Pitching a new developer hiring initiative is exciting. You’ve done your research, identified a project that could have a significant impact on your company, and you have a plan for maximizing every dollar that you think it will cost. The only thing left is to show your C-Level executives all of the work that you’ve done and ask them to sign a few checks, right?
Before you get ahead of yourself, it’s important to take a step back and acknowledge the risks of this new initiative. Yes, the risks. As a talent acquisition leader, your executive team looks to you to identify all of the potential outcomes of a project, especially those that aren’t ideal. If you’re not willing to identify where your plan could fall short, it’ll be hard to get the green light from C-Level executives to move forward.
The good news is that highlighting these risks can also benefit you. Here are a few reasons why it’s a good idea to acknowledge the risks when you pitch a new idea to executives.
When you’re struggling to get approval from an executive, it’s not because they can’t see the benefits of launching your tech recruiting ideas. It’s because there’s too much uncertainty for them. Identifying the ways that your plan eliminates that guesswork for them—which could make them feel more comfortable about giving you the go-ahead.
Say you want to launch an employer branding campaign for developers on a platform that your executive team isn’t familiar with. You’d likely start with a pitch such as this: “Because this website is popular with the tech candidates we need, we should be able to increase application numbers by 5% in one month and 20% in three months.” That’s a good start, but think about the word “should” in that sentence. What happens if you don’t hit that goal?
The answer to this question is vital to your C-Level leaders as they make a decision about your strategy. To put them at ease, you’d add to this statement by saying, “This increase is contingent on our team’s bandwidth to ramp up to the new platform quickly. If this doesn’t happen within the first month, the risk is fairly low. The price of this campaign covers us through the end of the year and keeps us on track to increase technical applications.”
When you want to optimize your talent management strategy, it’s natural to focus on the impact that your idea will have on the company. But if you’re not careful, you could miss a few critical gaps in your plan—and as a result, your executives might conclude that you’re overpromising in your business case.
So, how is this identifying your risks a benefit to you? It forces you to be your own worst critic, long before anyone else has spent any time evaluating (and making a decision on) your idea.
After you’ve done your initial research, go back and ask yourself three questions. First, how will you measure the success (or failure) of this new developer hiring tactic? Next, be honest about how realistic those key performance indicators are, especially considering your team’s current workload. Finally, what can you do to course-correct if you find that your initiative isn’t generating the results that you expected?
In some cases, your pitch will be so strong that you’ll already have the answers. But if you don’t, this exercise will help you refine your plan—and ultimately, get everyone at your company on board with launching it.