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A framework to get internal buy in for new HR tools

BY -

Phil Strazzulla

May 5, 2021

Internal stakeholder alignment for any large initiative is really challenging. Getting buy in from the right people for new software is no different.

In fact, it may even be harder as new software is typically by definition a bit outside the scope of normal business. Getting new budget to buy some AI powered tool, best of breed performance management system, etc is tough!

This is where a cross functional buying committee can be a great strategy.  

What I’ve also found myself get wrong in the past, and see others struggle with, is clearly articulating the key points behind a new tool once one is identified.

Everyone is super busy, and CFOs/CPOs/CEOs are even more busy than the rest. If we can’t tell key stakeholders what they need to know in a concise manner, we are not going to get the budget, IT signoff, communications help, etc that we need to be successful.

And, especially when I get excited, it can be easy to ramble down tangents that my counter part audience just doesn’t care that much about!

With that in mind, I wanted to share a framework I’ve been using that’s been very helpful to internally pitch new tools:

  • Problem: What is the pain we are experiencing, using as much data as possible along with a few poignant anecdotes.
  • Use case: How will this new software solve this problem, specifically addressing the pain you laid out previously.
  • Vendor: What vendor (s) are you considering and why? What research have you done?
  • Cost: What are the costs in year one and going forward? What about the time needed to implement/maintain, and other non dollar costs?
  • MVP: If possible, is there a way to test this before a full rollout? What does success look like? What are the KPIs?
  • ROI: How much money and time will we save in specific terms if this is successful?

The keys here are to communicate all the work you’ve done to think through this problem, and to use data when articulating the pain and potential outcomes.

Let’s say for example we are pitching our CFO to get budget for a new interview scheduling software.

  • Problem: We hire 250 customer success people per year, and have a staff of five HR coordinators who mostly just schedule interviews with these candidates, which costs us $350k/yr in salary and benefits.  Plus, we’ve had some real scheduling disasters where human error led to a bad candidate experience.
  • Use case: We can buy an AI powered tool that will coordinate with our calendars to schedule all of these interviews, even last minute changes.  It can also assist our DEI efforts by ensuring we have equitable interview panels.
  • Vendor: We’ve looked at 7 different vendors and narrowed it down to one.  It integrates with our ATS so that candidates will automatically be scheduled after a recruiter moves them forward in the process.
  • Cost: This tool will cost $14,000 in year one which includes a $2,500 implementation fee we think we can negotiate.  It’ll be $13,000 going forward assuming we stay on our current hiring plan.
  • MVP: We can actually use a light weight version of this tool for two weeks with minimal time commitment to see how much it cuts down on manual scheduling efforts.  But, I want to make sure we get the budget before I spend time on this test.
  • ROI: I assume we’ll still need one HR coordinator focused on scheduling even with this tool.  However, we can save around $250k/yr, and divert the existing headcount to corporate recruiting where we are in desperate need of help.  I believe we can also decrease time to fill by 4-5 days, but that would be icing on the cake.

I find this framework is really helpful if I go to a conference and see something that knocks my socks off, or someone I trust gives me a tool recommendation.

I have shiny object syndrome, and can get really excited about something new which clogs my judgement and drastically decreases my ability to tell others what they need to know in a digestible manner.

This framework a great way to bring my thinking back down to earth, and most importantly an effective tactic to clearly explain to someone with no context why I’m so excited.

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