How To Obtain Upper Management Buy-In For Sourcing

Everyone has been in a position of justifying their role within their company. As organizations have weathered the storm of recessions, layoffs and business failure, nobody is taken for granted.

That includes, unfortunately, sourcers as well.

Fortunately, sourcers have a strong case to make when it comes to the value they add to their respective business units. Whether you’re fighting to keep a sourcing function or to expand it like many are today, you’ll need to make a solid argument that resonates in terms that upper management understands. And as someone who knows what does and doesn’t work when it comes to obtaining that buy-in, I wanted to share with you what has worked for me when it comes to selling the value sourcers bring to the table.

Getting Funded

Here are some ideas you can use to make your case:

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  1. Figure out the cost of open positions, or “cost-not-to-hire” which can be estimated by adding up the revenue lost each day those positions go unfilled. For example take the productive output of an average day in this role, and extrapolate that out to a full year’s worth of productive days (approximately 260 working days per year).
  2. Identify what motivates your business leadership, and make your case in that language. They could be motivated by a number of reasons so paint your picture according to what is most important to them. For example:
    • Is it reduction of cost?
    • It is reduction of time to fill?
    • Is it pain of positions going unfilled?
    • Is it to increase the quality of hire?
    • Is it secrecy or confidentiality?
  3. Are there any other critical projects like for example a new product line or something that would cause your company to seek an entirely new kind of talent the organization has never worked with before?
  4. Other metrics that could have strong value when proving your case to management include:
    • Reduction in cost per hire
    • Improved performance evaluation
    • Decreased time to perform (from recruited to hired and productive)
    • Reduction in cost per source (job boards, purchased research, etc.)
    • Increase in quality of hire


Change is inevitable, and corporate sourcing teams are among the first to get demolished when it happens. To remain a going concern within the organization the most important aspect to maintaining sustainability is to evangelize. That’s it. Just TELL someone! Spread the gospel of sourcing among the business leaders, executives, and influential stakeholders.

Identify a couple of business champions who will help you spread the work on the good work you and your sourcing team do. These should be your champions who will defend your case in the event of a leadership change, or other major environmental changes.

Cultivate relationships with hiring managers – specially your repeat customers. They can be your number one advocates. If your leadership changes make sure your hiring managers remember you and go to bat for you, or at least ask the new leadership to keep the sourcing team going. Happy hiring managers have often volunteered to fund some of my projects.

Shally is a globally recognized leader in Sourcing, Recruitment Research and Recruitment Marketing. He is a professional Speaker (NSA Professional member) often requested to speak about sourcing strategy and recruitment marketing. He is the founder of JobMachine, Inc. now EVP of Arbita, Inc. the premier provider of Sourcing Consulting Services and Research Training. Shally has built and/or advised sourcing organizations at over 200 companies like Microsoft, Google, Coca-Cola, Cisco and Motorola. He is Instrumental in modeling centralized recruitment organizations and has a reputation as an authority in Internet search, pioneer in recruitment research. Shally is frequently a contributor to top industry forums and often headline at leading conferences.


1 Comment on “How To Obtain Upper Management Buy-In For Sourcing

  1. Awesome pointers Shally – good to see you here again!

    One of the issues still remain is that sometimes management looks at quick fixes than long term solution. Getting a low cost (RPO OR “third party”) recruiters to do sourcing work is one of those side-effects. While they have their own space and may get you some cost relief in very short run, this move may ruin the long term advantage of a fully “In-House” sourcing strategy. 

    Sourcers are always looked as luxury headcount and not a necessary. I’m sure the overall perspective will change sooner than later…

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