Help! How Do I Increase Buy-In Among FBO Employees?

employee buy in

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the chance to talk with several readers via email regarding issues occurring at the FBO level.  And candidly, there is one topic that seems to be a recurring theme in my conversations. And that is the issue of how to increase buy-in among FBO employees.

For many FBO managers, gaining employee buy-in can be a difficult task. Although it is management’s job to endorse new programs and processes, successful implementation requires participation from the entire team. This is usually where things start to fall apart. After all, coping with change at an FBO can be tough. So tough in fact, that many employees go to great lengths to resist these changes. Unfortunately, upon seeing employee resistance, some FBO managers decide that it is easier to “listen to their people” rather than continue with the changes.

Although this decision usually helps keep the peace in the short term, the long term effects do not bode well for FBO leadership. This is largely due to the following:

The moment employees realize that there are no consequences for resisting change, they stop taking management seriously. One of the worst mistakes an FBO manager can make is giving their staff the impression that job duties are optional.

Contrary to what most believe, achieving buy-in from employees has very little to do with getting them to “like” or “want” change. Instead, buy-in starts from the top and employees take their cues from management. When employees see that their management team is hesitant, disengaged or uniformed about a new process, they will respond similarly. But when they see that upper management is united and enthusiastic about a new program, they are much more willing to buy-in.

Now, let’s talk for a moment about enthusiasm. When people hear the word enthusiasm, they tend to think that it refers to simply having a positive outlook or making positive statements. But enthusiasm can actually be expressed through concrete actions. Here are three things that communicate enthusiasm to your FBO employees:

Consistent Messaging: Consistency is essential to the implementation of any new program. When employees see that their entire upper management team is committed to a particular vision or direction, they are much more likely to buy in.

Transparent Ownership: When implementing a new program, make sure every employee has a specific role that is communicated to the rest of the group. This allows them to take ownership of their new tasks without feeling overwhelmed. Don’t forget to include a role(s) for the management team.

Follow-Through: During the initial phases of a new program, follow-through is what turns “new” into “normal.” Check-in regularly with employees to assess progress and answer additional questions.

How do you increase buy-in among your FBO employees? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

  • Megan Barnes

    I’ve been in the position of leading change in the workplace in areas of minimal change (ex. no more sticky notes at the front counter, no more chewing gum, no more eating at the front desk, when ANY person walks up to the front desk-you must stand up and greet with a smile, etc.) as well as in areas where everything from uniform to how you answer the phone to systems and many job duties, etc., all had to change. I would classify that as severe change.

    In every case, the three points above are true. I would also add that it is imperative to be honest with your team about the change.

    If you are implementing something like “no more sticky notes”. Which seems like a simple thing, but in reality for some was not. Than say, “I know that this will feel like an inconvenience at first, BUT I promise it will be okay.” Then give them your plan. “In lieu of a sticky note, I want to give you all your own spiral notebook that you can use to jot things down. Then you can transfer the information from your notebook into the system so that everyone can be aware. This will help us eliminate lost notes leading to failed service.” In this example, you would also remove any sticky notes around so that you can help break the habit as quickly as possible.

    For things like changing systems. Do NOT say things like “this will be so easy, you will love it. I promise, there won’t be any issues.” If you’ve ever transitioned to a new system – there are ALWAYS issues. It is better to be honest and say “I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be hard. BUT it will get better and I promise that I will be here (or somebody will be) with you to make this change as painless as possible.”

    When people resist – perhaps mentioning something like “I promise I will let you know when changes like these are optional” can help. A nice way of saying, I’m not asking for your permission – this is not a choice. If resistance is still occurring, perhaps that person is not a good fit for the organization or the position. Negativity is viral – it will spread throughout the team.