How to Convince Executives to Back Your Technology Vision

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Jennifer Stalians, the Director of People Operations at Charlotte Russe, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share her insight on the intersection of sales, marketing, and technology. Jennifer discussed how to successfully pitch new HR technology to your company, as well as the importance of gaining executive support for a software purchase.

Jennifer Stalians Interview

Below are a few highlights from our conversation:

TechnologyAdvice: What advice would you give to people in HR when they’re trying to implement new technology or HR software?

Jennifer: You need a really good relationship with your vendor, and to be able to engage with your vendor. They are the expert in their product, and they can lead you through the right ways to implement and get early adoption and quick adoption from your team.

You also need to engage all the cross functional partners because sometimes this kind of technology is viewed as just HR software, but it impacts a lot of other areas in the company. So you need to ensure you have all those areas involved in your implementation, and that you get the best HR software. If you don’t, you can get some pretty big resistance and roadblocks along the way — things you didn’t think of.

If you don’t have the right people involved early on, it can cause problems down the road with your implementation.

TechnologyAdvice: Adoption is very people-driven and focused on getting people on the same page. Are there any challenges to get executives, management, and your leadership team on board? How did you gain buy-in for your HR software?

Jennifer: Regardless of your industry, companies are always looking at budget. So cost is always going to be a factor. But being able to show the “why” in these situations — not only in dollars but in efficiency — that’s really what we focused on. Our processes were so inefficient, so we showed the executive team the time we would save our stores. It’s time that they get back. It’s time that can be spent focusing on what they need to focus on — and not doing paperwork.

Gaining buy-in was hard early on. My coworker Kelly and I had a clear vision for what we wanted to do, and how we wanted it to happen — and you can’t force that on people. You have to bring them with you. I think what I learned (and I learned a little bit the hard way) was that rather than exercising my opinion (which was a strong one) about what we needed to do, I needed to show people what it was I saw and why I got so excited about it.

I needed open those doors for the team to meet with the vendor, so they can see what the product can do, and have conversations with other clients. Then it wasn’t just me saying, “Hey, I think we should do this and I feel strongly about it, and therefore you should just believe me.” It was giving them the resources I saw that got me to why I thought it was the right thing to do. And then let them see it for themselves. People will draw their own conclusions.

Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or (download the show) to listen later. You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud, in order to get alerts about new episodes.

This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice.

Jenna Elkins
Jenna Elkins is a media relations coordinator at TechnologyAdvice. She covers marketing automation, business intelligence, project management, and other emerging technology.

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