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#HRTechConf: Getting Exec Buy-in for the HR Tech You Need

Posted by Alistair Neal

07-Oct-2014 15:00:00

Recruiting is now believed to have made the greatest business impact out of any HR function. In fact, recruiting efforts now are showing 2 times the profit margin and 3.5 times the profit growth of lower HR functions. It’s time for recruiters to take advantage of this growth and demand increased purchasing power.




Within the next 18 months, 57% of large or medium organizations plan to make a major purchase for their HR departments. Think you know exactly what new technology your HR department needs? Take a look at what it takes, and how to prepare to get exec buy-in for your proposed solution with this following guide:


Take a Good Look Around

Stick your nose in other departments and find out how your proposed purchase can meet hiring needs best. Is your sales department gearing up for a major product launch and looking to pad their sales team fast? Is there a significant gap in IT, and your CIO is on the verge of a mental breakdown? Determine hiring needs for key departments to provide concrete examples in support of the purchase in question. Not only will these departments’ needs give you justification for your proposed purchase, but you may also find a key influencer (kind of like a coach) who will help you reach your goal.


Find Your Biggest Fan

Determining the key decision makers is crucial in preparing for your product pitch. Miller Heiman defines these key decision makers as buying influences: “anyone who can have a positive or negative impact on your selling activity”. While you’re not technically participating in “selling” activity; you are pitching a proposed solution to your higher ups. Keep in mind that there are four main buying influences: Economic Buying Influence, User Buying Influence, Technical Buying Influence, and Coach; and the Coach is your starting ground. You’ll want to scout out your coach early on to get them involved in the groundwork. You’re not going to identify your coach automatically. In fact, Miller Heiman believes that coaches don’t even exist; they have to be sourced and developed.

Finding your coach may be difficult. It’s not like you’re going to walk into a key department and be greeted by the VP of Marketing with “COACH” written across her forehead. However, you can ensure that:

  • Your Coach has credibility with the buying influences and execs

  • You have credibility with the Coach

  • The Coach is on board with your solution

You may need to evaluate a few different co-workers to find who is invested in your case and is aligned with your proposed vendor. Remember two is better than one, and if you find the right support (especially from a higher up) then exec buy-in may be more in your favor.


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Support Features with Facts

Now that you’ve found internal support, you need to provide internal evidence. Weigh the pros and cons of making this purchasing decision for HR and evolve your findings into facts. To get started, gather statistics from reputable sources that represent your current workforce demands and highlight the need for your proposed purchase.

If your proposed vendor focuses on how their technology improves employee referral programs then pull your organization’s employee referral analytics. Are you finding that your employee referral to hire ratio is low, and your turnover rate on non-referrals is high? Then highlight that data in your pitch, and display how your proposed vendor can bring in quality employee referrals (and hopefully reduce turnover).

“If HR teams can get over the hurdle of finding the data and aggregating it in some way, it can help, but it’s still just information. The work of interpreting the data to figure out what it’s really saying and then deciding what action to take as a result is the hard part.” - Laurie Ledford in an interview with CareerBuilder

Don’t forget to mention that employee referral hires shorten the time-to-hire because they’re hired 55% faster than those via job boards and career sites.


Invite IT to Jump On Your Bandwagon

Eliminate any concerns that execs may have by explaining how the proposed product will be integrated best. How do you do this? Get IT invested. At first, it may seem like getting IT on board might cause disruption and make things messy. Rest assured, Jobvite recommends doing so in order to get all of the details worked out before making the pitch. Fortunately, we have been graced with the Cloud, and the Cloud has provided solutions to organizations that are affordable, easily maintained, updated and accessible. However, IT is still going to be full of questions. They’re going to want to know:

  • How secure is your proposed product?

  • What’s the average downtime during service and maintenance?

  • What are the data back-up requirements?

Schedule a meeting with IT to see what most concerns them, and then address each issue with supported documentation from the vendor. Identifying crucial infrastructure requirements and displaying how the proposed product meets these requirements ensures all bases are covered. Don’t wait to get IT involved; make sure they are brought on before your pitch because:

“Waiting too long can cost you. If you broadside IT with a project that’s in the final decision step, they may feel excluded or pressured to provide rubberstamp approval. This has been proven too often to backfire, resulting in project delays or - even worse - complete project failure.” - @Jobvite

Before you make your pitch, make sure to outline how your proposed product is data-driven and measurable. Executives are all about the data, so highlight how the solution captures and reports pertinent analytics that reflect your organizational hiring demands respective to your industry.


Earn Executives' Ears

As recruiting makes an impact as one of the most profitable and highest growing functions in HR, it’s evolving technological demands must be met. It’s an ongoing fight for recruiters to earn executives’ ears, but by following these steps; it can be done.


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Topics: corporate recruiters , HR Technology