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How HR Attained Company Buy-in for Its Internship Program

September 1, 1993
Related Topics: Behavioral Training, Career Development, Employee Career Development, Featured Article
When an HR department introduces a new program, company buy-in is vital to the program's success. If the entire organization is prepared for change and is informed of progress along the way, the company will continue to perform productively during—and after—the program's implementation.

When the Los Angeles Times developed its Summer Jobs Training Program (now named Youth Jobs Training Program), Jeanne Hartley, manager of training and development at the Times, says that company buy-in was a priority. The program, which brought in 50 inner-city youths for summer employment and training at the newspaper, was new to the Times. Hartley says that the company needed to believe in the idea for it to be a success. "You can't bring an idea into an organization without readying the organization for acceptance," Hartley says. She says that the entire work force needs to believe in the program. "If they start to reject the program or if you get apathy, you're out of business," she adds.

To achieve the required level of collaboration for the internship program from employees and top management at the Times, the newspaper developed—and followed—specific rules. Hartley says that whenever developing a new program for an existing organization, an HR department can use these rules to help attain company buy-in. The Times' rules for collaboration are:

  1. Ensure that everyone involved in the effort is committed to the program's purpose and is working toward a common goal.
  2. Develop a sense of team spirit among those involved, and see that it prevails throughout the program's development and implementation.
  3. Provide constant, regular communication for everyone involved.
  4. Reinforce the idea that nothing really is a mistake, but instead it's a learning experience.
  5. Ensure that no one places blame on others for problems. Instead, emphasize solving the problems.
  6. Watch for stress symptoms and talk openly about feelings and concerns.

Personnel Journal, September 1993, Vol. 72, No.9, p. 128.

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