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Employee Engagement

5 Steps to Getting Executive Buy-In for Employee Engagement Surveys

November 30, 2020
12 min read
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If you’re experiencing low employee participation rates in homegrown surveys and seeing engagement continue to remain stagnant, you may be ready to look into implementing employee engagement surveys in your organization. After all, just 15% of employees around the world are actually engaged in their work. And despite this shocking stat, only 25% of employers have an active engagement strategy for their organization.

The time is now to go all-in on employee engagement. Research shows employees who are given a voice are more engaged. Employees are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best job if given assurances that their opinion matters.

Bottom line? You need a tool that works with your HR processes and platforms to elicit your employees’ opinions so that you can build a better workforce. One that keeps employees engaged, learning, and growing. There’s just one last step. You’ll need buy-in from your C-Suite to make it happen.

Check out these 5 foolproof ways to get executive buy-in for #EngagementSurveys from @ClearCompany:

Get Executive Buy-in for Employee Survey Software

The introduction of new technology is always about more than just implementing a new tool. When it comes to employee engagement, you’re looking at an impactful integration. In some cases, mindsets will be adjusting alongside learning new processes.

Luckily, the benefits of a more engaged and collaborative organization are generally recognized, and more companies are adopting surveys than ever. High-level employee engagement has been shown to make organizations 21% more profitable. No wonder many companies are eager to find new ways to engage their workforce on a regular basis.

Though your leaders might know it’s time for a program overhaul, actually getting them on board for the implementation might take a little coaxing. This guide will be the resource you need in your journey to gaining executive buy-in for employee engagement survey solutions. To make the best case, you will need to begin with the rewards of change.

Earning the executive team’s ear can seem nearly impossible, especially when the company seems to be doing more budget trimming than spending lately. However, with the right approach, you can make a successful pitch to get approval for employee survey software. Here’s how:

Step 1: Evaluate external departments to identify organizational challenges.

You may already be aware that employee surveys and engagement programs increase employee feedback, improve morale, and strengthen coworker relations, but do you know how employee engagement surveys can specifically benefit your organization?

Only 55% of companies surveyed said that they regularly diagnose their employee engagement data.

While that’s a scary statistic, your execs need to visualize how you will use the data to make a real difference in employee engagement, productivity and how the results will inform your work in other talent acquisition and management areas. 39% of organizations know what’s driving engagement among their employees. Is your organization part of that number? Here are a few examples:

To Do:

  • Probe upper management closest to executives to find out what they see as your organizational engagement challenges. Even if this information isn’t readily available, it doesn’t mean it’s non-existent. If needed, look to information in exit and performance reviews to gain insight.
  • Find a champion who can tell a great story. For the next step, be on the lookout for a specific person who is passionate about identifying or solving these challenges. You’ll need to recruit them later to be your “exec buy-in coach.”

Organizational Challenge:

Our turnover rate in the sales department has plummeted throughout the year. We’re losing people faster than we can replace them and the new product comes out in three months.

The outcome with Employee Surveys Software:

Dig deeper to determine why sales talent is leaving at such an astronomical rate and why it’s gotten far worse this year. Create a solution to run by sales leadership.

Potential Intangible Benefits:

It helps identify and bolster sales talent, feeling neglected and discouraged by a tough economic year and disengaged due to their total change in workload.

Potential Tangible Benefits:

Executives better understand how to motivate and reward employees and see higher retention numbers. The sales department feels appreciated and heard. Happier salespeople create happier customers and provide better service, thus impacting the bottom line.

Step 2: Find your coach and internal ambassadors

Your coach does not exist. You have to find him or her and develop them into one. This dates back to the buying influences in every organization. These people will be your key decision-makers when it comes to the decision of purchasing the software.

The four main buying influences, according to renowned sales team instructor Miller Heiman, are:

To Do:

Look for a coach who has credibility and is respected in the organization. Ensure they are a confident and knowledgeable leader in their department and are passionate about solving the challenges of employee engagement.

  • Economic Buying Influence
  • User Buying Influence
  • Technical Buying Influence
  • Coach

Here are some of the reasons to implement an employee engagement survey tool to share with your coach (and the rest of the buying influencers on that list):

  • Ability to stay on top of dynamic employee engagement.
  • Ensures your employees’ voices are heard consistently
  • Creates a real-time feedback loop for employees and management alike
  • Makes the business case for employee engagement and feedback.
  • Drill down into feedback to make actionable choices for your workforce

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Step 3: Gather evidence to make the business case

  • After identifying the challenges within your organization and how employee survey software works to improve them, you’ll need to transform facets of this decision into data points. For starters, you’ll want to go back to those problematic components of the organization and conduct feedback surveys to pull data to be used in your pitch.
  • Providing specific examples with data points solely related to the departments, teams, and individual workforce will grab their attention. It will show you’ve done your research, have a pulse on the needs of the organization, and are able to propose realistic solutions to solve organizational challenges.
  • Tracking and responding to employee feedback in real time improves business results and workplace culture. It’s that simple. Your internal pain points are likely to be different from other companies. Still, there are some common reasons for ensuring your employee engagement survey tool is integrated into your HR system:

Step 4: Come prepared for the pitch with proposed vendors

Avoid bombarding your execs with too much information. When researching vendors, make sure to determine if the vendors in question have:

  • The ability for managers to match employee sentiments to performance data.
  • Insightful reports and drill-down analytics capabilities to quickly filter results and easily track trends and spot issues.
  • Pre-built templates for onboarding, new hire, exit surveys, emotional well-being surveys, as well as customization options.
  • Training and guidance to ensure insightful and actionable survey results.
  • Real-time analytics and reporting
  • The ability to be mobile-friendly, so your employees can respond from anywhere, and the ability to select various anonymity settings.
  • A simple and intuitive integration with your current HR Tech Stack.

Make Your Case for the Right Vendor

Once you have done your due diligence, narrow your options to the top 2 or 3. It’s fine to have a clear recommendation but encourage your executive team to help with the selection. It will also help you lower the amount of time and energy needed for building your case.

Tip: The right employee survey tool may be available from a vendor you already know and trust. Focus on known entities before expanding your RFI to the broader market.

Building the report or presentation that will resonate with executives will require a bit more in-depth research on your final contenders. Consider the following to help sway executives toward your top choice/s:

To Do:

Explain how the software will integrate with other systems and processes already in place. Demonstrate how the software improves other systems and processes already in place. Provide testimonial support from your coach/coaches. For example:

  • How have employee surveys benefited other companies similar to yours
  • Why now is the time to implement a solution like this
  • Current trends and insights about the workforce in general and your industry and company specifically

ROI: How much time, money, and other resources will be saved by implementing an employee engagement survey tool?

Potential Concerns: Executives will appreciate knowing you considered the obstacles and challenges they might face implementing employee engagement surveys. Consider the information could be overwhelming, or there may not necessarily be resources available to make suggested changes. This will help when you’ve made your choice and are conveying the purpose of the new tool to your workforce.

Executive Benefits: There will be rewards for the executive team, so mention them. Yes, the solution will benefit your work directly, but employee engagement initiatives should come from the top down. Explain that and how your choices will help ease their efforts.

Plan for Implementation: Executives sometimes worry about how implementation will affect productivity, so simplify the process by having a plan in place right away. Your potential vendors should be able to help by providing onboarding, training, resources, and estimations of how long it will take to begin seeing ROI. Remember to take note of how internal resources can help move the process too.

Reports: Explain how you will report progress, improvements, challenges, and successes to the executive team. This will show accountability and a desire to make the most out of any employee engagement process. Set schedule checkpoints that these reports will be provided and bolster those deadlines with how you plan to use the system to meet them. Simplified reporting options might help make a case for one vendor over another, too.

@ClearCompany helps you persuade executive leadership to buy-in to #employee #engagement surveys with these 5 quick steps:

Step 5: How to overcome objections from execs

Anytime you want to sell something internally, you’ll need to show up with numbers. You know the problems you’re solving for. You know why now is the time to implement employee engagement surveys. Now you need to show your team what happens if you don’t decide to implement surveys in your organization. We’ve compiled a list of common objections and stats to help counter those objections.

Q: We’re struggling with a lot more crucial worries than employee engagement right now. Why should we devote time and budget to this?

A: One of our current struggles is attracting and retaining our top performers. Keeping them engaged remains one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal of talent management as highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their place of work compared to disengaged employees.

Q: Productivity is at an all-time low. If we can’t get our employees to perform better and faster, we can’t afford to spend time engaging them, right?

A: Actually, 69% of employees say they would work harder if their bosses better appreciated their efforts. Something that would have an impact on productivity, especially for roughly 7 out of 10 of our workers, is definitely something we should put in place to fix our productivity woes.

Q: Our people are stressed out and frustrated as it is. Why should we ask them for one more response or give them one more task?

A: Because even though 34% of execs say that employee performance and productivity keep them up at night and 30% of executives surveyed said that getting the most out of their people is their biggest challenge, just 17% are investing in employee engagement at all. And we know employees are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best job if they are given assurances that their opinion matters.

Q: Sure, employee engagement is important, but why do we need to use surveys to give our people a voice? How can this possibly impact the bottom line?

A: I’m so glad you asked that. Numerous studies have shown just how critical engagement is to the success of a company. But what we also know is it’s hard to know what employees want and need unless we have tools and processes in place to ask them, respond to them, and get continuous feedback implemented in the organization. For example, did you know organizations that rank in the top 20% for the highest employee engagement experience a 59% reduction in their turnover rate? Additionally, high-level employee engagement has been shown to make organizations 21% more profitable. We may also see significant savings when it comes to engaging our employees since disengaged employees cost their organizations $483-$605 billion per year. Furthermore, our customers may also benefit from our employee engagement survey initiative. Organizations with high employee engagement have 89% greater customer care satisfaction!

Sell an Experience, Not a Product

The biggest mistake you could make when selling your company on employee surveys is to sell it as a product, something you want to buy because it’s new and innovative. There are significant and compelling reasons to implement an employee engagement plan that includes a survey at its core, and use them.

Get the Numbers on Your Side

You’ll, of course, want to be prepared to sell your execs on employee engagement surveys, and bringing in a few statistics will give you a significant advantage. It’s hard to argue against the numbers when they show that employee engagement is flourishing. Sell them an experience with the benefits, then tell them a story with numbers.

Nail the Timing

Timing is everything. Only you know exactly how your business runs, so find the time of year and day execs are most likely to accept your pitch. If your company’s had it rough, wait for another time when the budget hasn’t already been spent.

Overcome Objections

Anticipate all possible objections and come prepared with a vendor who can help bolster confidence when you counter them.

Schedule a demo of our award-winning platform, built for HR professionals managing a modern workforce. Take a tour of ClearCompany’s Employee Engagement Surveys along with our other Talent Management solutions.

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