When seeking budget approval for potentially ‘out of the box’ HR programs and initiatives, it’s important to keep your competition top-of-mind.
“Every organisation has a long list of things they’d like to do and a limited amount of money and time to achieve those things. You’re competing with every part of the business for funding and prioritisation,” said Chris Lamb, human resources director, LendLease Australia.
Therefore, to deploy a powerful persuasion strategy that helps you win resources over and above your inter-office competitors, you have to put your request in a language that decision-makers understand.
“Create a business case that makes sense and link that to the financial drivers of the organisation,” Lamb said.
This means engaging your stakeholders by being clear about ‘what success would look like’, and summarising how they could articulate the financial value of the initiative, said Rosemarie Dentesano from Right Management.
“Might it be through decreased use of sick leave? Improvement in employee engagement and the impact on productivity gains? With this information, you can develop the ROI to support the initiative,” she said.
With any pitch for resources, but especially for experimental HR programs, it’s good practice to start with a pilot program in order to seek evidence of impact, which can then be used to support the intention of the initiative.
“These results can be used to seek further funding, so make sure milestones and successes are tracked throughout the initiative and provide feedback to key organisational influencers. If leaders can see the benefits of the initiative, it will increase the likelihood of program repetition in the future,” Dentesano said.
Now more than ever, HR managers need to build on their ability to negotiate with key players in order to successfully pitch ideas and programs that need budget approval. The key to success is less about what you want to say, and more about how you say it.