10 Steps to Secure Executive Buy-In and Budget to Brave the New Workforce Frontier

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Most executives understand in broad strokes that there has been a clear change in workforce expectations over the past year — and, like it or not, that employees now have the bargaining power.

People are leaving their jobs in record numbers, but not for a better salary. Instead, they’re seeking purpose, belonging, and balance (something I call PB2) from an employer who supports their mental health, values their lives outside of work, and offers a human-centric culture of caring.

This means that there’s more work to be done. 

Convincing the C-suite that caring for employees is the “right thing to do” isn’t the challenge – most understand this on a gut level – but we tend to hit roadblocks when it comes to putting the necessary budget behind it.While most HR teams got quick approval to invest in digital wellbeing resources as the pandemic raged, they’re seeking the next round of funding required to expand and deepen their existing programs.

Employees crave the type of caring environment that allows them to have flexible work arrangements and innovative benefits like childcare stipends, help with household chores, and more. HR teams and employees need to know how to make the business case to the C-suite to get these much-desired benefits.

Below is a simple 10-step approach to help win the support of your C-Suite for taking your wellbeing program to the next level.

Step 1: Start Big 

Instead of simply sharing a list of facts and figures, organize your pitch around the most important and impactful core concepts — the big ideas — that your audience cares about. Right now, that’s probably going to include employees’ focus on mental health, work-life balance, and the role of a wellbeing culture in worker attraction and retention. 

Step 2: State the Inarguable 

Lay out a “soft landing” of incontrovertible facts that everyone agrees upon before presenting new ideas and concepts.

This strategy helps the C-suite feel safe and, therefore, more willing to consider your solution.

Step 3: Unique vision, approach, solution—What Is Defensible?

Convey theparticular edgethat your approach brings to the opportunity and separate it from the lesser alternatives. Define and focus on what makes your solution different, more effective, and ultimately defensible.

Your vision must be personally authentic to your motivation, consistent with your corporate values, and easy to grasp.

Step 4: Competitive Landscape 

Make a case for why your solution is a need-to-have rather than a “nice to have” — and keeps you a step ahead of your competitors.

Motivate with fear here: Lay out what your competitors are doing and make sure you emphasize the importance of leading or at least not being left behind.

Step 5: The Dream Team 

Who has the expertise internally to make it happen? Sing their praises! Build confidence and trust in your ideas by leveraging the talented individuals who will implement your plans. If you curate your team with a variety of well-established, well-liked, and well-respected individuals, you will find that their very involvement will elevate your pitch.

Step 6: Why Now? 

Show why the company needs to seize your project with a sense of urgency. There have been recent shifts in the employee landscape that research shows will significantly impact your ability to attract and retain employees if you fail to address employee needs proactively. 

In fact,more than 43% of millennials saidthey envision leaving their jobs within two years, while only 28% seek to stay beyond five years. The pandemic has made this even worse, withmore than 40% of the global workforceconsidering leaving their jobs this year.

It’s clear: finding tangible solutions can no longer wait.

Step 7: Know Your Elephants

Anticipate and prepare for objections by uncovering (and understanding) the rationale of those who disagree with you.

Drop your defenses and weave countervailing arguments into your pitch. These arguments will neutralize the objections before they ever come up.

Step 8: Make It an Experience 

Enable your audience to visualize a better future with compelling multimedia storytelling that paints a picture of the positive outcomes inherent in your proposal.

Use video, high-resolution photography, and testimonials that celebrate the healthier, happier, more productive, and resilient employees who feel valued and love working for you.

Step 9: Embrace the FOMO 

Apply some social pressure by cultivating influential early adopters to propel your audience towards embracing and supporting your vision. Fear of missing out on the proverbial train leaving the station, combined with the desire to be part of the in-crowd already on board, can drive decision-making in your favor. 

Step 10: Help Me, Obi-Won 

Trigger an emotional response that will help seed support for your cause. Psychological, emotional, and social factors impact decision-making strongly. Tell your audience that you need their help. Without their support, you cannot achieve your bold vision for the company and your employees. Together you will secure this ambitious outcome.

Paint the future that prospects want and help them visualize the ambitious outcome. They’ll be able to see it and feel a part of it, and they’ll ultimately want to help create it.

Lorna Borenstein is the CEO/Founder of Grokker.

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By Lorna Borenstein