By Susanne Barth, Publications Manager
Actively developing employees boosts morale and productivity, and ensures an organisation can face challenges head on. Top executives know that. But convincing them to invest more in talent development isn’t always easy. Unfortunately, HR professionals are not always a part of a company’s strategic decisions. And talent development is often dismissed as "nice for employees", but less important than other priorities. So, how can you increase your influence and win the case for more investment in talent development?
Networking in your organisation is a good way to become more influential and helps you gain more insight into different department’s needs. Networking also creates opportunities for getting involved in decision-making processes early on. So show support, collaborate and position yourself as a trustworthy resource.
In addition, determine how increased investment in talent development will support your company’s strategy and address current – and emerging – challenges. Compile examples, case studies and competitor analyses.
Put yourself in your top executives’ shoes. What will make them listen and take notice? It could be the potential return on investment or cost savings. Or it might be the benefit of retaining valuable talent and improving motivation and productivity.
Be prepared for a “no, we have other higher priorities” response. Have answers and win-win solutions for your executives and talent management strategy ready at hand.
It’s also good to continuously work on communicating clearly and honestly, and listening effectively. Learn how to adapt your communication style. Get to know when to be assertive, factual or expressive.
Ensure that your proposal grabs your management’s attention. This means presenting your ideas clearly, and sharing advantages and practical ideas so that they stand out.
If you get a “no” the first time around, remember that failure can provide us with powerful feedback that can lead to new insights and opportunities. Analyse the reasons behind the “no”, revise your approach and make the necessary changes to improve your influence. Then just be persistent. As former US president Calvin Coolidge once said: “Nothing in this world takes the place of persistence.”
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