Are you brimming with ideas for how to improve your workplace? Do you daydream about new systems to integrate, ways to arrange furniture, and uses for existing spaces?
Whether it's as small as wanting a fresh selection of snacks in the breakroom or as large as convincing the C-suite to adopt a hybrid work model, no change will happen without senior management support.
But how do you get senior leadership buy-in?
What is buy-in in an organization?
Buy-in in an organization is when the executive team and important stakeholders support your proposed vision. You present your case, convince them of the return on investment, and they in turn give you the green light.
Unfortunately, in the real world, with only a few minutes to capture your senior management’s attention, getting leadership buy-in is often easier said than done.
In all areas of life, we struggle to persuade others effectively. (Ask any wife frustrated with her husband's habit of leaving beard hair trimmings all over the bathroom sink.) We constantly hit roadblocks in our communication strategies. But thankfully, today, we're talking about workplace utilization, not marital conflict. And there are some tried and true tips for pitching your ideas to the c-suite.
4 Steps to get leadership buy-in
1. Connect your proposal to the company’s overarching business goals
Executives have distinct goals, and every decision they implement must move the company toward them. Of course, each organization will have a different mission statement. But, all leaders, no matter the industry, are concerned about company growth, revenue, and employee retention. Connect your plans to these three business goals to attract stakeholders’ attention.
If you propose they create more collaborative workspaces, show executives how those spaces will affect the bottom line. (Pro tip, they do.) If you present a hybrid work model, explain how a more flexible work environment will help employee engagement. (Again, it does.)
In each presentation, show you have heard and considered the executive's goals by connecting your ideas to the company's overall mission.
2. Find a leader for your initiative
Sometimes it can be helpful to persuade one manager or executive first and have them on your team when you pitch to the rest. It's the principle of the first follower—the first person to follow is the hardest to persuade. But once you have one person on your team, support will snowball.
3. Make your case
Simplify the issue down to a particular problem and a solution. Problem: Conference rooms are double booked, and cubicles remain underutilized. Solution: we need to reconfigure the spaces. Problem: the marketing team comes in on different days and times, making group collaboration challenging. Solution: invest in scheduling technology.
Tell the story. Paint the picture. And always, always utilize case studies and appropriate metrics to communicate how this will work in the real world.
4. Listen and Negotiate
An idea is hardly foolproof. Executives understand more of the big picture and will have different perspectives to bring to your proposition. Come into the conversation with an open mind and a humble attitude. Even baby steps toward your proposed solution are a win.
Workplace solutions to pitch to senior leadership
It is often much easier to notice the issues with our workplace environment. But it can take time to pinpoint solutions that will be effective and helpful.
Here are a few solutions we are seeing many companies roll out to great success.
Use technology to audit current office space layout and utilization
This is immensely helpful in all steps of the process. Technology, such as occupancy sensors, gives you real-time data on how well spaces function. And then, with occupancy intelligence, team leaders can accurately assess the data, see the pain points, and start to propose solutions. Even more, you can then use this detailed and targeted data to pitch your ideas to executives.
Create different types of workspaces
Companies across all industries are exploring different types of workspaces. Overall, collaborative spaces in the office have become more popular (noticed with the help of occupancy sensors). What worked in the office before the pandemic no longer works now.
Companies must now assess the type of workspaces they offer employees. A variety of spaces that employees can use for different purposes is no longer a hip trend--it is a necessity in today's changing office landscape.
Switch to a hybrid work model
We could not recommend officially rolling out a hybrid model enough. Employees across the board want flexible work. They want to be able to come into the office to collaborate and connect with their teams. But they also want to choose when and where they work. A hybrid work model sets up your employees to be more productive, more satisfied, and as a result, more loyal.
Benefits of workplace optimization
That all sounds great, right? But how do you pitch those ideas to executives? Here are some tips for how to connect the above solutions to overall company goals.
Reduced real estate costs over time
One of the biggest concerns of executives is, of course, profits. How can they cut costs and increase revenue? And this is precisely what occupancy sensors help you do.
Each piece of property is effective and right-sized.
Each light is turned on only when needed.
Each square foot is optimized.
More engaged employees
Executives want to know that their employees are fully engaged and productive—not as robots, but as valuable team members. And creating a healthy space for them to do so directly affects their performance and loyalty to the company.
A more inclusive workplace
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a hot topic right now--and for a good reason. It is crucial for companies to invest in making their spaces more welcoming and inclusive. And the best way to do that is to tune into employee needs and wants and address them genuinely.
Validating new workplace decisions
It goes without saying that C-Suite leadership is more likely to support a new workplace investment if it has been tried and tested successfully. Enter workplace experiments.
In times of uncertainty, utilizing experiments is a great way to move strategies forward while keeping risk low. This is especially helpful in a period of low workplace utilization, when many businesses need to produce a business case for what will have an impact prior to a full-scale rollout.
Examples of benefits include:
User feedback on prototype can drive design of next phase