start with your organizational goals. What strategic imperatives does a strong employee experience strategy support? Identify one to three ways an EX program can ladder up to those goals. There’s no shortage of research to support EX’s relationship with everything from organizational culture to customer satisfaction to monetary outcomes so identify the specific things that matter to your leadership team and prepare to explain how EX ties in.
Know your ask. Do you need budget to launch an EX strategy? Perhaps you need support to breathe life into an existing one. Maybe you are looking to digitize a paper-based listening program. Make it clear to your leaders what you are trying to achieve and how – specifically — they can help.
For example, imagine that employees aren’t sharing feedback through well established channels. Perhaps you need your leadership team to support you with more visibility. Depending on the culture of the organization, you might ask leaders to star in a funny video to campaign for more feedback. Or maybe you need their communications team to help you build a plan to more formally roll out the listening program.
Report back. Regularly share wins from your program, along with areas for improvement. Ideally, you can calculate some hard ROI numbers, but don’t forget the power of stories. Gather quotes from employees who have positive things to say about a shifting culture or exciting listening program. Don’t feel shy about sharing the reasons you believe your program deserves more time, attention, or budget.
Remember: at the end of the day, leaders are organizational employees too. An impactful EX strategy requires leadership buy-in, but benefits employees across the board.