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How HR can pitch new employee performance management software to your CFO

When it comes to new HR software, your Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is interested in two main things – cost and return on investment (ROI). So you need to present a compelling case that outlines both. As HR Director, it’s easy to focus on the employee benefits of performance management systems. But they can only form part of your pitch for new software to the CFO.

In this series of articles, you’ll find advice on how to get buy-in from different senior leaders when changing your performance management approach and investing in new software. You’ll learn more about their priorities, so you can put together a convincing proposal and get the investment you need. When pitching to the CFO, you’ll consider:

  • What performance management software is and why it matters
  • Why you need your CFO as an advocate
  • Demonstrating ROI on your investment
  • Outlining the costs of new performance management software

Performance Management Software – your elevator pitch to the CFO

You can’t assume your CFO knows what performance management software is or why it matters. So give them the 60-second summary and get them up to speed.

Start with what performance management software is

It's a way for managers and employees to:

  • track performance against goals.
  • provide regular two-way feedback.
  • support employee development and engagement.

And all that leads to better business performance.

Then explain how performance management software works

Best practice performance management uses:

  • Weekly check-ins: two-way feedback where employees update progress and highlight concerns. And managers remove barriers and provide support where employees are going off track. Meanwhile, everyone celebrates success regularly, which improves performance and employee engagement.
  • Objectives and Key Results (OKRs): these align with business priorities, unlike many traditional appraisal goals. So everyone focuses on achieving the same thing. And you can adjust course easily through regular, monthly reviews.

Moving away from traditional once or twice a year annual reviews can't happen in isolation. You need the right system to support it. So you must propose performance management software that enables the new approach.

Securing your CFO as an advocate

Your CFO wears several hats and they're critical to helping you convince the Board your pitch for new software's worth the investment. They must recognise the benefits of changing your internal strategy for performance management and support the funds you need to drive business improvements. So understand their priorities and focus your arguments around impact on digital transformation and corporate culture.

This isn’t just about presenting a new piece of tech. It’s about selling the opportunities your CFO appreciates:

  • Clear reporting on performance allows you to spot issues proactively.
  • Better alignment with company goals within and across functions leads to improved productivity, innovation.
  • The administrative burden to complete annual reviews reduces by up to 90%.
  • It provides flexibility to adjust timing of annual reviews to avoid unnecessary stresses and peak activities (e.g. closing annual accounts or preparing company tax returns).

Talking your CFO's language - include ROI in your software pitch

Your discussion with the CFO can’t just look short-term. They need information about medium to long term impacts too. And they want to know when they'll see a return on their investment.

The average ROI for performance management systems is 17 months; for Weekly10, it’s 11 months.  And ROI isn’t just about pure financial terms either. You must present other metrics too:

  • Improved employee engagement – better communication creates better relationships. So use sentiment insights to get real-time data on how employees are feeling and take proactive steps to address concerns. Because a highly engaged workforce can create a profitability increase of up to 23%.
  • Better alignment through OKRs – OKRs allow employees to see a clear link between their work and business priorities. And regular reviews allow you to adjust direction easily. So employees remain motivated to deliver, even during periods of significant change.
  • Culture of recognition – weekly check-ins encourage celebrating success as it happens. And feedback lets employees adjust their course if they’re going off track. So they achieve more and feel motivated to keep delivering regularly.
  • Lower employee turnover – all these factors contribute to better retention, fewer sick days, and lower recruitment costs. And all you need is a performance management process that supports employees to feel valued.

Pitching the costs of new HR software to your CFO

There's no point talking costs until the CFO buys in to the principle of changing your performance management approach. So position the proposal first. Then show balance as you pitch for new software and look for your CFO’s support.

Costs of the new HR software

  • Systems costs: include figures for implementation and on-going support.
  • Training costs: identify the training required to make this change happen. Be realistic about the impacts on the whole business in both time and money.
  • Exit clauses from existing providers: factor these in while you switch platforms and explain why it's important, especially if you're paying double for a while.

Potential savings to be realised with a new employee performance tool

  • Employee engagement surveys: lose the cost of the annual survey, and the overhead of time needed for in-depth analysis. Instead use in-built reports from systems like Weekly10, and identify opportunities for the HR team to add more value.
  • Recruitment costs: lower turnover means fewer resignations. The result? Lower agency spend. So take time to model this impact and plot the potential savings over the next few years.
  • Improved productivity: engaged employees have better attendance. So absence drops, and you see fewer cost impacts coupled with improved delivery and profitability.

There are many things to consider when pitching new software to any member of the executive, but the focus with your CFO must be ROI. Yes, costs matter, but they’re looking at the balance. So help them understand the overall impact of a change in performance management approach.

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