Industrial safety, PROCLAUD® • 13 min read

6 keys to getting stakeholder buy-in for your protective clothing tender

Ludovic Mirande February 2, 2021

Imagine this: the end of your protective clothing tender process is finally in sight, when suddenly the timeline stalls. Your stakeholders all have different opinions about what’s important, and you’re left wondering, “How can I get better buy-in for our new protective clothing?” Here are 6 practical ways to engage your stakeholders in a smooth decision-making process and get more buy-in from the very start.

1. Identify your stakeholders

Selecting new protective clothing isn’t something you can do by yourself—it’s a collaborative effort. That’s why it’s crucial to identify all the key players who need to be involved and invite them to collaborate early on. From your own Health & Safety department, to the Purchasing and Management teams, to the employees on the workfloor who’ll ultimately be wearing the new garments. Depending on where you’re located, perhaps you’ll even invite your local union to get involved. A diverse, cross-functional group of stakeholders will help keep everyone’s interests balanced, and establish a higher degree of buy-in.

Take the Pre-Tender Protective Workwear Quiz to find out what you’re missing before you start your selection process.


2. Investigate their motivation

You have one common goal, but your stakeholders have many different values. The key is to get to the heart of what motivates each stakeholder. Purchasing, for instance, will be motivated by staying on-budget and keeping an eye on the bottom line. Logistics will care about whether or not the supply chain is able to deliver quickly. Some stakeholders will want to prioritize comfortable garments, while others will want the most impressive technical specs, or the most durable options to withstand frequent laundering. If you can help your stakeholders understand why this project matters to them, you’ll get and keep their buy-in.

3. Define your process

There’s no way around it: selecting new protective clothing is a long process. Setting everyone’s expectations at the beginning of the tender process is essential to avoid costly delays further down the road. By defining all the steps in the process ahead, you make sure everyone knows what’s coming.

If you’re confused about where to start, it can be helpful to conduct a risk assessment and protective clothing audit, which will help you nail down what you need from your team and what you’ll put in your tender. Later, you’ll conduct a wear trial to put the new protective clothing options through their paces.

4. Unleash ownership

Just as setting expectations for the overall process helps to solidify buy-in, so does defining each stakeholder’s direct role in relation to the process. People tend to show reduced interest when they don’t feel their actions have a direct effect — so make sure you underscore the importance of each of your stakeholder’s input! The most engaged stakeholders understand exactly how their contribution will impact the project, and how the project will impact them in return.

When the group of involved stakeholders is large, it can be a challenge to keep the process moving while negotiating the input each stakeholder brings to the table. You might consider bringing on an independent consultant to facilitate the decision-making process and help you identify the most cost-effective solution providing the best levels of protection in high-risk situations. In any case, it’s always wise to choose the primary specs together and make sure they’re signed off by all stakeholders before releasing your tender to potential partners. This will save you valuable time by preventing the tender process from stalling.

5. Don’t forget the most important stakeholder of all

That’s right, the wearer! It’s easy to get caught up in all the moving parts of the tender process and forget why you’re selecting protective clothing in the first place — to protect your workers. They’re the ones who’ll be wearing the new protective clothing, after all, so it’s essential to consider them important stakeholders. The success of your tender is ultimately determined by the wearer’s experience, so be sure to get their buy-in by asking for their input.

Before you draft your tender, ask your workers what they think about their current protective clothing. During the selection process, perform a wear trial to validate their experience of the new garment options: does the fabric breathe? Does it absorb sweat? Is it light enough to be able to move around freely? Is it comfortable? “Comfort” means something different to everyone, so take the time to hear all of your workers out. Getting wearer buy-in every step of the way not only results in a more successful tender, but a stronger safety culture long-term.

6. Never stop educating

Protective clothing may be low on the priority list for some of your stakeholders, making it a challenge for you to engage them and get their buy-in during your tender process. Here’s where long-term safety education comes in. Take every opportunity to keep safety top of mind for your stakeholders, at all times! Keep them up to date on why protective clothing is so important for your company’s success, and why their specific role is essential in the bigger picture of your company’s safety culture. This will help ensure their buy-in and collaboration when you need it most, during your protective clothing selection process.

Take the time to listen

At the end of the day, you simply can’t afford to start your protective clothing tender without buy-in from your stakeholders. Choosing a new protective clothing solution is a collaborative effort, so it’s crucial you do everything you can to engage all your stakeholders, all the way from management to the workers who’ll wear the new garments. Getting buy-in from everyone involved in the process can feel like a puzzle, but balancing all the different interests at play will ultimately help you make the best decision together.

Ready to start your new protective workwear tender? Take our 5-minute Pre-Tender Protective Workwear Quiz to find out if you’re missing any important information.


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Ludovic Mirande

End User Expert | TenCate Protective Fabrics