Understanding the importance of executive buy-in for a new HRMS

You can see a clear need for a new HRMS system in your organization. Maybe this will be the first time somebody tries to introduce such technology, or maybe it’s a case of replacing the old HRMS, either way you can see the advantages such an investment offers. But not everyone shares your vision. And you don’t have the final decision.

You can either forget about it and focus on your other responsibilities or you can take up the challenge and ‘sell’ the idea of a new HRMS to senior management. Unsurprisingly, what follows is focused on the latter option and offers a route to building a persuasive case that will sway those with their hands on the purse strings, including:

  • Understanding the importance of senior buy-in
  • Gaining support from other departments/managers/employees
  • Highlighting the existing issues
  • Measuring and presenting ROI forecasts
  • Obtaining commitment to a project plan

So, why is it so important to overcome the notoriously short attention span of the C-suite and generate some enthusiasm at that level?

Recommended Reading: HRMS Selection Survival Guide - Select the right HRMS for executive buy-in

First of all, quite simply it’s because the C-suite is in charge.

However flat our organizations and corporate structures become, there is still a hierarchy and the CEO (or equivalent) is at the top, surrounded by various ‘Chief’ officers and Directors. Even if you have control of the HR budget, don’t be tempted by the adage, “it is easier to apologize later than seek permission now”. After all, one potential consequence of an unsupported purchase is an HRMS that is nothing more than a white elephant, and an empty budget!

Second, the successful implementation of a new HRMS depends on more than just buying the best and most suitable solution.

Return on investment relies on adoption by users. The more people using the available features – employee self-service, management analytics, and so on – the more value the organization will extract from the system. As for the C-suite, their position at the ‘top of the pyramid’ makes them role models and influencers. If they are anti-HRMS then so will a significant slice of the workforce be. Never forget that learning to use new software requires work and effort. Why should a supervisor or a clerk bother putting that effort in if the CEO isn’t?

Finally, the best HRMS systems add value to an organization.

These values are aligned with and supporting the achievement of the core KPIs. The C-suite is ultimately responsible for overall business performance and it’s just downright treading-on-their-toes to buy and implement a technology solution that will have a significant impact on their ultimate area of responsibility. After all, you wouldn’t enjoy someone from Sales engaging an HR consultant to improve your policies and processes, would you?

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall