Low budget, no budget, we’ve all been there. Challenged by wanting to put in place a new HR initiative, but not quite sure how we’re going to find the money to do so? Well, I’m here as your savings “fairy,” flying in to share with you some of the ways that I’ve found hidden money in my over 20 years as an HR professional.
Fairy tales are more than true: Not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
Neil Gaiman, English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre, and films.
Just like fighting nasty dragons in fairy tales, conquering low budgets for employee rewards can lead to your own happy ending – more bang for your buck and helping stretch employees’ disposable income, and helping improve the bottom line of your organisation, too.
Let’s take a look at just a few ideas to get started:
One of the easiest, and most rewarding ways to find hidden money is by going green. Do a review of your printing costs and printed material, and ask yourself – do I really need to print this? Is there a greener way to share this information or material with my workforce? We actually made “going paperless” a key part of our employee communications strategy to ensure we pushed and challenged ourselves to achieve this objective. We’ve done this by making using of boom!, our online portal, using boom! TV, which are the TV screens we have in all our offices, and by using social media and texts. For someone like me, who’s been used paper for a long time, yes, it did feel a bit odd at first. Now I’m so glad we moved in this direction as our communication has been far more effective, we’ve saved money and we’ve done something great for the environment!
Explore every salary sacrifice opportunity
Yes, the government removed some salary sacrifice benefits, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take advantage of those which are still around. They’re in place to help employees and companies save money, so, “Just do it!”, as Nike says. Do a review of all salary sacrifices available, and if you don’t offer one or more now, consider doing it as soon as possible as an easy way to find hidden money for both you and your workforce.
Look for “sweet spot” benefits
A term I often use when talking about employee benefits programmes is a “sweet spot,” which is how I describe benefit programmes which are low cost, low effort and high value. These are my favorite kind of benefits, and ones which are most often the easiest ones to convince my CFO or Leadership Team to sign off on. Top on my list is an employee discounts programme, because everyone likes saving money, and it doesn’t break the bank to put one in place. And regarding time and effort to get one up and running, I actually pulled this off once in just six weeks. For other examples of low-cost benefits, here’s a blog I previously wrote on stretching your benefits budget.
Consolidate technology providers
Another approach I’ve often used when looking for hidden money is to conduct a review to see if there are opportunities to consolidate providers. Open a spreadsheet and enter all of your HR and employee engagement providers, list their services and their fees, and identify if any of them provide services in areas where you’re currently not using them. The benefit of doing this is that often providers will offer you reduced fees as they’d be managing multiple programmes. The other bonus is that you have less providers to manage, which makes it easier to run your HR programmes effectively.
So if you find yourself wishing on a star for more budget to reappear, know that help is on the way – you just have to know where to look!
Debra is our Group Reward Director at Reward Gateway. She's our Rewards guru, having over 20 years experience as a rewards leader, speaker, teacher and an author of a book on employee communications. She's most recently known as the co-author of "The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement," which she's writing with Founder Glenn Elliott.
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