How to get the MD onboard with performance management software for your SME
The right performance management software and process will make or break your SME. That’s your opening line to your Managing Director (MD) as you convince them to invest in new software for your business. Lots of HR leaders concentrate on the benefits to the individuals and the long-term improvements for the business. But when you pitch new performance management software to your MD, you need to give them a hook first, and then explore the details.
They need to understand the benefits, obviously, but it's all about structuring your approach to get the right result. You know the importance of aligning objectives, having great conversations, and regularly providing feedback. But your MD is busy, and those things might not be top of their agenda. So grab their attention and then walk them through why they and their leaders need a new performance management approach. Be ready to explain:
- What performance management software is and why you need it
- The importance of goal setting and aligning objectives
- The benefits of new performance management software that matter to your MD
- Ways of getting a return on investment (ROI)
- The risk of doing nothing and keeping your traditional annual review
Why your SME needs new performance management software - your one-minute pitch to the MD
Now you’ve got them hooked, you need to tell them what performance management software is and why it matters to the business. Focus on key points to get your message across:
What is performance management software?
It’s a platform to help managers and employees track performance against goals. It encourages regular feedback and supports employee development and commitment so, ultimately, it leads to better business performance.
How does the software help?
Keep your pitch for new software focused on elements your MD cares about. So:
Weekly check-ins and aligned goals help everyone move towards the same target and give feedback as you go. No more retrospective sessions about where it all went wrong six-months later. Instead, there’s a focus on adjusting course now to increase the likelihood of successfully meeting Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).
Pitching the importance of goal setting and aligning objectives for SMEs in your new software
Before you can talk money, you need buy-in to change your process. So your MD must understand the importance of setting goals and aligning your vision, goals, and OKRs.
Goal-setting's fundamental. Not long-range, impossible to achieve goals that move as soon as you've set them. But short-term OKRs that can move with changing business priorities. So employees know what to focus on, even when there's a lot of change. And the key is getting alignment across everyone, so:
- Be clear on the vision - everyone needs to know where you're heading. Using the right performance management approach and software ensures your vision is your guiding star. So employees understand where they fit and want to be part of it.
- Set out specific business goals - performance management software's a great way to help reinforce SME business goals for everyone, so pitch it to your MD. People are reminded weekly as they log in to make their updates. So it's easier to remember what you're working towards and why it actually matters.
- Agree relevant OKRs - Help managers and employees contribute to business success. Encourage OKRs with clear links to business goals and targets. So employees feel committed and motivated to deliver more. And you can spot issues ahead of time, so there's an opportunity to adjust when needed.
Selling in the benefits of performance management software to your SME MD
Not all MDs are made equal. Some are data people, some hate technology, some have control issues. The others (the dream) are fully committed to doing what's right for their people and their business regardless.
But, in case you don't have an MD who magically gets it, consider how to pitch new performance management software to yours (who's probably a combination of the other three). Outline the key benefits your MD is interested in and get them committed to the principle of change:
Pitching new software to your MD who's numbers driven
Your focus here is delivery and how changing your performance management system will increase productivity and result in better performance. You must explain:
- Weekly check-ins get you closer to the numbers: regular updates help you to track progress proactively. You can see how where people are against targets and employees can escalate quickly when there's a problem they can't solve.
- Improved communication helps boost performance: Employees are clearer on where they're going. And they're happy to ask questions because they know they'll get support. Managers are more aware of blockers so they help address the issues and employees deliver more without those barriers in the way.
- Regular feedback improves resilience: people become better able to manage change. They learn how to accept feedback and make adjustments to their course. So they continue to drive forward rather than getting de-railed for weeks.
Reasons for the MD who hates technology to buy-in to new software
These need to know the change is worth it. So pitch to your MD how the new software will be easy to learn and make their job easier, not harder. Sell them on integration with existing systems and automated processes that take away the thinking. And help them see the importance of connecting with their teams:
- Seamless integration with Microsoft Teams: no extra passwords to remember (Single Sign On takes care of that), and Active Directory and ISO17001 handle the security aspects. But the best part is, it looks and feels familiar. Systems like Weekly10 are designed to be easy to adopt making users feel comfortable quickly.
- Automatic calendar entries and reduced administration: When systems talk to each other, integration is easy. So with Weekly10, review reminders pull through automatically into your calendar. And administration reduces by up to 90%; making discussions more valuable, and employees more engaged.
- Focus on the people, not the process: weekly check-ins and regular reviews help you give timely feedback and celebrate success. You can focus on personal motivation and development needs, rather than trawling your memory banks for what happened back in the spring. So the emphasis shifts away from the process. And instead centres on building great relationships with your teams.
The MD with control issues: performance management software helps them stay in control
This MD will love the idea of weekly check-ins and OKRs that tie to business goals - regular updates are their happy place. So sell them on those, as well on the benefits of easy reporting, adjusting priorities, and understanding how employees feel as new initiatives launch.
- Simple reports to spot bad managers: Run reports to see who isn't talking to their teams and create action plans to help them address the issue. It may be a skills gap, an attitude issue, or a growing case of disengagement. Whatever the cause, it needs action to improve the situation. So use new performance management software as a way to pitch more control to your MD.
- Review performance in a proactive way: No more excuses, or forgotten objectives. OKRs keep everyone heading in the same direction and allow quick adjustments when priorities need to change. Pass-up and pass across actions quickly flag blockers to completion, and employees start working together to find solutions as they go.
- Receive sentiment insights: Analyse the language people put in their weekly updates to understand how they feel about the business as a whole. And identify any changes as you launch new programmes and initiatives. So you can ride the waves of positivity, and quickly address bubbling concerns.
- Ongoing support from the software provider: Get the best from your new performance management software by making sure it's doing what you need for your SME. Weekly10 provides HR Customer Success partners who guide you to use the system effectively, and help you make changes or solve any issues along the way.
How to demonstrate ROI to your MD during your pitch for new HR software
So you've told them the issue, you've explained what the new process will do, and you've tailored the benefits to their style. But you need to go one step further. Your proposal will be competing with other projects and ideas, so provide solid reasons for the MD to choose yours. When you choose Weekly10, the average time for ROI is 10 months versus 17 months for other providers, so explain why this change will be so effective for your business.
Improved employee engagement and productivity
People who understand what they're doing find it easier to perform. That means employees who know and connect with the vision of the company are more committed to delivering against its goals. Not to mention, highly engaged teams see up to 23% greater profitability and 18% productivity. So moving towards weekly check-ins and flexible OKRs will return more than your initial investment.
Demonstrate opportunities for better decision-making in your software pitch to the MD
Use weekly check-ins to get immediate updates on how people are performing and feeling. Look at trends for progress against objectives. Spot those teams who are flourishing, or floundering, and provide the recognition or support they deserve. And see how well business initiatives are doing, so you can change priorities if they're going the wrong way.
Benefit from flexibility that works for you and your teams
Rigid structures at inconvenient times - hallmarks of an annual appraisal. Yet using frequent updates and regular reviews means you can enjoy flexibility. And apply a process to suit everyone around peaks and troughs of work. So employees don't get dragged through appraisals at their busiest times, when managers are stressed and ignore all the good things employees achieved earlier in the year. Instead, have great conversations when the chaos has calmed, and meanwhile provide weekly updates to support issues and celebrate success.
Handling objections about the risks of doing nothing and keeping the annual review
While most of your proposal needs to focus on the need for change, you also need to deal with any challenges. Questions that ask 'what's the point of this shift?' or 'why should we bother, isn't it just hassle we don't need?'
There will always be some MDs who are happy to keep the status quo. If it isn't doing harm, then why make the change? But the reason is because the damage is being done, year in, year out. It's just so normal now, you can't even see it.
Traditional reviews are dreadful ways to track progress, and many people see them as a tick-box exercise. Objectives are set with no link to business drivers, and then ignored for six-months, by which time they're irrelevant.
They don't engage your people, they don't talk about development (five minutes at the end of a review doesn't count), and they don't help you track progress throughout the year. So, if ever there were clear indications this process needs to change, those would be it.
Now is the time to introduce a performance management process that's intuitive, flexible and agile for modern business. So pitch to your MD that new software will stop them doing more harm than good.
Instead, help them see how a weekly check-in is the foundation for moving forward, and download our guide: Embracing continuous performance management to buy them further into the idea. Get your copy below.