4 Steps to get C-Suite buy-in on HR tech

Don't know how to go about presenting a needed HR tool to leadership? Feel like your HR tech platform project is stuck in limbo?

First of all, don't overthink it. The route to an endorsement from the C-Suite for HR tech to help your team is usually simple and straightforward.

But if you don't know where to start or are feeling stuck, here are four helpful steps that I've learned from being on both sides of the executive barrier.

What do they want?

As you're doing your homework to choose the right vendors, don't forget what your audience cares about. The best place to start is referring to your company's strategic objectives. Pro tip: use language from the company objectives to communicate the HR tech's value prop in your pitch.

Silhouette of executives hearing pitch for new tool and asking questions

Another important aspect to keep in mind is that you are the expert. The C-Suite, aside from the CHRO, is unlikely to be as versed in the HR world as you are. That means you always need to ensure your communication is clear, concise, and presented in terms they easily understand. For example, avoid HR jargon or acronyms.

Also, avoid the opposite extreme of over-explaining everything to the point it comes across as condescending. They will expect that you have vetted the technology you're pitching. All you need to communicate is how that technology will impact what the C-Suite cares about most.

How do you prioritize what they want?

Maybe your company's strategic objectives don't align with your HR product objectives so easily. For one thing, there are numerous goals to consider. You may end up feeling overwhelmed and unsure which ones matter most.

There are a few universal priorities that all C-Suite executives have:

  • Customers
  • Brand
  • ROI

By focusing on how the HR tech aligns with strategic objectives in these three buckets, you ensure that all executives are aware of impact they care about.

Customers: From the HR perspective, customers drill down to candidates and employees. There is already evidence as to why you should treat candidates like customers. And all employees were first candidates. What ties all of these things together? Candidate experience.

Brand: How the company is perceived is always top of mind with the C-Suite. While the end result is defined by public response, the company is far from helpless in shaping that perception. Branding is more than just marketing's responsibility.

ROI: To simplify the "Return On Investment" that motivates executives, it always comes down to either bettering performance or saving money. With that in mind, you should be able to identify what metrics and data points will provide the clearest evidence that this HR tech project is needed.

Important note: if you still can't make the value added by this HR tech project align with what the C-Suite cares about, that is a clear sign of one of two things. Perhaps the HR tech solution you are pursuing is not right for your company at this time. Alternatively, you may simply need some help from the HR tech vendors to communicate that alignment.

Do you have everything you need?

One of the main goals of your HR tech vendors is to make you look good. To be blunt, their job is to equip you with everything you need to win over the decision-makers that sign the contract (and to renew later). You don't have to do all of the digging and research alone.

When you're the champion communicating to decision-makers, your audience needs to ensure your expertise is backed by a full slate of supporting resources and additional insights. HR tech vendors should supply whatever it takes to educate, persuade, and secure C-Suite signatures.

Project lead working with team and vendor to bring all the pieces together_cropped

Some examples of what you can expect from a high-quality HR tech vendor:

  • Business and HR Impact data
  • Case studies
  • Testimonials
  • Presentation decks
  • One-pagers
  • White papers
  • Technical Manuals

Bonus assets might include customized videos. Engaging visuals like this can really wow leadership.

What about asking directly?

To reiterate, don't overthink it. Try simply asking for an executive leader to get involved. The downsides are minimal. As we mentioned before, the C-Suite cares about employees. That includes you. Understanding the importance of empathy in decision-making and bringing leadership to the table early is likely to increase your chances of getting full C-Suite support.

Business goal success concept shown by red darts hitting the bulls eye

If any of these steps capture the C-Suite's endorsement, you could significantly boost the resources devoted to your HR tech project, and the attention and advocacy it receives across the organization. So don't give up. For example, when the HR team for one of our Fortune 500 prospects aligned the pitch with the company's strategic objectives, the C-Suite not only bought into it, they took over and required adoption of our platform across the organization. That's jumping from purchasing an HR tech vendor to already tackling the next challenge of adoption!

Remember, that success could be you, too. I'm not one to feign optimism. When it comes down to it, taking logical and direct steps to gain C-Suite support for the HR tech you want is the best approach every time.


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