So you’ve written your short-list of potential performance management solutions and are ready to see what sticks. Even if you have your own HR budget to invest in new tech, to introduce a successful change you first need to gain complete executive buy-in.
Studies have shown that up to 70% of change initiatives fail. Interestingly much of this is attributed to “creative disobedience” from the executive team. Just like any executive, your C-suite is interested in introducing change that adds value.
Simply put, if you can convince your executive team that your solution will have a positive impact on your results, they’ll “buy-in” to your plan. Having helped over 200+ companies revamp their performance management processes, here are a few tips you can use to get buy-in from the executives at your company.
Relate to company-wide objectives
For those whose day job isn’t HR, it can be easy to forget why metrics like employee engagement or talent distribution are important to the overall success of a company. That’s why the first step to help you earn buy-in from executives is to relate your project with company-wide objectives.
Clearly state how your new performance management system will support achieving the company’s objectives, vision and mission. To get you started, here’s a few examples of how to relate HR initiatives to company-wide objectives:
Company objective: Generate $1 million in new revenue by the end of the year.
HR objective: Develop a strong corporate culture that values exchanging feedback, collaboration, and knowledge sharing among teams.
HR Initiative: Introduce knowledge-sharing with real-time feedback in Sales teams to supplement current training initiatives.
Company objective: Attract and maintain the top talent in our industry.
HR objective: Develop “company ambassadors” that will support recruitment initiatives and help HR maintain an attractive company culture.
HR initiative: Increase recognition of top performers by facilitating better and more frequent feedback of individual and team accomplishments.
Company objective: Optimize time and resources invested in redundant administrative tasks.
HR objective: Reduce time spent by all teams completing performance reviews with optimized people processes.
HR initiative: Implement a new performance management system designed to reduce administrative effort within the year.
By closely tying HR objectives to company objectives, you’ll be able to demonstrate the relevance of your plan to your company’s overall success.
It’s easy to delay implementing a big change. Reinventing performance management isn’t a one-off task, it’s a strategy; and both you and your executives know there’s a long road ahead of you. It can be tempting to wait until the “next time we look at the budget,” or “after we open the new office” or “once the stars align”...
But putting off necessary performance management change comes at a cost. Lay out all the consequences of maintaining your current performance management solution in real figures, and frame them as they impact the company’s bottom line.
Talent will leave companies where they don’t feel valued or have an opportunity to develop, people will spend valuable time completing reviews that don’t add value, and productivity suffers when people feel that their work is not recognized -- just to name a few.
To dig even deeper, consider what triggered your search for a performance management platform. Is your company grappling with the need to train a large influx of new or inexperienced managers? Are you experiencing low engagement levels, or do people feel they’re not getting the development and coaching they need? You can use these insights to demonstrate that the current process is not aligned with company-wide objectives.
Articulate your goals
Now they’re convinced they need a change, show them what successful transformation would look like. This is how your new system should be solving the issues you presented earlier.
State the goals of the project, the results your team wants to achieve, and what you have been looking for in a new solution that supports this.
While some of these goals are less easy to measure (such as to improve Employee Engagement, or to maintain a more transparent corporate culture) it’s important to frame them, as they impact business results.
For example, let’s say one of your goals is to reduce the amount of time spent completing HR processes. To achieve this, your team is looking for tools that support time-saving practices such as continuous real-time feedback. In this example, you can predict an outcome of:
Decreased time spent by managers on reviews
Decreased time spent on administrative activities for reviews
Increased amount of feedback exchanged
More satisfying employee experience of the reviews
Increased Employee Engagement
Present an adoption plan
Reassure your executive team by demonstrating you’re considering how your system will be valued, and used, by your people to ensure maximum adoption.
In these early stages of change management, you don’t need to develop a detailed adoption plan: just enough to inspire confidence. However, it is important to show that your team has put thought into the process and are striving for a transition that is as seamless as possible. Additionally, one of the key things to look for in a performance management system is a partner that pays extra attention to the employee experience, and adoption at your company.
When presenting your adoption plan, there are a few points you’ll want to cover:
Added value: Before adoption, your team should have a clear idea of what value your new performance management system will bring to employees across the board.
Timeline: Provide a rough timeline of when you expect to roll-out a new performance management system.
Resources: Consider the resources you need to maximize adoption. Does your performance management vendor offer adoption support?
Questions are proof that your ideas have sparked thought and consideration. If you can anticipate the questions the C-suite will have, you can inspire more confidence in your ideas. When preparing, consider your company’s overall objectives and challenges with your current performance management process.
Here are a few questions you might be asked:
When do you predict we will start to see the results you’ve forecasted?
What is your long-term vision for this project?
How will you measure the success of this new system?
What kind of impact did this transformation have for other companies?
What are your top choices for partners so far in this process?
Even if you don’t have all the answers right away, keep researching and sharing relevant information throughout the process.
Keep the momentum going
Now you’ve convinced your company’s leaders that you need a new performance management system, it’s important to maintain that enthusiasm through the implementation phase.
Be proactive about keeping your C-suite team in the loop throughout the process. Reach out whenever you reach new milestones in the project. Share supporting reports and case studies of other companies that achieved success by transforming their performance management. By demonstrating the value your new performance management system is bringing to your company, you’ll be able to keep the executive level actively engaged in transforming performance management.
At Impraise we help your HR team create a culture that empowers their most powerful asset – people. We have a relentless commitment to your success as HR, and strive to elevate you as a business partner.