Header - Article - Employee Buy-In
Originally published in PPC Magazine.

Expert advice to motivate your crew

By Art Snarzyk

I am often asked by frustrated managers, “How do I create buy-in from my employees?” The question they don’t know they are truly asking is, “How do my employees want to buy in?” Buy-in isn’t something you “create.” It’s something you allow your employees to embrace.

Learn what motivates your team

Many times in management, we look for creative ways to incentivize employees to reach our goals – higher pay, bonus structures, employee-of-the-month awards, ice cream days, etc. These can be great ideas to get people moving in the right direction, but only if each employee values these things. Seldom are all employees on a team motivated by the same thing.

In order to motivate “the team,” you must motivate the individuals on the team. Each employee is unique and is driven by his or her own desires. If you want them to buy into your goals, you need to show them how reaching your goals will help them reach their goals.

It’s not just about money

Money is the default most people (especially us entrepreneurs) claim is their highest motivation, but I’ve found that for most individuals, money is only a backup motivator when our main goals are not being met.

It is our job as leaders to find the unique motivators for each person on the team and help them reach those. It takes a moment longer and a little patience, but it’s truly a win-win outcome that will serve you for years.

As an example, let me share how I motivated my employees to reach our production goals.

Service-oriented employees

Some of the painters in my company were driven to serve. They were happiest and most productive when they felt like they were helping customers, the company, or me. For them, I showed them how meeting our production goals would allow them to serve more customers.

Ego-driven employees

Some of my painters were driven by ego. That’s not a bad thing. Many people are proud of what they do – and they should be. I made sure to congratulate them, award them and applaud them in front of others when they met our production goals.

Experience-driven employees

Some were driven by life experiences. They wanted to spend more time with their family or on vacation to take in new things. For meeting production goals, these folks were rewarded with their choice of hours, flexible schedules when possible, or me just being easy when they wanted to schedule time off.

Knowledge-driven employees

A couple painters were driven by knowledge or understanding. They wanted to know everything they could about painting – the reasons we use certain products, how sprayers work, the costs behind the business, etc. Meeting our production goals would often have them invited to training, seminars and even the yearly PDCA Expo.

The bottom line

If you want buy-in from your employees, you must understand what they want to buy into. When you know that, you can show them how meeting your goals will meet their own. When you share goals this way, I guarantee they will immediately and passionately embrace yours.


Art Snarzyk, former co-owner of SNL Painting in St. Louis, now owns InnerView Advisors, Inc. He is known as “The Turnover Terminator” for his ability to help companies attract, hire and manage only high-performing, ideal employees. This story was originally published in the Summer 2014 edition of Professional Painting Contractor magazine.