Jun 21, 2022
4 mins read

How people-first budget planning starts with cultures of trust

This article has been brought to you by our spend management editorial team.Payhawk Editorial Team
Finance team discussing How to create a people-first budget plan for business
Quick summary

This article was written by Tali Sachs, Content Marketing Manager at HR software company, HiBob.

If the last two and a half years of living through the COVID pandemic, Great Resignation, and war for talent have taught us anything, it's that we need to be flexible and ready for whatever comes our way. Across the globe, how we work and where we work completely changed. Perhaps the most significant outcome was the colossal shift in people’s professional needs and expectations.

As the pandemic lifts and a new work world emerges, we can’t predict what changes and obstacles lie ahead. But, we know that if businesses want to succeed and thrive, they need the ability to adapt to unforeseen challenges quickly.

Adapting to the modern workforce’s new priorities and demands is key–and it starts with initiatives like people-first budget planning and cultures of trust.

Cultures of trust are a foundation of agile (and successful) business strategies

Companies can't thrive without skilled and experienced professionals. This is why business leaders must prioritise people-first business strategies rooted in cultures of trust. Cultures of trust empower your people and boost engagement and productivity, ultimately strengthening your business agility and boosting your bottom line.

But what do cultures of trust look like, and what goes into building one?

Structuring budgets and company cultures to align with the needs of today’s professionals

Today’s professionals have a new set of priorities and aren’t shy about quitting if those priorities aren’t met. Recent HiBob research makes a few things clear: People today want flexibility and to work for companies with healthy, strong company cultures.

How can you keep your budget in the black while juggling so many moving parts? Allocating budgets for people-centric tools and benefits packages isn’t cheap. Still, it’s more cost-effective than you might think, especially considering the rising costs of recruitment and training and the high toll attrition takes on valuable team members.

Hiring just one new person can cost as much as “three to four times the position’s salary”. Employee retention and investing in your people have never been more important. The ROI has also never been higher.

The big question here is: How can companies economically invest in their people?

Build people-first benefits and compensation packages into your budget

At HiBob, we believe that investing in your people with progressive benefits and compensation packages demonstrates that you value and trust them. It doesn’t only go a long way to boost retention: It can also help speed up the recruitment process. Here are some core components of progressive packages you can consider building into your budget.

More PTO

People still hesitate to take time off, but it's imperative to encourage taking breaks, especially if they’re sick, going through personal emergencies, or recently became new parents. Taking advantage of PTO is also one of the best ways to keep productivity up and attrition low. After all, it prevents burnout and helps boost engagement.

Here are some progressive PTO benefits you can consider:

  • Give your people two or more months of paid leave to care for family members
  • Provide two weeks of paid bereavement leave
  • Offer one full year of paid disability coverage
  • Add a minimum of four extra weeks to paid parental leave policies
  • Let new parents work part-time for up to four weeks with full pay after they return from parental leave
  • Offer a week of paid wellness days on top of sick leave

Flexible schedules

The case for investing in flexibility is in the data. Forty-three percent of people working either remotely or in a hybrid model cited flexible work hours as the driving force behind their uptick in productivity, according to recent research by Gartner. More than 75 percent of today's professionals report "they want flexibility in whether they work from home or the office." Ninety-three percent say they also want their companies to be flexible about when they work.

How can you capitalise on it? Trust your people to meet their deadlines and KPIs off-site and allocate personal budgets to home-office set-ups to enjoy a bump in productivity.

Team and personalised budgets

Home-office budgets can be a great way to pilot personalised budget programs. Consider expanding pre-approved, personalised budgets for home offices, meal stipends, and work-related projects. It’s empowering and shows your people they’re valued and that you trust them to make responsible business decisions. At the same time, companies retain control of the pre-set budgets and lower the risk of going into the red.

Shares or equity

According to recent research, 72.3 percent of professionals say share options or equity stakes in their company boost their engagement and motivate them to stick with their current role. After all, when you own a business, your top goal is to do anything you can to help it succeed: Its success is your success.

Equity stakes are a great way to make your company stand out from the competition and attract quality talent. Making equity stakes and shares a mainstay of your compensation packages also lets you give people the competitive compensation they deserve without raising salaries or dipping into your budget for cash bonuses.

Expanded health and wellness benefits

According to the WHO, “an estimated 264 million people suffer from depression.” Combined with anxiety disorders, “the estimated cost to the global economy is US$1 trillion per year in lost productivity.” But, there’s also “a return of US$4 in improved health and productivity” for every dollar an organisation invests in mental health and wellness.

So, what does committing to a healthy work culture look like? In growing businesses it can take time to build out your benefits, but when they’re ready, they should consider programmes like these to improve your people’s mental health and wellbeing:

  • Register for company subscriptions to mindfulness and meditation apps
  • Help destigmatise mental health with programs for colleagues to share their experiences in a safe space
  • Provide your people with access to in-person or online counselling services
  • Add more mental health coverage to your health plans

Use HR tech to streamline people-first budget planning

It can be challenging to introduce progressive benefits and compensation plans and reallocate portions of your budget to cover them. But, a class-A HRIS can help company decision-makers automate and simplify the process with data-based insights.

HR tech helps centralise all your payroll and people data and gives you invaluable insights into your people and their productivity. It can also help you extract and automatically parse data to identify areas for improvement and quickly pivot your strategy based on the current business climate.

Investing in people-first budgets promotes trust and boosts your bottom line

With so much change in the market today, companies need to be ready for anything. Building agile business strategies based on supportive, people-first cultures of trust can be an important part of your success plan. Decision-makers across the company need to align to understand better how to build solid, people-centric cultures and budgets that keep your teams engaged, productive, and happy. The success of modern businesses may depend on it.

This article has been brought to you by our spend management editorial team.
Payhawk Editorial Team

The Payhawk Editorial Team consists seasoned finance professionals boasting years of experience in spend management, digital transformation, and the finance profession. We're dedicated to delivering insightful content to empower your financial journey.

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