If your CEO is anything like ours (hi, Roxanne! 👋), they’re typically focused on a point on the horizon a biiiit further out than the average employee. Don’t get us wrong, that’s as it should be: they’re helming the ship, or driving the Jeep, or whatever metaphor gets the most use at your workplace. But it does mean that some extra translation work or reframing can be required to bridge the gap between your vision and your CEO’s.

For example: getting CEO buy-in for compliance platform budget.

Your CEO has their eye on the prize, so instituting or even leveling up a system that provides long-term benefits but not immediate ARR might not be at the top of their to-do list. But we know how crucial it is to the business, so it’s crucial to figure out how to successfully reframe this issue — making it clear that the Venn diagram of “business need” and “robust HR compliance software” is a perfect circle.

Here’s how.

You have to come correct

Anytime you need buy-in, the very first question you need to answer is “how does what I want support the overall business goals?” If you can’t answer that, you have no business bringing this proposal to your CEO. (Sorry! It’s harsh, but it’s true.)

So that’s your first step. Instead of proposing something in a silo with a pain point like, “We need this because people are complaining,” approach your CEO with an ARR-focus from the jump. 

Even better — ask the CEO and other leaders what their priorities are, where their focus is, and what the biggest risks facing the company are at the moment. Then, make an argument for how the thing you want — in this case, a compliance platform — supports the things they want. (Because it does, we promise!)

Connect the dots between what they want and what you want

Remember: just because a path is clear in your brain doesn’t mean it’ll be clear in your CEO’s brain, so don’t play coy or expect them to make connections on their own. Be clear, specific, and concise in connecting existing issues or potential pitfalls to ARR and business goals.

For example, if you’re getting the brush-off this quarter because Sales missed a quota last quarter and that needs to be the priority, you could come at it from a productivity standpoint. Something like, “I wonder how much time was lost on X procedure or system that isn’t working as expected. Might we have hit that hoped-for milestone with 20% more commitment?”

Once you have their attention, you can loop in topics like employee engagement and manager effectiveness, both of which have proven effects on productivity and can be measurably increased with training and other compliance platform tools. 

Talking points for making the case for specific products and trainings

For example, here’s how we’d make the case for some of Ethena’s flagship products, courtesy of our very own VP of People, Melanie Naranjo. (What do you mean, you aren’t following her on LinkedIn, yet??)

CourseTalking Point
Harassment PreventionIf harassment prevention training isn’t (yet) a legal requirement in your area, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to skip. Economic stressors create workplace stressors, and before you know it, you could be inching toward a toxic workplace environment. 

So while it’s tempting to conserve resources in the short term, remind your CEO of what’s at stake long term. Not only does productivity go down in toxic workplaces, but the social tax you’ll pay when best practices start to slip is almost like bad credit; it can follow you around for months if not years, taking the wind out of even your highest performer’s sails. And you already know that harassment prevention training is way less costly than replacing those folks.
Management EssentialsWhen pitching a manager training series like Ethena’s, make sure your ask feeds into the priorities of the business and not your own. For example, how about a framing like: “Half the reason we’re missing out on deals is because people don’t know how to delegate, so their focus is divided.” 

Or, if people aren’t being held accountable for their actions and it’s affecting the bottom line, point that out too — don’t be coy. The goal here is to highlight an existing, ARR-based pain point, and draw a clear line to a potential solution.
Diversity, Equity, and InclusionIf you don’t have an existing DEI program in place, you’re already missing out on so much opportunity due to lack of innovation and folks sharing their perspectives. After all: the fewer perspectives you have in the room, the fewer options you have as far as next steps for the business, so you can find yourself narrowing precisely when you should be broadening. 

Plus, optics aren’t everything, but they are important. Companies can become associated with their DEI strategies in both good and bad ways, and lackluster initiatives can not only lead to reputational loss, but actual business loss. (Some companies ask vendors to provide specs on how they’re improving their culture, so if you can’t answer the question for yourself, how will you answer it for them?)
Hotline + Case ManagementIf you want to demonstrate a commitment to employee comfort and safety, there’s really no way to do it quite like bringing on a system that allows folks to escalate incidents of misconduct. You’re showing that you value not just their input but their comfort as well, which can help folks get invested (or reinvested) in their workplace. 

This is also particularly important if your organization is currently struggling with company politics, with folks spending time complaining, venting, avoiding each other, or going around each other. If you can do something to show you care about the environment, that can ease some of the tension and get productivity back on track.

Know your role

Across the board, what it comes down to:  is how prepared you are to handle an employee mistake, whether large or small? Will it derail you, or do you have the tools you need to respond effectively without losing the employee or damaging trust? Our product has tools for how to come back from precisely those situations, so folks talk to each other and learn from each other instead of blowing up or shutting down.

Pushing for these tools is actually you doing your job; by advocating for these things, you’re being not just strategic but proactive. You’re helping your CEO, you’re supporting the business, and you’re shoring up the strength of your team — the trick is just finding a way to frame that fact so it’s clear to more folks than just you. 

Ethena has your back, with a platform and resources that address issues relevant to your day-to-day

You know better than anyone how to do your job, so let us do what we’re best at — supporting you in that endeavor.

Ethena’s best-in-class content, resources, and platform have been designed to meet the ever-changing needs of modern teams just like yours, so we’d love to partner with you long term to meet your goals — no matter what they are. Talk to a member of our Sales team today, or peruse our pricing page to see which combination of tools might be the best for you and your unique needs.

Let's build a better workplace together. Button: Let's Talk