Whether improving HR processes through adopting better technology is a New Year’s resolution or simply a task you’re hoping to tackle in 2016, reality is sure to settle in once the ball drops and spring semester begins — especially when it comes to budgets.
“Universities have to watch their budgets; we were never going to get more budget,” said Bev Das, articulating one major challenge she faced as director of HRIS, employment and compensation at Villanova University — doing more with less.
Georgia Southern University experienced similar struggles. “We did not have the money in our budget but I went up the chain and I made a business case for upgrading to a more intuitive talent management system,” said Demetrius Bynes, director of employment services.
Both Bev and Demetrius knew that to procure the budget for recruitment and talent management technology, university decision-makers would need to see how the solutions could benefit their institutions. By building business cases that showed the advantages of new technology, raising interdepartmental support and showing the overall value of talent management resources, you too can make a compelling case to adopt HR technology to better serve your academic mission.
Here’s what you need to know when building your business case:
Step 1: Consider your audience
Creating a compelling business case begins with assessing the interests of your audience.
“If you’re talking to compliance officers, ‘Hey, meet your compliance needs,’ would be the message. For people like HR directors, show how it gets them and their staff out of certain paperwork, so they can think about the more important things,” Bev said. “And the message for the highest level is, ‘We want our department to become strategic and less transactional. And with performance management, for example, we’ll minimize paper, get away from physical signatures and start getting an audit trail.’”
Demetrius considered his audience, and then decided to shape his business cases by first talking about the cost, then the consensus of the staff: “I began to have conversations up the chain about the cost of upgrading and identifying advantages for us meeting that financial need,” he said. “One of the things I pointed out was that their staff below them believed that we needed a more intuitive, user-friendly system.”
Step 2: Gather support
Demetrius also made sure he had support from members outside of the HR department when presenting to university leaders. “One of the key things we did was we sold the idea to our IT folks,” he said. “When we got IT on board as a strategic business partner, the project began to move because when the Vice President of IT said, ‘We need to go in this direction,’ then the conversations changed. It was no longer perceived as something only HR wanted.”