What do the United States Marines and Apple have in common?
On the surface, they’re two vastly different organizations. One is centuries old, overseen by the government and engaged in defending our country from hostile nations. The other has been around for a few decades, makes billions of dollars a year and has a direct presence in the majority of Americans’ lives.
Apple and the Marines, however, have two very important things in common: both groups have a strong and clearly defined set of core values, and both have incredible buy-in from their members.
Today, we’re looking at what makes people “buy in” to an organization and how you can harness it to make your business stronger.
The Benefits of Buy-In
According to the Harvard Business Review’s Achievers’ Report, highly engaged employees correlate with higher productivity, lower costs and lower turnover. In other words, a better bottom line for your business.
Employees who are invested in their company are also an advantage to their employers in another key way: they withstand change.
Any seasoned manager can tell you that periods of change are one of the toughest for employees to weather. In fact, experts cite change to management and processes as one of the leading causes of morale decline in business.
When you have highly engaged employees, though, those periods of change aren’t nearly as tumultuous and have fewer unwanted by-products like employee resignations.
In sum, engaged employees are good for business. Next we’ll examine three key ways to get your staff to buy in to your company’s mission.
Push Purpose Over Profit
Let’s go back to that Apple/Marines comparison for a second. People tend to be die-hard fans of both of these organizations, albeit in diverse ways.
For Apple, fans aren’t buying in because they’re excited about the company’s $233 billion in reported annual revenue (although that’s certainly something to get excited about!).
No, they’re buying in because of what Apple represents. It’s a legacy started by Steve Jobs himself and carried on by his successors, like current CEO Tim Cook, who puts it like this: “We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products. We believe in the simple, not the complex.”
A company that designs amazing products that are both beautiful and easy to use. How’s that for something to buy into?
The Marines are no different. Their supporters aren’t amped up by the $40 billion or so our country spends on the organization each year. Instead, they’re ignited by a love of freedom and the other core principles our country was founded on.
Are you seeing a pattern here?
The greatest motivators of buy-in don’t involve money. They’re about the deeper missions your brand is built on.
Yes, this blog is called ‘The Profitable Entrepreneur,’ but we’re willing to bet that when you ventured out to start your company you had something more meaningful in mind than just bringing home a paycheck. Articulate what those values are, then incorporate them into everything you do.
Communicate Clearly and Often
The scariest thing about change is its affiliation with the unknown.
Will I still have a job next month? Am I getting a new supervisor? Are we going to have pay cuts?
All of these are fears that fill employees’ minds during times of uncertainty—and rightfully so. Even if a change is going to take your business in a positive direction, staff is often unwittingly left in the dark and the negative effects are the same.
You can avoid losing employee morale during transitional times by communicating clearly and often.
Will there be times when you can’t fully elaborate on what’s happening at the highest level? Sure. But even acknowledging the fact that changes are in the works and explaining when you’ll be able to provide more information is better than pretending everything is status quo.
Don’t let big news be heard through the grapevine.
When it comes to increasing employee buy-in, perhaps entrepreneur and media mogul Gary Vaynerchuk puts it best: care.
In his candid words, “if you give a crap about each of your employees, you can cultivate the right culture that leads to team continuity and, as a result, a strong company.” He goes on to explain how, even though he’s the CEO of a 600-person company, he makes it a point to meet with each and every single new employee, even if only for a few minutes.
Nothing is more motivating for an employee than knowing they have a boss who legitimately cares about and values them.
Invested employees stick around longer, work harder and ultimately build more value in your business. It’s an investment you can’t afford not to make!
Episode 31 of Gary Vaynerchuk's day-in-the-life series 'Daily Vee' focuses on what it means to run a "human-based" company.