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How to Sell Your Benefits Strategy to the C-Suite

How to Sell Your Benefits Strategy to the C-Suite
Posted on Tuesday, August 9, 2016 by Rae Shanahan

Months of planning go into the most important time of the year for us HR pros – annual enrollment. 


After all of the research, planning, negotiating, and preparation, one last hurdle remains before enrollment begins: Presenting the benefits strategy to the C-suite. The presentation is a big moment – a time to shine and highlight HR’s role at the table with senior leaders.

To help you nail it and get unanimous C-suite support, we recently held a webinar session about how to sell your benefits strategy to the C-suite, featuring two experts who shared techniques to ensure a successful meeting. If you missed the live session, don’t worry! The entire presentation is available now for on-demand viewing. Too busy prepping for AE for an hour webinar? Here are our experts’ five best tips and tricks:

1. Know your audience 

Too often people use the same blanket communications to address different audiences. However, a lack of differentiation means your messages may fall on deaf ears, as people wonder, “What’s in it for me?” Tailor your communications to resonate with leadership. C-suite leaders tend to care most about two things: people and profit. So, reel in executives by using hard numbers – internal trend data and/or third-party research – to show how your strategy will improve your organization’s bottom line. Then, back up the data with employee feedback that shows why your strategy is not only smart for business but also meets employees’ needs.

2. Employ empathy

Part of knowing your audience is being able to put yourself in their shoes – in other words, empathizing with them. Empathy is a powerful tool that can help you connect with leaders on a more personal level so you can win them over with your benefits strategy.

To employ empathy in your presentation, take time to understand what motivates senior leaders. Beyond healthy profits and a happy workforce, what do they really want? To be the fastest-growing company in your industry or region? To be the most socially responsible company? To have the highest employee retention? Having a firm grasp on their key objectives will help you tailor your message to them and successfully demonstrate how your benefits strategy fits their vision.

3. Lay a foundation for the future

Think about this presentation as an opportunity to pique your C-suite’s interest in having an ongoing conversation about benefits throughout the year. Show them how benefits and HR can help them overcome business challenges and create a more engaged workforce.

4. Tell a story

Focus on the why, not the what. Tell the story of what your strategy looks like in the lives of real employees, to help the C-suite understand why they should care and why benefits are relevant. Executives are inundated with so much information. Use soundbites and anecdotes to help create sticky information that will be memorable.

5. Prepare, prepare, prepare

What you say is just as important as how you say it. Avoid presentation flubs by practicing as much as possible beforehand. If time is tight, commit at least 15 minutes to nailing the introduction, which is the part when people tend to be most nervous.

Practice other important presentation tricks, such as smiling when speaking, being aware of your body language and talking slowly. People pay more attention to speakers who are confident and passionate.


Keep these tactics in mind to set up a successful and meaningful dialogue about benefits with your senior leaders, and remember we’re here to support you!