BY Judah Hirsch Articles
At any given scenario, it is essential for a company’s HR department to be progressive and updated on the latest HR trends. They should be able to tell whether or not it is time to upgrade a process or a system to enhance productivity in their department. Take Michelle as an example.
Michelle is working in a company that sells personalized souvenirs. She has been an accountant for a couple of years now, working on the payroll of about a hundred employees. They have a relatively lenient work culture. The company even lets employees take extra vacation leaves on top of government-mandated leaves.
However, Michelle felt a bit concerned about their current payroll system. It didn’t allow for automatic leave tracking and this made her job more and more difficult as time went by. Recently, she also found out that the company’s system is vulnerable to a lot of time log errors. She suspects that a few of their employees have been buddy-punching. This happens when an employee logs in on behalf of another.
Michelle believes that an automatic payroll system would solve these problems. She took it upon herself to prepare a presentation which includes getting ready to field questions from the bosses about her proposed system and preparing the pertinent facts from her end. Now, the question is: would that be enough to convince her bosses?
There are a lot of benefits to using an automated payroll system. Outdated processes can cause losses through errors and time-theft. Important personnel might be spending too much time checking payroll errors and doing data entry. Sick leaves, vacation leaves, and the like, also pose difficulties for manual payroll computing.
It should be easy to see how a more modern system in place will result to a considerable ROI for the business. Such systems usually have low upfront costs. There are systems available that only cost a few hundred pesos a month, some even offer their software for free.
But there remains the matter of convincing the C-suite to try a new technology. Will they see the value of a new system? What questions will you be encountering, and how would you get past them? How do you get their attention long enough for them to realize the good points you are pitching? Selling an upgrade is tough, but selling to your own boss is on a whole different level. How do you do it?
Tailor it to your audience.
According to Harvard Business Review, tailoring the pitch is one of the secrets to success. Research on the goals and values of your boss. These will then shape the content of your proposal. Make sure that the pitch resonates with the listeners’ plans and motivations. In short, tell them what they want to hear (and live up to it).
Are the executives focused on revenue generation? Modernization? Decreasing unwanted costs? What direction is the company taking, and how does the new system play in this direction? These are some of the questions that you need to answer in the pitch. Know and meet the expectations of his listeners.
Make sure that you know the priority of the issue you are addressing. New technologies may seem trivial to big-picture people like the top brass. That is until you show them how an upgrade can drive your business strategy. How does a modernized payroll system play into the company objectives?
Remember that business-framing a pitch is way more effective than moral framing. Making an argument that something is “the standard” is usually met with resistance. A business can’t be expected to do something just because everyone else does it. Also, saying that something is the industry’s “best practice” is ambiguous. Experts say that you need to show the value added instead.
The C-suite basically have the same broad responsibilities. They work to ensure that everyone in the company is able to do their jobs well. They do this by supplying their employees with the necessary tools they need. But before this, they first need to see the problem down to the lowest level.
In this process, documentation can go a long way. Document not just the flaws of the system, but the entire workflow as well. This allows them to see the problem from the employee’s point of view. Go to specifics whenever possible. This will give them a realistic view of the scope of the problem.
It’s also important to ensure your timing is right. These perfect moments come when there’s a change in the company’s direction. That’s when everyone is more open to changes in the structure.
It’s also good to time the pitch when there is a trend forming around the issue. If the pitch is framed to be an important part of this trend, that line of thought might make your case by itself.
Also consider if the pitch will impact an upcoming deadline or important event. For example, it might not be best to pitch a new payroll system a month before filing taxes.
Michelle had all these tips to think about as she prepared her pitch. During the meeting, she presented the new payroll system and how it is a means to upgrade the company’s financial infrastructure. Knowing the company’s focus on employee empowerment, Michelle used it as a leverage and presented the system as a pro-employee factor, citing the projected decrease in discrepancies. The bundled self-service dashboard also makes filing leaves a hassle-free experience.
Needless to say, Michelle was successful. In the same quarter, a modern payroll system was up and running, all thanks to a well-crafted pitch.