In The HR Tech Workshop in the Josh Bersin Academy, we dive into all the critical steps HR professionals must take to successfully select and launch HR tech solutions. This piece is a sample from the Workshop.
While we’re evaluating HR tech vendors and determining which tools will best serve our people, we need to also think about getting buy-in from our colleagues. Without cross-functional support, we’re not likely to succeed. When we think about each group of stakeholders, we need to ask ourselves: What are their concerns and their needs? How might our HR tech tool help or hinder their work? The answers will be different, but our process for reaching out to them can follow the same basic pattern.
Here are six steps to gaining the support of key stakeholders:
- Determine who your stakeholders are and what categories they fall into. Consider the level of influence of each individual stakeholder or stakeholder group in the context of your HR tech initiative. Do they have the power to make it succeed? To kill it? To accelerate your progress? To slow you down?
- Explore the triggers that might worry or excite stakeholders. Especially when it comes to the new tool and the changes it may create. Will they throw support behind you once you show them meaningful data? Or will they express opposition the moment they hear about the idea? What will their anxieties and concerns be? Are those valid? How will you respond to them?
- Compare the capabilities you already have with ones you'll eventually need. Then, identify gaps that must be filled by stakeholders versus the ones you may be able to fill from within your own team. Are you missing engineering skills, financial resources, necessary data, or something else? How will you manage employee support—will it be a mixture of HR and IT? Do you need sign-off from legal or compliance?
- Create a value proposition for each stakeholder—financial, functional, and emotional. Create goals and performance indicators from the point-of-view of each stakeholder and then be ready to communicate them clearly. Which benchmarks will compel stakeholders to act? How will they measure success? Why is this beneficial to them?
- Be a compelling storyteller. Think deeply about who your stakeholders are and how they communicate. Do they want to hear employee user stories firsthand? Do they want to see the data? Do they want the details or a high-level overview? Being able to communicate your ideas in a polished, personal, and compelling way is critical to gaining support.
- Be ready to manage conflicting opinions and needs. It is important to craft a holistic model to manage the inevitable trade-offs between the (sometimes divergent) interests and perceptions of different stakeholders—even allies can have different motivations. What will you do when important stakeholders disagree with one another? Is there a hierarchy of stakeholders when it comes to decision making? Who else can help you navigate the stakeholder landscape?
Throughout every stage of the process, remember that data is your best ally. Well-interpreted and clearly presented data—the hard facts of how you know your HR tech initiative will work—can be incredibly powerful when engaging stakeholders. It assuages concerns and offers otherwise unknowable information. The key is to present the right data to the right people at the right time.