March 23, 2015

The Secret to Creating C-Suite Buy-in for HR Technology

Written by
Tags: HR

You finally did it. After countless weeks of market research, vendor comparisons, and wading through user reviews, you found the best HR software for your business.

Unfortunately, the fight’s not over yet.

You now have to create buy-in among the executives that need to sign off on a technology purchase. Where do you even start? Each C-Suite member often has different priorities and veto power. Building consensus is not an easy task. You might as well spend your time convincing Bill Gates to buy a Mac, right?

Wrong.

Since you’ve done your due diligence and picked a great solution, the HR software solution in question will benefit every department and the company as a whole. Whether you’re looking at payroll software, a recruiting system, a learning platform, or an end-to-end HR suite that encompasses all of the above, the key is to remember that they all solve business issues.

Of course, you already know the benefits of HR software. How it streamlines administrative tasks, simplifies the hiring process, and creates one central location for all your workforce data. But to create a common language and shared perspective, you’ll need to connect the dots for other decision makers.

How to Unite the C-suite

On average, 5-6 people now have to formally sign off on B2B purchases. But if you can answer one question— the most important question — you’ll be able to easily sell the purchase internally.

The magic question is: What’s in it for me?

This question is going to frame your entire HR software proposal. Your sales department already uses this tactic to appeal to customers – now you’re going to use it to identify the differing pain points of your C-level audience. A well-rounded proposal will cover how individual departments will benefit from new HR tech, as well as the company as a whole.

Executives invest in solutions that save or help make money, avoid risk, or serve long term strategic purposes. Let’s look at a few ways you can clearly align your initiative with what’s in it for each C-suite member.

CIO / CTO / IT Department

IT Director. Chief Internet Evangelist. Data Ninja. No matter what your tech leader’s title is, it’s important to involve them early in requests for new systems. After all, a big part of their role is evaluating new technology that helps your organization function more efficiently.

HR should work with IT to collectively create value and drive business outcomes. So what’s in it for IT execs? They’re generally tasked with keeping your company agile and competitive in the market. For new HR software, your CIO is concerned with integration complexities and loss of control over data and systems. They are interested in a 3-5 year technology life-cycle plan that aligns with the company’s growth projections, as well as the potential to reduce their needs for internal infrastructure.

By considering their needs and seeking their advice often, you will minimize implementation issues early. You’ll eventually need them to manage the proposed technology anyway, so it’s best to make them a partner upfront. Additionally, when HR and IT can stand together behind a new proposal, you have a better chance of buy-in from other execs.

CEO

The CEO (or Executive Director, for nonprofits) is the leader of your company. They make high-level decisions about policy and strategy and want to maximize the value of the business, while meeting the needs of employees, customers, investors, communities, and the law.

Your CEO is worried about recessions, inflation, competition, and the availability of resources.

According to the 2014 Annual Global CEO Survey, 63 percent of CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills, and 50 percent of CEOs plan to increase headcount over the next 12 months. CEOs must plan to create a workforce tailored to the skills they need. Fortunately, HR technology can alleviate these concerns. With data analytics, HR departments can add value by predicting what skills will be needed, and plan for changes in demand and supply.

Once employees are hired, talent management software also allows sales and marketing directors to see the success of their teams and departments in real-time. Executives and managers want data from across the enterprise to know how the workforce contributes to the company. With modern HR solutions, organizations can access detailed analytics about their employees. This includes measuring employee performance and managing goals. When skill gaps are identified and addressed, employees perform better, which creates a positive ripple effect for the team and business outcomes.

CFO  

When proposing a technology investment to a CFO, you should put cost-savings before the system’s features or functions. Finance experts deal with specific, measurable things. You’ll need to be prepared to show how HR initiatives maintain profit margins (or reduce costs), combat healthcare prices, and improve employee morale and productivity.

Aside from the CEO, the CFO and head of HR are potentially the only people with an overview of the whole organization and the leadership capability within it. Cold hard numbers aside, it’s critical both parties work together to create learning and development programs, incentive schemes, and processes that ensure everyone is working to achieve the same overall objective within the company.

Help stakeholders find common ground

Once you’ve made personalized arguments, you also need to create shared interest amongst executives. Every stakeholder wants to know which workforce segments create the most value, the amount of money lost each day by not having hires in place, and how that impacts current projects.

Executives also need to know how turnover impacts customers, productivity, and innovation. To answer these questions, advanced HR systems analytics can merge finance, customer, operational, and HR cost data to provide valuable insights across all departments. Uncovering individual and shared goals will help all members of the team reach a consensus and make the answer to your proposal a resounding “Yes!”

Free Download

Buyer's Guide to HR Software

Get My Free Guide