Edelman HR head: Building a case for HR tech amid COVID-19

With budget cuts all around, can you still get buy-in for a new HR system?

Edelman HR head: Building a case for HR tech amid COVID-19

Given the budgetary constraints that many organisations are facing and the many challenges amidst the pandemic, how can HR build an effective business case for new technology right now?

Clare McManus, HR director, SEA & A at Edelman believes the process looks about the same as pre-COVID times — you still need to ‘target’ your case for your ‘audience’.

And showing the numbers to make a convincing case for the leadership team may be even more important than ever. Truth of the matter is COVID-19 may have helped you make a stronger case than before.

READ MORE: How to overcome challenges of HR tech project

“You know, pre-COVID, there was a resistance from our leadership in some HR technologies,” McManus said at HR Tech APAC’s inaugural virtual event.

“[HR tech] is rather expensive and therefore we were unable to proceed, which was very unfortunate. However, now because of COVID, what we’re noticing is the employee experience and engagement is vitally important.

“So, management have become more aware now of the need for certain technologies and they can see how it benefits the organisation. So, pre-COVID it was more difficult. Now, we’re able to sort of put a case forward.”

How to get buy-in with leaders
During her panel session, she shared some tips on how to present a sound case to leaders.

Edelman is currently looking to get a new HR portal, so one way to show its ROI potential is to demonstrate the overall benefit to the business. Her team thus set out to show how it’s vital for employees to have “easy access” to information.

Showcasing how the need for speed when dealing with clients helps build the case, “in terms of: ‘we will be saving time and potentially we’ll be billing more because our employees will be able to go out’” and close more accounts with clients.

READ MORE: Marriotts HR tech director: How to make analytics work for you

She admitted that it’s harder to quantify things like employee engagement.

“When I look at something like employee engagement, it’s very hard to put a monetary value in terms of what you’re saving, but what we’re doing is [for] employee experience and that employee connection, and during these times especially, not having a talk about that would not be wise at all,” she said.

As she mentioned, with leadership seeing a direct impact of employee experience on productivity in real-time, it’s made it easier for HR to connect with management when trying to get buy-in for a new tool or system upgrade.

McManus reminded that you should also remember to use the right language and address your audience’s concerns — and for leadership, the financial bottomline remains a top priority, COVID-19 or not.

“When you’re going to look for that investment, its important [to consider] the audience you’re speaking to,” she said. “But also what’s the argument you’re trying to [make]; what is it you’re trying to achieve at the end of the day?

“Putting that position across to leadership and making them understand as to why you need it is vitally important.”

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