Whether an HR budget is lavish or low-key, organizations are quite rightly scrutinizing their spend, and business owners continue to demand more from their investments than ever before. In this digital age, organizations are paying more attention than ever to the competitiveness in attracting and maintaining talent. Executives have learned that human capital is not just an expensive cost center—it is the area of the organization with the potential to offer huge returns of productivity, innovation, and customer engagement!
So, what is the secret to getting the most from HR funds?
Before any budget optimization tips can be provided, it is important to define what the Human Resources department needs to achieve. Aligning HR objectives with the wider strategic aims of the business is the first crucial step to maximizing ROI. If business growth is on the cards, for example, part of the budget needs to be allocated for recruitment and retention. If absences are a concern, investment in wellbeing initiatives may be imperative. It is unlikely that the department can avoid spending money, so making careful expenditure decisions and seeking added-value are probably the priorities instead.
Once this is has been established, every HR professional needs to start looking at its peers. Knowledge transfer is becoming the norm, so however busy your working week may feel, try to find the time to investigate what other HR teams are up to and learn from them. Look for advice-led blogs, networking opportunities, and even LinkedIn forums – all provide a great way to stay informed, seek ‘real life’ guidance and pick up budget optimization tips! The ‘always learning’ mentality is important internally too, as it will ensure the ongoing upskilling of the workforce, irrespective of a formal external training plan.
At this point, there’s another question that needs to be answered: how much is the company paying for legal advice?
Here’s why: the legislation is constantly evolving and tribunals are on the up, frequent ad hoc queries for operational tasks and events can soon become costly, with such spend unlikely to translate into comparable commercial benefits. A subscription to an HR helpline provides a more affordable alternative but guidance is typically generic and risk-averse, which often means HR teams don’t receive the most appropriate advice for their individual scenario. There are more cost-effective ways to ensure legislative compliance and client-focused commercial progression, such as seeking the support of an ABS law firm. Such a legal partner is more likely to develop a proactive, collaborative relationship with the HR team, as there’s no ‘clock watching’ involved!
Once you’ve settled your legal questions, you need to focus on reaching that extra-level of efficiency. And to do so, you need to start thinking outside the box when it comes to rewarding your employees! Rather than presuming what would make them feel valued, just ask! Often simple recognition such as a “thank you”, will boost their morale. There are endless options, ranging from end-of-month lunches and colleague-nominated awards to structured career progression and the provision of flexible working. The key thing to note is that, amidst all the staff perks that hit the HR headlines, there are far more affordable – and often more meaningful – alternatives that employees truly seek. So, look beyond the expensive gimmicks!
In the progress, don’t forget to prioritize fairness though! At the end of the day, this is what employees are expecting from you: an open and transparent communication system with managers and the wider workforce will hopefully mean any possible HR issues are identified before they escalate. When potentially problematic scenarios do arise, remember to keep a clearly evidenced audit trail of the processes followed and the conversations held, and maintain a fair, equitable and non-discriminatory attitude throughout. This will help you resolve the matters as soon as possible!
Now we want to know more from you! How’s your company managing its HR budget? Is it focusing its internal budget on anything specific rather than just trying to change the whole landscape? Drop us a comment below and get the conversation started!