Securing Executive Buy-In: How to Make the Case for HR Technology
Samantha McLaren

By: Samantha McLaren on January 30th, 2020

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Securing Executive Buy-In: How to Make the Case for HR Technology

HR Operational Efficiency

Est. Read Time: 3 min.

Unemployment is low and the cost of replacing talent is high, so it’s no wonder that elevating employee experience (EX) to improve retention is top of mind for many HR professionals right now. And one of the best ways to do that is by upgrading the business’s HR technology. 


In order to get buy-in for these investments, HR first has to make a compelling business case. And that can be a challenge, especially at organizations where HR is viewed as a purely administrative support function, rather than a strategic driver of the company’s success. Without the right resources, though, it can be difficult to prove what a major impact your department can make—trapping you in a vicious circle. 


To get what you need, here are some steps you can take to create a strong business case for HR technology investments and communicate the true value of EX to your leaders. These tips and strategies were informed by Ben Eubanks, Principal Analyst at Lighthouse Research & Advisory as part of our digital EX micro-course—and they can help you establish your department as a strategic partner to the business.


1. Tailor your pitch to each stakeholder

While your HR team is likely on-board with your pitch, the executive team might need a little more convincing. Communicating the value of your case in a language that each stakeholder understands will be integral to demonstrating the business value of their investment. 


The language your team uses internally may not resonate with the leaders you’re pitching to. If you rely heavily on HR terms like “employee engagement” or “employee satisfaction,” they may see your pitch as fluffy—or peg it as an “HR problem,” rather than an issue facing the entire organization. Ditching the HR speak and focusing on the metrics that matter most to your audience is an essential first step. 


Find out what each stakeholder is accountable for, what their long-term business goals are, and what keeps them awake at night—then weave those concerns into your pitch. Take your IT leaders. While they may not respond to phrases like “employee user experience,” they will turn their heads if you explain how the solution would boost communication within the organization, or how it could improve security by streamlining who has access to what information. Framing your argument within their domain of expertise is sure to spark a productive conversation—and drive their interest. 


When it comes to engaging with the C-suite, you can practice the same approach. Rather than focusing solely on the needs of employees, consider centering your argument around how the HR solution will impact the business’s long-term success—increasing customer satisfaction, profitability, and revenue. If you’ve already won over your IT leaders, you can also show how easy it will be to integrate the solution, helping you get ahead of any objections they might raise. 


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2. Inform your case with evidence

Using research and data to back up your business case does more than just increase your chances of securing buy-in. It also shows executives that HR can be more than just people-oriented—you can be data-driven, too.


Demonstrating the connection between better EX and improved business outcomes is a key component of making a compelling business case for HR tech. Luckily, there’s no shortage of research that supports it. 


Make sure your leaders understand the connection between EX and product quality, customer satisfaction, shareholder value, innovation, revenue, profitability, and more. Technology designed to improve EX can lead to powerful business outcomes, so the return on investment can be significant. 


3. Think—and present—like a marketer

Once you’ve crafted a solid business case that’s tailored to your audience and grounded in data, the next step to finding the best way to present it.


Keep your presentation clear, concise, and to the point. No one wants to read a 20-page report or sit through a 50-slide deck, least of all your busy business leaders. You can instantly earn their respect and appreciation by delivering your case in a way that communicates value as quickly and simply as possible. 


Consider creating a one-pager with a bold, clear headline and an easily digestible data call-out or chart. Tell the big-picture story of the value of EX—without getting too in the weeds—to help them grasp the value of your proposition right away. 


If they want to go deeper, you already have the data, research, and ROI analysis on hand to back your presentation up. Remember, it’s likely that your audience has been fielding pitches from other functions left and right—but you can set yourself apart by being the most strategic and to-the-point. 


Gain credibility along the way

Crafting a business case that encompasses customer, shareholder, and business value is the fastest way to grab the C-suite’s attention and get the tools you need to drive success. Best of all, once you’ve established your credibility and proven that the investment paid off in spades, it will be easier to get buy-in for future requests. 


While there’s no guaranteed way to secure buy-in, these tips can dramatically improve your chances—and demonstrate your value as both an HR leader and a business partner. To learn more about communicating the value of EX to leadership, take our Digital Employee Experience micro-course today

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About Samantha McLaren

Scottish-born Samantha McLaren is a copywriter and editor with a specialty for the recruiting and HR space. She has written dozens of articles on topics ranging from employee retention and engagement to employer branding, company culture, and management strategies.