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Need management's buy-in for your HR plans? Here's how to get it

by , 18 November 2013
The Labour Helpdesk received this question from a subscriber this week: 'I'm the HR manager for a small engineering firm. I'm the only woman in the office. I feel like I'm not taken seriously in my role as the HR manager, and because of my gender. As a result, my HR strategies fall flat, because I don't have the support of management. What can I do to improve the situation?'

What do you do in this situation?
Here's what the experts at the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management told this subscriber…
There are 11 ways to get management to buy into your HR plans
1.    Engage managers in the process, in these three ways:
  • Give them the opportunity to express their views and solutions
  • Ask for their input on your draft HR plan
  • Ask for their feedback at certain key milestones
2.    Start with solid research and clear objectives
To ensure managers feel comfortable you're 'doing the right things' (which is as important as 'doing things right'), they need to know your HR plan will address specific organisational and employee needs and that it isn't based on, for example, the latest 'gimmick and fad'.
3.    Make a business case
The best way to convince managers that change is needed, is to talk their language. Explain why the business needs to change or why it needs to implement certain initiatives. Remember, managers need to know:
·         How much time and money it'll take to implement the HR plan
·         That it'll make business sense
·         That the end-result will give them a return on their investment (ROI).
4.    Build trust, credibility and relationships
You're more likely to get support from managers with whom you have sound relationships with, and who trust you as a person and your professional opinions and decisions.
5.    Get the support of a champion
You can gain management buy-in to your plan more easily, if you directly or indirectly enlist the support of someone (a champion) who's in a better (if not the best) position to elicit support for your plan.
6.    Obtain top level support
It'll be helpful (if not important) if the CEO/MD communicates his support for projects. You can also use the head of the business to deliver an opening statement during a presentation on specific projects you're planning or embarking upon to demonstrate his support and commitment for the initiative.
7.    Develop the skills of managers
Managers are more likely to support your HR initiatives if they:
·         Don't feel incapable or ill-equipped to do things differently from the past
·       Don't feel inferior for not understanding what you want to achieve
·       Believe they can deal with the new performance requirements
·       Are given time and opportunity to adjust to new systems and requirements.
8.    Communicate the details of the plan
Make sure you explain:
·       What you plan to do
·       Why you want to execute your plan
·       How you're planning to implement your plan
·       When you expect to conclude implementation or deliver results by
·       The results you expect to achieve.
9.    Present an uncomplicated HR plan
If you want to ensure managers listen to, or read, your HR plan, make sure it's written or presented in an uncomplicated way.
10.  Continue to give feedback
Give management regular feedback.
11.  Measure and market successes
Measure, communicate and market your successes of this year. Management will support many initiatives if they can see the difference to the bottom line.

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