17 Jan 2024
Funding Wellbeing: How to Win Budget Internally
In the current financial landscape, convincing company leaders to allocate budget to employee wellbeing initiatives can be challenging. Balancing the books often means making hard choices, and unfortunately, employee wellbeing programmes can sometimes be overlooked or easy to cut. This article tackles this issue head-on, providing a practical, step-by-step guide for HR professionals and managers seeking to secure budgetary support for wellbeing projects. We'll outline strategies to advocate for a wellbeing budget, and you'll find insights on articulating employee wellbeing's business value. This concise guide is your toolkit for navigating tricky internal conversations and ensuring that employee wellbeing remains a priority in your organisation's strategy.
1. Create a list of goals based on employee feedback and your company’s needs ✍️
To achieve the outcome you want, it's essential first to establish your goals. If you don't know where to start, try by answering these 2 questions:
What are the specific needs and preferences of your team? (💡TIP: Utilise surveys or feedback sessions to gather this information)
What are the strategic goals your company aims to achieve with its benefits package?
For example, perhaps one of your organisation’s key challenges is reducing employee churn in order to reduce the cost of recruiting and onboarding new team members. Perhaps you’ve already identified that engagement survey scores act as a good leading indicator for employee churn, so your people team’s specific goal is to improve engagement scores. If your team has clearly expressed the need for better mental health support, then addressing mental health needs is a logical place to start in achieving both your people team’s goal (improve engagement score) and your overall company goal (reduce employee churn).
This approach of aligning team needs, department or individual goals, and company objectives is crucial in drawing the link between what you want to do, what it will achieve, and how this connects to business goals. If your organisation uses a framework like OKRs (objectives and key results), then it will also be powerful to use the same structure when thinking about your goals, so you can communicate in a language your organisation already understands.
2. Estimate the ROI (prove to your leaders why it's worth investing in employee wellbeing!) 🧮
Once you've identified your goals, the next step is to demonstrate to your stakeholders the value of investing resources in these initiatives.
Here are 2 effective approaches for doing this:
Calculate unique ROI: Consider your organisation's unique situation and financial reality to estimate the specific return on investment for your employer. Calculating ROI starts with identifying either the costs you will save or the additional revenue/income you will generate. For example, evaluate the cost implications of staff turnover. Could introducing a comprehensive benefits platform reduce these costs significantly, perhaps equivalent to saving the salary of one employee? Map out your projections for each time period, either week, month, quarter or year, and compare these to the cost of your initiative. It’s best to do this in a spreadsheet so you can play around with inputs and outputs. If you’re new to ROI calculations, this is a good overview guide. (💡TIP: Base your argument on solid data and statistics – people can’t argue with the outputs if they agree that the inputs and assumptions are reasonable)
Leverage general wellbeing ROI statistics: Use broader statistics to underscore the importance of employee wellbeing benefits for both the team and the organisation. Here are some compelling figures:
These two approaches can be used in combination for even greater effect, for example, basing assumptions you use in your organisation’s unique ROI calculations on authoritative external sources.
3. Coordinate with your stakeholders 🧑💼
In a professional setting, pushback or questions from leadership are normal and actually a good sign that your initiative is being seriously considered. Before you can start offering your shiny new benefits to the employees, make sure to:
Confirm with your legal team that your suggested programme complies with relevant employment laws and regulations. For example, if you're planning to offer specific benefits for your team abroad, make sure you're aware of any limitations or implications that could lead to financial or legal issues.
Align with your stakeholders: Once you've presented your proposal, be ready to engage with leaders actively. Listen to their feedback and be prepared to address any questions they may have (💡TIP: Anticipate some pushback). It's vital to be open to suggestions that may more closely align with the company’s objectives or provide additional perspectives beyond what was gathered in employee surveys. You may need to go back to your goals or ROI calculations to align these with their perspectives or evolving company planning.
Remember to follow up and remain in constant communication with your stakeholders. It’s unlikely that you’ll secure signoff for your initiative after a single meeting or discussion.
4. Prep for the future (plan implementation and measuring processes) 🔮
Following the approval of your wellbeing initiative, it's vital to keep it on track for ongoing future success.
Create an implementation plan: Begin by coordinating with any third party involved in the implementation of your initiative. Understand the requirements for a smooth onboarding process, or opt for an admin-free option. Build a comprehensive communication plan and timeline to explain your initiative to employees and ensure consistency in all messaging, including the careers page, job descriptions and new employee handbooks.
Metrics and reporting: Securing funding is just the first step in your ongoing work with the leadership team to evaluate the impact and ROI of your programme. If your organisation uses an annual planning cadence, you will no doubt need to continue securing support for your plans every year when budgets are planned. Establish feedback and goal tracking frequency, and proactively communicate the results of your initiative to all stakeholders. Adjust your initiative based on what you learn. Maybe certain elements have great employee take-up, but others just don’t get used. Your tracking and success metrics will inform these adjustments.
Securing budget allocations for employee wellbeing can be an intimidating challenge when there are so many other initiatives competing for funding. By clearly defining your goals and how these ladder up to organisational priorities, then quantifying projected impact, people teams can engage with finance and leadership on their own terms. Getting the green light for implementation also involves strong communication with leadership, openness to feedback and adjustments, and a commitment to ongoing measurement and internal re-evaluation of impact. By following the four steps outlined in this article, wellbeing initiatives are more likely to get the go-ahead and result in the kind of positive change most organisations are striving for. (💡TIP: Syndi offers benefits with minimum admin - why not book a demo?)