Leverage Help and Heart to Build Buy-in for Change

Novice drivers want to place one foot on the accelerator while keeping one on the brake. The car doesn’t move very well. It takes trust to lift the left foot and get things moving.

When we roll out change we want everyone pushing in the same direction: forward! People can only do that when they have clarity about the change. Clarity is not just what the change is about, but what it means for them.

If you talk with any expert on change, they will explain why it’s important to frame your change in terms of benefits for employees, usually characterized as WIIFM: “What’s in it for me?” Traditional approaches to change expound benefits in terms of self-interest which encompasses improvements in salary, job stability, development opportunities, and the appeal of job tasks.

The world has changed. Self-interest is the weakest approach to get deep buy-in.

Consider a 2019 survey by ServiceNow which revealed that 47% percent of millennials would give up a pay raise in order to have more purpose and more meaning in their work. Almost half! And we can quantify how strong that desire is. Respondents were willing to give up a raise of over $9000 to boost the impact of their work.

Employees are willing to forgo HELP in the form of cash – the definitive example of self-interest – to conduct work with more HEART, more meaning.

They are looking beyond self to how their work benefits others, whether customers or community. It’s the same reason why employees at Google, Microsoft, and Wayfair have recently walked out – certainly a potential threat to job stability – to protest how their companies impact the world. It’s the same reason why 10,000 people begin a crowdfunding campaign EVERY DAY!

People get behind causes that connect with the HEART.

I was recently working with a company that delivered addiction counselling services. I reminded their finance department that they are in the business of saving lives. Whether processing invoices or adjusting payroll, every single task connects to and enables the front line of care which changes lives in dramatic ways.

When you are rolling out a change, consider how it can provide meaning and purpose. Make it missional!