You’ve got a standout HR initiative that will make a meaningful difference to the workplace but to press go you need to win the hearts and minds of your leadership team, because their support (both emotionally and financially) will be fundamental to its success. How do you succeed in gaining buy-in?
The timing could not be better to advocate for projects that make a positive impact on anything ‘people’ related. The COVID-19 pandemic created unheard of uncertainty and a swift change in the way we work, with HR teams taking a lead role in the response, solidifying their relevance as a key player in ensuring organisations kept functioning.
HR’s influence in the C-suite is stronger than ever. And this is critical for gaining the attention of senior leaders – both in terms of HR’s lead role in decision making as well as the resulting shift in the value organisations place on their people. From ambitious strategic projects through to enterprise level activity, organisations are pushing forward with people-focussed initiatives at great speed.
Decipher Group helps businesses create value through their people, providing a broad range of strategic and operational human resources advisory services and support to enhance every stage of the employee lifecycle. From acting as an outsourced provider through to assistance on a project basis, we’re working with HR teams to develop and implement workable strategies and frameworks that deliver results. Based on our experience, here are some useful tips on getting the green light on your HR initiatives.
Regardless of the scale of the project, at the end of the day you are presenting a business case to seek support for something. Even if the process is done informally, you’re essentially trying to convince someone that a project or initiative is worth the effort and that typically includes presenting its benefits, costs, impact, risks and how success will be measured. To demonstrate why this is important (for you and the company) you’re identifying a (business) problem, either existing or potential, and then suggesting a solution in the form of your initiative.
Importantly, there needs to be an obvious link with the wider organisational strategy – when people understand how your initiative fits into the bigger picture, it will create more momentum to proceed.
Use data to tell (and sell) your story
You’ve created a clear plan for what needs to change and why, that is linked to broader strategic imperatives – having the data to back up your message is key. Because of the people element of HR it can be easy to focus too strongly on the emotional drivers for change which can come across as overly anecdotal, based on observations, experiences and opinions.
A research-backed approach that connects directly to organisational performance and is data-driven makes for a compelling proposition. Most organisations have access to HR related data and analytics – recruitment, talent management, training, engagement, performance – which means you can easily tie your proposed initiative to a measurable (and positive) outcome.
It’s unlikely that there is anyone sitting around the senior leadership table who doesn’t see the value in nurturing a constructive workplace culture and positive employee experience in terms of its contribution to achieving an organisation’s vision and strategy. We’re not suggesting that you will necessarily face opposition to your projects ‘why’, but the realities of budgets and priorities means you may be up against other equally important projects seeking approval.
Having the support of others, prior to presenting your business case, adds credence and credibility to your pitch. Don’t just think in terms of the obvious allies, also look to engage potential detractors or more broadly, demonstrate how you have the support or engagement of the wider workforce. You may just find that through diversity of thought, the contribution of others will help you formulate an even better solution.
Creating a group of supporters who will advocate for you, makes for a more compelling proposition, particularly when that group includes people that the decision makers trust. This may include people external to the organisation, like consultants, experts or case studies from companies who have taken on similar projects. It may seem puerile but fear of missing out (FOMO) is a scientifically proven phenomenon and a proven method of gaining support for ideas.
If you are likely to need to go through a formal approval process then there are plenty of online resources available to help you create a compelling story to support your initiative. It’s not about being the world’s best public speaker, but rather delivering a well-rounded, clear and concise presentation that helps people understand why you are excited about a project and its outcome.
Be confident in what you are presenting but also receptive to feedback and discussion. Bringing others along on a journey includes having them involved in a project’s creation.
Remember, it’s about the people
HR is a people function that is tasked with balancing the needs of employees with the requirements of an organisation. Supporting and advocating for the human capital in a business is at the heart of what HR do and that involves creating (and sustaining) meaningful change. According to McKinsey, post-pandemic, HR should be playing a key role in building organisations of the future.
“To usher in the organization of the future, chief human-resources officers (CHROs) and other leaders should do nothing less than reimagine the basic tenets of organization.”
Going forward, HR will be the driving force of some exciting initiatives that will strengthen organisations and help them to compete in the future through attracting and retaining the right talent. It’s a critical time for businesses, and HR has a significant window of opportunity to drive a mindset shift from ‘labour’ to ‘talent’ and create transformational workplace change.
Businesses, both large and small, find value in utilising the services of a HR consultancy, through supporting existing HR functions or simply freeing up time to focus on running a business. Decipher Group has a proven track record of delivering HR support and advice that transforms businesses, leaders and workplaces. Let’s talk.
The Decipher Team
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