The Key to Getting Buy-In From the C-Suite for HR Technology

December 30, 2020

Learn how you can best prepare to propose a new or upgraded HR technology to other key decision makers in the business.

Blog Post

HR and payroll solutions have the power to make a significant and immediate impact on your business, but this won’t be easy to see for everyone. And to be fair, new technology can often turn out to create new problems instead of solving them. New or upgraded HR technology is a significant investment in time and money, and a prolonged decision-making process means it will take even longer for you to start seeing the return on your investment.

The evolving role of HR as a strategic partner in driving organizational success means the tools you need to do your job day in and day out are also evolving. As you start acquiring more and more technology, the time will come when you need to consolidate those disparate tools and transition to a solution that offers more integrated functionalities with robust data capabilities that help you make those strategic decisions and forecast more accurately.

Getting your leadership on board with a new major expense can be time-consuming, frustrating, and, ultimately, disappointing. Preparation is the key to getting all the answers you need to then present your recommendations to your C-suite or executive leadership as an offer they can’t refuse.

Do the Math: The Wrong or Outdated Technology Is Costly

Before you propose simply adding new technology, it’s worth taking an inventory of the tools you are paying for, how effective they are, and how many employees are actually using them. You may find that rather than more technology, a new solution can eliminate underutilized, ineffective solutions you already have in place.

A recent survey found that U.S. employers may be losing up to $1.8 trillion in wasted productivity due to aging infrastructure and outdated technology. Another study by 1E found that “on average, each computer in every office around the world has about $259 of unnecessary, unwanted, or unused software on it.” They estimated $30 billion was wasted in the U.S. alone over the course of the four-year study.

The impact of an HR and payroll solution is far reaching, because your employees’ productivity and engagement are woven into their employee experience. Especially during periods of turbulence or change, HR plays a key role in leading a workforce’s adaptability and resilience. “[T]he strategic roles tend to increase performance first and foremost. That is, focusing on developing the organization’s capacity to change as well as employees’ adaptive behaviors is essential for organizational performance,” according to The International Journal of Human Resource Management.

Adaptability and resilience are key to success and sustainability in today’s ever-changing environment. By considering the costs you have and how a new, more effective and comprehensive platform could change those costs helps you quantify what your business stands to gain (or lose), and dollars and cents speak volumes to the C-suite.

Demos Done Right: Prepare Your Questions to Get the Answers You Need

With any real contender, you’ll get a live demo with the potential provider to walk through the solution and its various capabilities, learn how it could address some of your specific needs, and get any of your questions answered. With a little bit of preparation, that demo can give you all you need to handle any internal objections or questions.

Potential providers will try to sell you on their best, most cutting-edge products, and eventually it might be hard to even distinguish one from another. But the “best” solution for your business really boils down to fit — fit to your business needs and goals. So that means one of the best ways to prepare to get the most out of any demo is to start by understanding your organization needs and goals (and budget), especially across departments and requirements or nuances unique to your company size or workforce make-up, region, or industry, such as compliance-related needs. Then, do a little homework to understand what you should be able to expect from a platform so you don’t have to waste time on those that fall short.

Dedicate time during your demo (or in follow-up conversations) to learn how the solution addresses your specific needs, integrates with other systems you have in place, and what sets each provider apart from each other, especially in terms of implementation and support.

Use our Navigating the Buying Process for HR and Payroll Solutions and Checklist: What to Know Before Buying HR and Payroll Solutions to prepare for your demo.

Speak Their Language: Translate HR Goals into Organizational Goals

Learning what’s important to your stakeholders should start early in your process. Understanding their goals helps frame your conversations with potential providers so you can find the most impactful solution for your organization. It also helps your stakeholders feel part of the decision-making process by giving them the chance to provide input and to gain visibility into your process, reassuring them that you’re out to find a solution that works for them, too. Connecting early on with IT, for example, eliminates the element of surprise when questions about data security or resources needed for implementation arise.

The right solution offers features, functionality, and data that can be useful across the organization, but you may have to go the extra step to draw those connections directly. For example, if your CFO is concerned about turnover costs, you can focus your pitch on tracking and reporting capabilities that help you monitor employees with high retention risk as well as departments or teams underperforming in retention. Your CEO may be interested in knowing how the new platform could help reduce costs and improve productivity. By centralizing and automating workflows for recruiting, onboarding, and employee feedback, for example, you can eliminate outdated, manual, disparate systems while also modernizing your employee lifecycle, all of which are also top of mind for your CHRO.

Look for More Than a Provider: Find the Partner You Deserve

Just as important as a stellar product is the people behind technology. From the way a platform is built to the implementation process and customer service model, a provider’s systems for supporting its clientele could mean all the difference when it comes to getting the most from the solution you ultimately choose. Tailored, cloud-based systems offer the flexibility to right-size a solution that expands and adapts with the ebbs and flows of your business, and a partner aims to deeply understand your business needs, even as they evolve over time.

The right provider will have experience bridging the gap between HR’s priorities and the C-suite’s vision with data and use cases. In addition to client references of companies like yours, they should also provide a detailed plan for what you can expect during implementation and how to access customer service, for example. But remember not to simply take their word for it, either. Be sure to read user reviews (eg, G2 or other verified user review sites) and testimonials to get a fuller picture, even from the perspective of other C-suite executives.

Set Up for Success: Expect More Cooks in the Kitchen

When you speak to the needs of your stakeholders in their language, using their language and using data sets up the most compelling case. “The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision makers‚ each armed with four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently and must deconflict with the group,” according to Gartner. But don’t be discouraged. Armed with this knowledge, set yourself up for success by preparing the right information and questions to gain the alignment that will help you accelerate and streamline this process.

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