The rapid pace of disruption coupled with growing challenges within the talent market has made the CEOs job increasingly harder and it shows no signs of slowing down. How can HR leaders influence change and introduce new initiatives during such a transitional time?
C-Suite executives are typically so engrossed in growing revenue, increasing profitability, and improving operational efficiencies and that they can lose sight of the benefit of prioritizing investing in their own people. The old paradigm that the Human Resources function exists solely to enforce policy, ensure legal compliance, and hire and fire people is obsolete. HR teams today provide critical direction and serve the position of trusted advisor and strategic business partner.
If you are finding it challenging to get your leadership team and management on board when implementing new HR strategies, there are three key elements to think about that can help you demonstrate the ongoing positive impact and results these programs can have.
Illustrate Impact with Data
I’ve often found that presenting relevant data, including both internal “current state” data and external market data have been essential to gaining the attention of executives and mobilizing them to take action. For example, I recently presented a case to the executive team of my client for the creation of a market competitive compensation plan. The initial report included quantitative data, such as the number of employees who hadn’t had a performance review and the number underpaid to market. I also included qualitative data such as employee exit interview statements and engagement survey feedback. Being able to clearly show the gap between where they are and where they want to be and offering a defined roadmap to get there is often a solid approach to building a business case for change.
Engage the C-Suite
Most initiatives succeed or fail based upon the visibility of the leadership team. For example, when our team started a wellness program at a former company, we immediately saw the value in having an executive sponsor as well as a leader from each business area participate and champion the benefits of taking part in our wellness challenges and events. Not only did employees feel more empowered to talk about and prioritize their own wellbeing, but leaders were also able to build trust and a deeper connection with staff. Remind your senior leaders that this does not require a huge time commitment and that a small gesture can create a meaningful impact that lasts.
Start with a Pilot
Depending upon the size and complexity of the organization, some leaders may be hesitant to roll out a completely new program or commit to redesigning an existing one for the full population. This is especially true if it’s an exceptionally busy time for certain business functions or there is concern it may be more difficult to administer globally. In this case it may be a good idea to start small and execute the strategy with a small group or segment who can test and vet the process and provide critical insights on the end user experience in the beta stage so the final rollout can be as seamless as possible.
When approaching senior leaders for buy-in or support it’s important to consider timing as well as what may be going on at the macro-organizational level so that you can be assured that your HR initiatives align with current business goals.
Any program, plan, or strategy that aims to create a more positive employee experience is a very wise investment. When employees feel they can be their best and are recognized, rewarded, and able to find purpose and grow within the organization, turnover costs can be drastically reduced, and productivity can soar. The return on investment of a healthy, thriving, present workforce is immeasurable.