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  • Writer's pictureSandra Velthuis

Social Value Q&A: Getting Staff Buy-in

We previously asked if you had any burning social value questions that we might be able to answer. So far, we have published responses to questions about balancing different benefits and valuing volunteering. Here is another Q&A about a very important issue.

Question: How can I get staff buy-in for all of this?

Answer: If you work in an organisation that has more than a handful of paid staff, it is quite possible that some of the developmental work in this arena has taken place without the initial input of all of them. One or more senior managers may have begun work on impact management and spent time persuading the board about its importance. It is of course vital that the board is 'on board' with social impact and social value. Indeed, we ran a workshop on this very issue some time ago. But it is also crucial that all other staff are on board, because ultimately, they are the ones who are directly responsible on a daily basis for ensuring the organisation's work is impactful.

Staff need to understand why social value matters AND need to recognise that they have a role to play in optimising the organisation's social value. This will not happen without meaningful two-way conversations, which educate, allow staff to ask questions and express any concerns they might have. Such discussions might be held on a one-to-one basis, or more likely, in groups. They may involve reframing what the organisation does from a level of activity basis to an outcomes basis. Staff will instinctively know that results are ultimately more important than busy-ness, but may need some help in understanding how outcomes can be effectively tracked and why securing high quality data (for instance, solid pre- and post-intervention metrics) is important.

There may be some initial resistance to changed ways of working. It is helpful if 'champions' can be appointed who 'get it' and who are excited about the organisation getting better at what it does. These individuals might be given responsibility for collecting the required data and assuring its quality. For those who are somewhat more lukewarm, they may be persuaded if they are asked what they would like to know about service users, service improvements, etc. If regular check-ins take place at which the gathered data are reviewed collectively and these are integrated into staff work schedules, a shared understanding of impactful work can be built amongst the staff team.

Finally, choosing not to engage whatsoever with impact management should not be permissible for any staff member.

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