Persuasion is a powerful skill in the world of business, but is especially important for those of us dealing with HR or office policy.
And when you’re serving as the middle-person between employees and management, understanding how to sway coworkers toward your line of thinking is a must-have for your skillset.
After all, introducing a new policy or regulatory measure can be a huge headache if you can’t get the rest of your coworkers on board.
Reality check: people are naturally resistant to change. In order to convince your coworkers to get unstuck in their ways, you need to approach them with the right mentality and details to warm them up to your policy or idea.
We’ve broken down four smart ways for you to do exactly that below. Sticking to these principles can effectively take even the most complex or tedious policies into something tangible that your coworkers can get on board with.
Keep it Simple
Arguably the most important aspect of introducing a new policy or rule is simplifying it. The more overwhelming or confusing a measure is, the more likely you are to have people tune out or resist it.
For example, topics such as the fine details of business compliance and regulation are essential for employees to understand but aren’t always accessible. Coming up with “kitchen table” explanations of your policies can work wonders for breaking down mental barriers. When in doubt, tell people primarily what they need to hear versus getting into the weeds.
Let Your Coworkers Ask Questions
Don’t make the mistake of taking a “my way or the highway” approach to relaying a new policy. Welcome questions and concerns from your coworkers: doing so not only helps cultivate empathy in the office but also result in a smoother adoption of your policy.
Let’s say your office rolls out a new reporting policy and your coworkers are worried that it’s going to add too much to their respective workloads. Note their concerns and make a point to let them know you’re listening. When your coworkers feel like you’re on their “side,” they’ll be more likely to adopt your policy.
Likewise, you should plan to follow up with management about your coworkers’ questions. Even if you get a “no” in return, it’s your unspoken responsibility to stick up on behalf of your team.
Foster a Team Mentality
On a related note, developing a team mentality can work wonders toward the widespread acceptance of change in the office. Your coworkers should feel as if you’re working with them rather than talking at them. The more time you spend with your team on a regular basis, the less you seem like an outsider when you introduce something new to them.
Frame Your Benefits First and Foremost
Rather than emphasize change or how much a policy might turn your office upside down, frame any new measures as benefits.
For example, talk up how a new measure will increase productivity and save your team time in the long-run versus require them to do more paperwork or reporting.
Focusing on the big-picture benefits is all about framing. Your coworkers don’t want to hear about the legwork involved, but rather what’s in it for them. Present changes with a smiling face rather than gloom or doom: you may be surprised at how much better people respond when you do.
Convincing your coworkers of just about anything might seem like an uphill battle, but it’s certainly not impossible. By adhering to the pointers on this list, you’re more likely to win over your coworkers without tension and work toward a more united office as a result.