“I’m lucky to work with people who value HR’s input and have a strong focus on culture but even with that backing, you still have to support your ideas through tried and tested research,” says Tania Oppedisano, from design and architecture firm DIALOG.
Oppedisano recently overhauled the company’s performance review system, abandoning a five-point rating system in favour of conversation-based coaching. She says that, although the 50-year-old firm is open to new ideas, it took some serious perseverance to push the change through.
“There were a lot, a lot, of meetings,” she laughs. “Once, I literally had the same presentation three times in a row but you just have to keep on driving it home.”
While there were moments of repetition, Oppedisano says it was also important to accommodate different audiences and deliver tailored messages to suit each office.
“We have locations in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto and we have partners in every studio who are all very different people so we had to communicate the message specific to them,” she says.
“It’s also important to recognise that each individual office has its own culture and own way of communicating so you need to understand what they are and how they use them.”
However, Oppedisano says solid facts and thorough research are the most effective ways of securing senior buy-in right across the board.
“Supporting your ideas through research will really help get buy-in,” she says. “We need to be focussed on research, and not just general articles that come up, but really diving deep into different research from different studies that you can use as examples.”
Demonstrating to leaders that you’ll be able to measure the impact of any organisational change will also play a huge part in securing buy-in, says Oppedisano.
“Being able to show how you’re going to measure things effectively and in an accurate way, that’s going to be the biggest win because, as HR professionals, we really need to start measuring programs and showing their worth in a tangible way.”
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Securing senior buy-in can be the hardest part of implementing organisational change but it’s certainly not impossible – here, one national HR director explains the best way to get everyone on board.