One of the most common challenges we hear from HR leaders is getting backing from the leadership team. How do you convince executive teams to embrace your ideas? What does it take to get them on board?
There are some ways you can increase the chances of your ideas becoming a reality. Let's walk through them.
Roadblocks from Leadership
You come up with a great solution—one that will help the entire company—only for leadership to knock it down.
Why would they be so disinterested?
The leadership team at your company has other things on their mind, like:
- Budget and costs
- Lack of time
- Other strategic priorities
- Other tasks and meetings they have coming up
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help surpass these barriers and get buy-in from the top.
Wanting to listen to the idea covered in this blog post? Check out the after-party for our October Brain Trust, where we discussed some of these barriers and how to overcome them.
Ways to get backing from leadership
Here are some things that help HR get leadership's support—inspired by some of the best HR leaders we know.
1. Have a well-thought-out plan, not just an idea
Company executives are swamped with other priorities and high-level tasks. Dig into the details for them and present your idea or solution concisely. They will appreciate the time you saved them and the work you did to explain the solution simply.
Think about the implications of the idea. What will it cost the company? How will it be implemented? Who all needs to be involved in the project? Answer those questions before they need to be asked.
2. Highlight the benefits
Talk about the WIIFM—"what's in it for me." How will this benefit the leadership team? The company as a whole? The bottom line? Will the solution cut costs or manual work?
For instance, if you are looking to implement an EAP or mental health program at your company, have a grasp of what it will cost, the benefits of having an EAP, and which EAPs would be your top picks. Discuss how this can improve your company's culture and even help the executive team reduce their stress.
If needed, you may want to tweak the program to meet their needs and wants to make the idea more attractive.
3. Use statistics and referrals
Don't be afraid to sell it!
Use data to back your idea and express the urgency of implementing a solution. Explain how this plan will help everyone from the leadership team to the individual contributor.
4. Be persistent
It's okay to ask more than once.
If your first attempt doesn't stick, give it some time. Try again in a quarter or two. A lot can change between now and then! A "no" for now doesn't mean a "no" forever. To lessen the resistance, make sure you are communicating with leadership in the best way for them. That may mean a Zoom call, an email, a lunch meeting, or a phone call. No matter which medium you use to communicate with them, make sure you are concise.
5. Talk it out and get buy-in
Talk to all of the relevant decision-makers and get buy-in from as many executives as you can. And, of course, make sure you have their approval before you follow through!
Getting buy-in from individual department leaders will help you get the green flag from the CEO.
Offer to walk the executives through potential issues and challenges. You did your homework; share what you learned.
We hope these tips help you get support from your company's leadership team!
Never attended a Brain Trust before. Read our resource What to Expect at an HR Brain Trust for the breakdown.
If you're interested in joining the HR Leader Brain Trust, you can sign up here.
Are you looking to further mental health initiatives at your company? This 41-page report has tons of insights on what helps mental health programs work and what HR leaders are doing to improve employee wellbeing.
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