Recorded Webinar

5 Simple Steps to Getting the HR Budget You Deserve

Want to learn more about PILOT? We’d love to connect with you and share how our award-winning, virtual employee development program offers HR leaders a simple way to boost productivity, morale and engagement.


[00:00:00] Azure Von Rooths: Hello. Hello. Hello. Welcome. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. It's so good to see you all. We are so excited to connect with you. My name is Azure Rooths. I will serve as your host for today. I bring you greetings from the PILOT team. And before we get going, I would like to take a moment to introduce you to our amazing producer, Helen.

[00:00:24] Helen Fong: So as Azure mentioned, my name is Helen. I'm your producer for today's session.

[00:00:27] Azure Von Rooths: Perfect. I want to take an opportunity to introduce you to today's speaker. Inspired by his successful business and executive coaching practice, Ben saw an opportunity to democratize executive coaching and founded PILOT among other leadership and management roles, Ben has served on the Board of Directors for Outserve SLDN, the organization that spearheaded the successful effort to end the Department of Defense's discriminatory don't ask, [00:01:00] don't tell policy. And he co founded the LGBT employee resource group at his management consulting firm. He unexpectedly let go of his lifelong aspiration to climb the corporate ladder and instead has chosen to fly his own plane.

[00:01:18] Azure Von Rooths: I want to take a moment before we get started to share a little bit with you about PILOT, which was founded to help everyone feel powerful at work. Ben wanted to take his experience as an executive coach and make it accessible to the early and mid career employees where he could have the biggest impact on people's careers and on the companies that they work for. PILOT takes the best part of executive coaching relationships and makes it available to your employees in a live virtual group coaching setting.

[00:01:55] Azure Von Rooths: Before we go any further, We'd like to hear from you. [00:02:00] So with our first poll, I want to know, how satisfied are you with the budget you currently receive? , Helen is going to launch our poll. Possible responses, are you very satisfied? Somewhat? Does it fall or feel a little below expectations? Is it set up to fail? Please take a marker.

[00:02:24] Ben Brooks: I'm very curious about this one.

[00:02:26] Azure Von Rooths: Let's see.

[00:02:26] Ben Brooks: So nobody's feeling flush. No one's saying, Oh my gosh, I got everything I need. And a third of people are saying they're set up to fail and 17 percent below expectations.

[00:02:34] Ben Brooks: So half of you on this webinar are definitely not getting what you need. And nobody's getting everything you need. So I think this is a good place for you to be because we got a lot we can teach you and inspire you with today.

[00:02:48] Azure Von Rooths: Perfect. And with that, let's roll right into why it's so important for HR members to begin doing their homework. What does that mean? What does that look like, [00:03:00] Ben?

[00:03:01] Ben Brooks: I'd love to just know in addition to that poll, how you feel about personally, your role on the budget process. I'm going to have you use emojis. We use zoom webinars, which is groovy because they have emojis. It's on the chat.

[00:03:14] Ben Brooks: There's a little smiley face button there in the chat. So I'm going to put an emoji that represents me in a budget process. Like, think about. What do you show up as yourself in the budget process? It could be, a piece of bread. It could be a trash basket. It could be a ladder. It could be a car.

[00:03:30] Ben Brooks: I'm going to put a shark because I'm very good at getting budget. Okay, so I'm putting a shark for me. I'll be curious what other people when you think of yourself in the budget. Oh, we got the kind of the skull. We got some tears. We got some unicorns. We've got some crowns. Snails. Oh, some tears, some anger.

[00:03:50] Ben Brooks: Okay, so you can see there's emotion, right? That's part of what I want to bring in is before we get to this first one, money therapists and psychologists say it's never about money and whether [00:04:00] that's your personal checking account, or it's your work budget. It can bring in a lot of emotion about ourselves and all sorts of other things.

[00:04:08] Ben Brooks: What we're going to try to do with this webinar on these 5 simple steps is take something that can be fraught and frustrating and dissatisfying and emotional. And bring rigor and structure to it. So that's what today is really going to be about. I loved all these emojis we got. Oh my goodness, we got all sorts of ones.

[00:04:25] Ben Brooks: That last one, Joanne, I'm trying to see. I've got dark mode on so I can't see. Oh, it's a sloth. Okay. One of my favorite emojis, by the way. An underused one, for sure. The snail and the sloth showed up in this one. Impressive. The robotic arm, everything. Okay. The first thing you got to consider of the five steps is this idea of doing your homework.

[00:04:41] Ben Brooks: And by the way, as I'm talking and Azure and I are going through this, put questions, comments, your own ideas in the chat, because this is, you may have better ideas and hacks than we're providing here. So, the doing your homework means understanding the process. Way too often I see HR professionals and other corporate functional leaders, not really [00:05:00] know, and they don't really ask until it's too late and then they just get set a budget or they're, all of a sudden it's the new calendar year and they're like, I'm not sure whatever happened to the budget, and they're not even involved. Finance, by the way. Has an incentive to keep budgets down, right? They don't want to be increasing them because it's easier to control the cost. You have an incentive to have budgets go up because the more resource, the more good you can do in human resources.

[00:05:23] Ben Brooks: So those are opposing forces. While finance may be your client from a HRBP perspective you got to be your own client from a budget perspective. And so. You have to know what's the process. Do we put in requests? Are there spreadsheets we fill out? Do we use our financial system? What's the timeline?

[00:05:40] Ben Brooks: What are the deadlines? It's very important you're not surprised. Way often I hear that people are like, oh, someone, emailed us and we had two days to turn around a budget. Well, that's not very long to do the other four steps we're going to talk about here. So you want to know in advance and ultimately who approves it.

[00:05:58] Ben Brooks: It may be the finance says, Oh, we, [00:06:00] you can only increase your budget 3 percent this year, but ultimately if someone else is approving it, not finance, it's important to know ultimately who has the authority. So this is just the rules of the game is the first part here, right? And the second is to review last year's budget.

[00:06:16] Ben Brooks: What did you have? Now, you may be new to your role. You may have never been told what the budget was. So that's where you often will have a FP& A, financial planning and analysis person, basically a member of your finance team. You can say, Hey, can you give me a the P& L for my function? Right?

[00:06:31] Ben Brooks: The profit and loss statement. How much money do we spend? What are we budget? Oh, we were budgeted this much, but we only spent half of it. Okay. You may have some use it or lose it money, by the way. That's another question to ask, because sometimes if you didn't spend it this year, they won't give it to you next year.

[00:06:45] Ben Brooks: So there's a disincentive to save. And also, what are the industry trends? We've got some stats we'll share later today about, you know, most folks are looking for larger budgets in HR. So why would your company look for smaller, right? So that's the second part is right. So the first [00:07:00] is know the process and know the game.

[00:07:01] Ben Brooks: The second is know where you are, where your budget is right now. And then the third is get a sense of how much stuff costs. If you noticed how things cost a different amount than they did five years ago, or even two years ago, the price of a car, the interest rate on a mortgage, how much eggs it costs, gasoline, things change in prices.

[00:07:22] Ben Brooks: I even saw a thing where a shipping container, two years ago was, 15, 000 almost. Because of the, pandemic. And now it's down to about 2, 000. So things go up and things go down. So you've got to go get those comps. Understand, oh, I'm going to go hire a new learning and development person.

[00:07:38] Ben Brooks: What is the market require for that now? Right? Oh, I'm going to go bring on a new employee development product like PILOT. How much does that cost? You don't want to know that generically. You just have this pot of money. You want to know what it actually costs. Now the thing to remember is that the average HR budget Is less than 1 [00:08:00] percent of the revenue of an organization.

[00:08:02] Ben Brooks: Whereas sales and marketing and it are all much larger. So HR is this very, if this is a slice of a pie, it's so thin, you can barely cut it. less than one percentage point. So sometimes we threaten HR and we think, Oh, my budget's increasing, 50 percent year over year, but you're talking about, a 50 percent growth of a paper thin slice.

[00:08:24] Ben Brooks: So it's all relative and that depending on your ratio of FTEs to HRBPs or things like that, you're often covering a lot of people. Some organizations I know have, one HR person per 250 people. So again, part of the benchmarks is if, people think, oh, gosh, HR got a big increase last year.

[00:08:41] Ben Brooks: Why should we have increased this year? Hey, we're still way beyond behind our industry peers. So that's the homework, right? You're going to have confidence in asking for money by doing homework. It looks like some questions Azure. Go ahead.

[00:08:55] Azure Von Rooths: Vicky says how does HR budget include less than [00:09:00] 1%? Considering comps and bonus benefits, recognitions, how does that even work, Ben?

[00:09:06] Ben Brooks: So Vicki, typically the HR budget does not include the compensation for all employees, right?

[00:09:13] Ben Brooks: It would include the compensation and benefits team, your payroll provider, or how you process that your benefits broker fees for employee benefits. But if, you had a member of your sales team their compensation, you have someone in sales that makes 80, 000 a year, right?

[00:09:28] Ben Brooks: that 80, 000 wouldn't be in HR's budget, that'd be in the sales budget. So the only compensation expense that would be in HR is for the HR people or the HR consultants themselves. So that's typically how that works in that regard. And then different organizations do it differently, but that's typically the industry and kind of GAAP standard and how you do that, generally accepted accounting principles.

[00:09:50] Ben Brooks: And then, Jackie, Jacqueline says, More frustrating is when you're shut down on your budget, but you see budgets come in for others that are twice yours shows the value executive put on [00:10:00] HR and I, Jacqueline, your point is something really important. It'll be in our 4th or 5th point, which is don't sign up for more work if you don't get more resource.

[00:10:08] Ben Brooks: Right. Budgets are a reflection of values. And if people say, oh, we want to make big strides in DEI, or, oh, my gosh, we need to, make a big improvement in leadership development, or, oh, my goodness, we need to make a big improvement in our employee engagement. Well, you know, little Jerry McGuire, show me the money, right?

[00:10:26] Ben Brooks: Do we actually value this or not? And budgeting can be a stress test of what the real priorities are, not what people say. Right. And then Damien's adding the percentage of revenue, right? And it's actually 1. 5, 2 percent of operating expenses. So on a percentage basis, the slice gets a little bit bigger when you have the denominator as expenses rather than revenue.

[00:10:50] Ben Brooks: And then Bridget asked, do you feel that 1 percent is a fair budget for a company? Fair is relative, some industries require a lot more HR support. Some require [00:11:00] less. And so part of it, that's not the only important benchmark. Sometimes it's HR spend per employee. Saratoga and other groups have benchmarks on that and it can be five, 10, 000 per employee of HR spend when you include the learning and the tuition reimbursement and the hiring and everything else.

[00:11:15] Ben Brooks: So I think that's where you have to figure out what does. your organization used to benchmark the appropriate functional budgets, not just for HR or for others. And this is the questions y'all are asking is doing your homework. You're doing it right now by asking and getting clarifications on these questions, which, by the way, we don't always have the answers to.

[00:11:33] Ben Brooks: We don't know your context or your organization. So part of this is just asking the right questions. It has people take you more seriously, incredibly, because You're in it and you're initiating, you're being deterministic about your budget.

[00:11:46] Azure Von Rooths: Ben, what a great point. So in addition to doing their homework, you said they have to know the process, know the cost. Once you have that information, you should create a strategy. What does it look like to link it to a strategy?

[00:11:59] Ben Brooks: Boom. [00:12:00] Point number two. Wow. Okay. So this is the thing. You do your homework. That's not enough. You're not, your brain, your noggin is full, right? Maybe your inbox or your Google Drive is full, but then you've got to articulate what do you want to do with that?

[00:12:13] Ben Brooks: And a strategy isn't a laundry list of everything you might possibly do, right? A strategy is often where to play and how to win. So what you need to do is you need to be like, what is our organization trying to do? I talked to someone yesterday who got a new job in HR. He's the number two in HR.

[00:12:30] Ben Brooks: And he said, my first 90 days, I have to understand how this organization makes money. How do we operate? Right? Because if he doesn't do that, how does he do HR for an organization if he doesn't understand what the product or service is, what the economic model is? And this doesn't have to be a commercial, this could be non profit, this could be government, etc.

[00:12:48] Ben Brooks: What is it, and what is the plan? Is the plan to grow? Is the plan to digitize? is the plan to become more efficient as [00:13:00] an organization or a business? Not the HR plan. What is the business plan? So you've got to find out what the strategy is, right? Let's say you're a business that's regional and you're going to move into a new region.

[00:13:12] Ben Brooks: Well, you're going to have to set up offices. Maybe you're going to have to do hiring. You're going to have to, do all sorts of different things. What if you're going to have a merger? Or the business is going to be sold, right? What if you have to do a bunch of cost cutting, right? What if you've got service issues and you've got a bunch of customer turnover?

[00:13:29] Ben Brooks: So you've got to, stabilize employee retention to make the customer retention stable. I don't know what your business strategy is. I know what the pilot business strategy is for next year. So the most important thing is that your people budget and strategy. aligns and supports the Human Capital Institute.

[00:13:46] Ben Brooks: I went through their Human Capital Strategist Certification a long time ago. That's the most important insight I got from it. Start with the organization's strategy and goals, and then map the HR plan that supports the bigger picture. [00:14:00] So it may be, like I said, if you're going to be, expanding, it's like, oh my god, we're going to go global this year.

[00:14:05] Ben Brooks: Okay, well, what's HR's part to play in going global? Oh my gosh, we've got way too many people. We've got increased sales or cut costs. Which one of the organization going to bet on sales? Great. What's HR's part in driving a sales culture? And then you got to tie it to research your best practices to that context.

[00:14:23] Ben Brooks: You think about, okay, we're going to go, you know, we got to increase sales, right? We got to increase organic revenue growth. We have to improve quality, or we have to improve safety, or whatever the thing may be. Right? How does that typically get done? Not just Ben or Azure's opinion about it.

[00:14:39] Ben Brooks: But your argument in your strategy, you better say, Hey, the PWC research or the Deloitte research or the, you know, the Bain research says these things, right? Here's the best practice, because you'll be more credible when others in your industry or competitors are doing some of these things that often, there's research behind it.

[00:14:58] Ben Brooks: So I'll mention one quick [00:15:00] quote, Azure, and then by the way, questions, reactions, comments, drop them in the chat because we're going to look at that next. So anything that's coming up to you, we get did your homework and link into the strategy. The quote is a company's employee retention strategies are more important now than ever before.

[00:15:14] Ben Brooks: And today's HR professionals are looking for better ways to engage and support employees. This is from Exact Hire. You have to, you know, looking for better ways means maybe a new strategy. Retention in 2019 probably looks different than retention in 2024. Five years later, the demographics of the workforce have changed.

[00:15:36] Ben Brooks: Hybrid and remote has changed. The place that work holds in people's brain socially in our country has changed. So I'd love to know in the chat, put a yes or no, if your organization has a business or strategy or plan, put a yes, you got, we've got a, we've got a strategy or plan for next year or a no, if you don't.

[00:15:58] Ben Brooks: If you're unsure, you can put unsure. [00:16:00]

[00:16:00] Azure Von Rooths: We have quite a few yeses coming in. I see one no so far.

[00:16:04] Ben Brooks: Okay. Part of this in terms of the timing, right? You got to make sure if finance says, oh, that the deadline for your budget submission is, October 1st.

[00:16:14] Ben Brooks: Okay. But the organization's strategy is not going to be defined till November 15th. You might need to call an audible and say, actually, can we do the budget after the strategy is defined? So we can make budgets to fulfill the strategy. Sometimes HR plays a really important air traffic control, that says, Hey, the team that does the strategy may be different than the team that does finance.

[00:16:33] Ben Brooks: Maybe the COO does strategy, finance does, how do we get those things aligned? Now, second question I want to put in the chat is, For 2023, did you have an HR strategy? Not just do we have HR departments, recruiting, comp, payroll, ER, but did you have a strategy to say, we're going to invest in this or we're going to improve that, which doesn't mean you're doing everything.

[00:16:57] Azure Von Rooths: So we have yes, no, yes, yes, like they're coming in [00:17:00] kind of, it's a little bit of everything. No new companies. So building out the department. So I think that's a great segue. So then I hear you instructing or informing our members to do their homework.

[00:17:16] Azure Von Rooths: Then you got to have a strategy. It sounds like that strategy is the thing that gives you the confidence. to make the ask. So now is a perfect time for us to find out how confident are you when you make your budget request. Helen's going to launch a poll right now.

[00:17:35] Azure Von Rooths: Are you very confident, somewhat confident, low confident, or no confidence at all? Let us know.

[00:17:42] Ben Brooks: Okay. Somewhat confident and low confidence.

[00:17:44] Ben Brooks: So we have very few no confident. And by the way, if you're that person that's no confident, you're in the right place. We're going to try to get you the. Low. If you're low, we're going to try to get you somewhat. If you're somewhat, we're trying to get you to vary. And if you're very, we're going to try to get you to have even more budget.

[00:17:55] Ben Brooks: Okay. Cause the scale's not out of 10, it's out of 20. So guess what? The bar just got higher. [00:18:00] So part of this is that there is a mindset and I will tell you that your functional leaders in IT, sales, product, operations, legal, are often better negotiators and more confident in asking for budget in my experience.

[00:18:19] Ben Brooks: The legal team and compliance team will say, you want us to go to jail? You want us to have an SEC violation? You want us to be in the newspapers? You want us to have a shareholder suit? They have these things, right? Or you have sales that you want our revenue to fall apart, right? Ops is, you want our customers to all turn?

[00:18:36] Ben Brooks: And there's essentially this sort of threat or this risk, and they tend to get a lot more of what they want. And I typically experience HR. Typically one doesn't ask for what they need. And two, doesn't get what they ask for because when they don't get what they ask for, they're still going to sign up for an impossible task.

[00:18:55] Ben Brooks: So some of HR burnout and fatigue is self imposed because we [00:19:00] agree and sign up for missions that we're not equipped for. And so that's, a big part of advocating for yourself. It's a part of the PILOT program. We teach people to advocate for themselves, which is why we're teaching you to advocate for yourself.

[00:19:11] Ben Brooks: Because, trust me, all the other functional leaders, someone put it in, someone else's budget doubled, but not HR's. Well, that's an audible to call. Why is theirs and not ours? You're saying there's no money. Well, what you're really saying, there's no money for HR. And if that's the case, I've got no capacity to take on your campus recruiting initiative or to address the DEI gaps because we're not funded for that.

[00:19:37] Azure Von Rooths: Yeah, someone said exactly. You need to know what you need. So we're moving on. We've done our homework. We need a strategy. This builds the confidence. Once our confidence is ready, Ben, teach us how to build a case.

[00:19:51] Ben Brooks: So, you've done the homework, you know the process, you know what you got, you got these comps.

[00:19:57] Ben Brooks: You've, built the strategy, but now you have to [00:20:00] essentially make the argument. This is about the pitch, if you will. You're not giving it, you're preparing for it. So the first word on that bullet says right. W R I T E. Write. Like, write with a pen or write probably with your keyboard instead.

[00:20:18] Ben Brooks: We do too much verbal. We need to write it down. People that are verbal are taken less seriously than people that write something down. Because it's like, oh yeah, we should go to the movies. Yeah, Azure, we should. It's different when I'm like, Azure, do you want to see Dune 2 at 6 o'clock on Saturday? All of a sudden, it's become something more real.

[00:20:44] Ben Brooks: I don't think Dune 2's out yet, but it'll be coming. It'll be coming. So, you know, the detailed justification. So the detail first is going to build up confidence because you're going to think of this in advance. And you don't have to remember all of this because you're going to send this like an email or drop it in someone's inbox, a printed [00:21:00] version, and you're going to also, just describe, hey, it's an organization.

[00:21:05] Ben Brooks: Our goal next year is to grow. We got to grow organic revenue 20%. In order to do that, HR has got to have higher retention. We got to engage people. We have to have different compensation plans. We have to have different leadership. Right? Therefore, we need a budget to do these things so we can deliver these results so the organization can achieve these outcomes.

[00:21:22] Ben Brooks: That's that case. And I know, keep putting questions or comments in because we're going to get to those. If you've got ideas or questions or you disagree with something I'm saying, there's nothing right or wrong here. This is a big space for collective wisdom and knowledge. In your industry, it may work differently.

[00:21:38] Ben Brooks: Bring that in because someone else may be in your industry, too. The second thing. Support it. Oh, you need 200, 000 for a leadership development program? Why? Because it costs that much. I went and got three price quotes and they're all plus or minus 5 percent of 200, 000, right? The average amount of, L& D spend per employee in financial [00:22:00] services is this amount, right?

[00:22:02] Ben Brooks: Hey, we've looked in the past. And we've always done when we roll out engagement programs, this amount, and our head count has doubled since the last time. So we need double that budget, right? You have to have a reason why. A justification. It's often called a BOE, a basis of estimate. Because there's a thing, well, how many people say to me, Ben how much money should I put in the spreadsheet for this?

[00:22:27] Ben Brooks: My question is how much does it cost? And then typically people are like, I don't know, which is part of point number one, do your homework. So you talk to Vendor PILOT, you want to know what PILOT costs you email us or call us. We will tell you, you have a flat price. It's super simple and transparent.

[00:22:40] Ben Brooks: You'll know exactly down to the dollar how much you need. Right. Don't work with vendors that play too many games on you in that regard. You should know what you're paying for. And then the third thing is an executive summary. You're going to put a lot of detail in the strategies and price quotes, you know, you got kind of the receipts, right?

[00:22:57] Ben Brooks: And you're going to walk them through the argument, right? At [00:23:00] Amazon, right? There's very few slide decks. It's always 7 page memos. They even start the meeting to read the memo together. It's a very written culture, but it clarifies your thinking. But it also documents and makes it specific. So people think you've thought this through, but the problem is not everyone needs that density.

[00:23:17] Ben Brooks: If you remember the people that are approving these budgets, they're approving lots of other budgets. So while for you, your whole world is your budget, you're just one of many budgets they have to look at. So what you need to do is not bury it, which the tendency is, let's put the number at the 19th page.

[00:23:35] Ben Brooks: Let's get through all of it. And at the bottom it's $4 million, right? Or $4 or $400 million. I don't know what the number is. Instead you wanna put it up front. We're looking to make an impact next year in engagement, DEI, in recruiting. These are the big three pillars of HR next year, and we wanna make investments in hiring, in vendors and in technology.

[00:23:57] Ben Brooks: And we're asking for a total increase in our budget of [00:24:00] 40% so we can help drive organic revenue growth.

[00:24:03] Azure Von Rooths: There are two people that said something I have to bring to your attention. Great. Bridget said put your HR playbook budget on paper and then and Anjanai said should look beyond just the current year budget and phase out the budget needs over two to three years then this allows you to sustain your program new and ongoing.

[00:24:24] Azure Von Rooths: I think that's exactly what you are telling us to do.

[00:24:28] Ben Brooks: Yeah, I think that's spot on, right? Because you can't just think a year at a time. You may even be signing multi year contracts, or in the case, for instance, with PILOT, people will often do a pilot PILOT, and they'll say, well, let's put a, 75 or 100 employees through a program in year 1, but in year 2, we want to make that 400 employees, right? We have to start to set the expectations that where you started with PILOT, you're testing it. Pilot PILOT. You're going to grow that over time. So you want to think about that. And then to Jacqueline, or I'm sorry, to Bridget's point, the playbook, putting that on paper. I mean, [00:25:00] ultimately, you know, that I read a stat that about 90 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs would consider offshoring or outsourcing HR, mostly because they don't understand how it works. Show them the model, show them the process, show them that you have to have employee relations, show them you have to do leave management, show them these things. How do you get that done? Oh, we do that in a shared services thing. Great. How do you get these things done?

[00:25:23] Ben Brooks: Okay. Recruiting we outsource, but you know what learning development, we're going to, that has got to be in house. Okay, great. So those are the kinds of things that playbook helps people say, Hey, if I give. My head of HR plan, he's going to make good use of that money, or she's going to make good use of that money.

[00:25:40] Ben Brooks: That's a big part of building the trust and the confidence. And whereas, ops, sales, finance, legal say, hey, we're going to do a whole thing to produce, to be compliant with the new Dodd Frank or the anti money laundering thing, or we're going to address the new cybersecurity risks. We're going to do all this.

[00:25:54] Ben Brooks: It's very clear. They see a vision of what they're getting, right? Because if, it's it's like, if you're a [00:26:00] parent, your kid asks you for money, you're like, what do you need it for? Yeah. There's a little of that, what are you going to use the money for? If they say, Hey, like, I'm going to go do this thing, or I'm going to go get ice cream with my friend, or I'm going to go buy a book right now Oh, I'm going to go to the Barnes and Noble and buy a book.

[00:26:13] Ben Brooks: You're like, here's some money, please read, get off your damn phone. So that's where you want to make that compelling ask, but prove that it's going to be used in a good way.

[00:26:22] Azure Von Rooths: Okay. So after we make the ask, are we doing it alone or is there something, or do we need to bring people along with us? What does that look like?

[00:26:29] Ben Brooks: I missed one stat on the bottom. I'll say on the last slide real quick. It's just that budgets are largely increasing across the board. So we go back to the last slide real quick. So in 2023, this year, 47 percent of HR budgets increased. 28 stayed the same, right? So meaning seven, nearly 75%, three outta four HR budgets were either flat and two out of four increased for 2023.

[00:26:58] Ben Brooks: When we think, oh, layoffs [00:27:00] and this and kind of quasi recess. HR spend is going at LinkedIn Learning survey for 2022. Show the same thing. Vast majority of budget's increasing. Why the rise of hr, the pandemic? We've got to get people returned to office. We've got to get people vaccinated. We've got to have DEI progress.

[00:27:15] Ben Brooks: We've got to furlough people. We've got to hire. We have the great resignation. We've got people disengaged. We've got to be like, Oh, my goodness, right? HR is not business as usual. So you can't just say whatever we had last year is enough. If you're expected to do more or different things, imagine yourself for a second.

[00:27:39] Ben Brooks: If HR, if you thought of HR as completely outsourced, you gave it to a center, a firm, to completely outsource it, and that was your function, would you take the budget as the fee to do it all, right? An outsource vendor would say, what do you want me to do? You want me to do this, this, this, and this?

[00:27:56] Ben Brooks: Okay, great. It's going to cost this much. Oh, you only [00:28:00] have half of that? Okay we're not going to do these things. We'll take this out of the scope of work and we're not going to do this and the service level will be different, but for that amount of money, right? It's like you talk to a realtor and you're like, how much are you looking to spend?

[00:28:09] Ben Brooks: And you're like, Oh, I want a five bedroom house. And you're like, we're going to look at a townhouse, two bedroom, you know? And so that's where there's the trade offs. What, what you can afford, do you have champagne taste on the beer budget, right? That's what the organization has to navigate.

[00:28:20] Ben Brooks: Okay. So let's go to the next slide, Helen. Thank you. You're a step ahead. So you've got to rally the troops. Who are the troops? What are your colleagues? They're the people inside your organization. So the first is HR. You've got to get other HR people aligned. If you're a COE, a center of expertise lead, right?

[00:28:39] Ben Brooks: You lead the comp, the employee relations, HR ops, learning development, talent, DEI. You've got to get other COE and HRVP leaders aligned. Yep. This is the right plan. This is what we need to do. If you are not the CHR or the chief people officer or the highest ranking HR person, you got to get that person aligned, right?

[00:28:58] Ben Brooks: Galvanize, that's to [00:29:00] strengthen, right? To align. And it may be that HR doesn't report right to the CEO. If you report to the CEO, you want to think about that chain. But if HR reports to a chief administrative officer or COO, head of legal, head of finance, you want to think about that chain and how to get them aligned.

[00:29:14] Ben Brooks: Second part, you want to align others, right? If you were the Speaker of the House in the Congress, you call whip up the votes, it's called, right? So you've got to find out who else is going to say, you know what? I'm going to co sponsor this bipartisan legislation. We're supposed to grow 25 percent next year.

[00:29:30] Ben Brooks: Who would the most important person to support the HR budget would be? The head of sales. Because if sales says I need HR to do these things and they need money to do it so I can sell, that's a very powerful thing. You have to have allies, right? And if it's a zero sum thing where it's like, oh, this function gets all of it and we don't, you have to have others believe in your work and your value, which is the homework, the credibility, the strategy.

[00:29:57] Ben Brooks: But it's much [00:30:00] easier for a CEO or an executive committee or a board to approve a budget. When a function puts together the business case, they've done their homework, they've linked to strategy, but then other colleagues say, yeah, I think that's reasonable. We need that because nothing executives like more than collaboration, cross functional teaming.

[00:30:20] Ben Brooks: Oh, wow. HR, you've got ops and sales that have said that this is exactly what we need. And you've done your homework with receipts and all these things. Okay, we can move forward. The third thing, you're going to have some objections and detractors and often HR tries to sneak around like, oh, we're going to avoid this person or we're going to wait till the last minute.

[00:30:44] Ben Brooks: You got the confidence part. You have to say, you know what, I know that, crab apple over here always thinks HR sucks or thinks that, the last head of HR didn't deliver and so we have this reputation and this, legacy hangover that HR doesn't deliver and doesn't make good use of money.

[00:30:59] Ben Brooks: I need to [00:31:00] go look them in the eyes and say it's a different era. I'm a different person. Right. That's you got to do those things. You got to hear their objections. Hey, usually we do training in house. You want to use a third party vendor to do training. Why is that? Okay, well, I'm going to tell you why we can reach more people.

[00:31:18] Ben Brooks: It's more affordable. It's more consistent. You know that these are the professionals you got to work through some of that. Not at the 11th hour when the budgets are being decided by October 15th on October 14th in advance. Right? And part of your thing is here's who we've talked to. Right? So again, another Gartner quote here, without an understanding of what data to focus on and the skills to understand and interpret the data, HR employees will not be able to effectively guide decision making of the business stakeholders.

[00:31:45] Ben Brooks: You're guiding the decision making of other people, but you have to have all of the data, do the homework, do the strategy, all of this builds as collaboration equals company connections. And that those relationships, people don't want to be out on a limb. [00:32:00] Whoever approves the budget doesn't want to go, I'm going to give Judy this budget over here, but I know it's going to piss off everyone else.

[00:32:06] Ben Brooks: They don't want to do that because it creates a problem for them.

[00:32:09] Azure Von Rooths: So once we rally the troops, what's our next steps? We have to take it to somebody. So we're ready because our confidence is there.

[00:32:20] Ben Brooks: Yep.

[00:32:21] Azure Von Rooths: The next step is time to go in, make the ask. Let us know how to do that.

[00:32:26] Ben Brooks: So, making the ask is the critical part, in sales.

[00:32:30] Ben Brooks: My dad was in sales his whole career. And he said the number one thing you saw salespeople do that make the mistake of is they entertain and they prospect . They never asked for the order. They never say Azure. Do you want to do business together?

[00:32:41] Ben Brooks: Azure, do you want to have this product?

[00:32:43] Ben Brooks: Do you want an upgrade to your service? Are you ready to go? So making the ask is a vulnerable thing, right? Think about it in another context: Will you marry me? That's making an ask. You want to have sex? Do you want to go on [00:33:00] vacation with me? Do you want to move? These are things where we don't always know the answer and we have to tolerate the fact we may be told no, we may not get what we want.

[00:33:08] Ben Brooks: Sometimes HR tends to not make the ask because they have a prediction and tries to mind read. Oh, they'll never give me the money last year. We were supposed to be flat. Finance will say, oh, budgets have to be flat to last year. No, they don't. They want to lower your expectations. So you have to start with a negotiating mindset and high expectations.

[00:33:30] Ben Brooks: And you may need to go back and forth. Think about that executive you hire that had to negotiate their offer a few rounds. Did they just take the first offer the organization gave them? No. They picked a different start date. They asked for a guaranteed first year bonus. They, want to bring over their executive assistant.

[00:33:46] Ben Brooks: Like they worked through what they needed and. All the time. If you just listen there, there's two sets of rules. There's the rules of what you know, finance wants to control in the process, and there's what people, you know, you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate. [00:34:00] It's what you negotiate, and that requires a bit of a steely, steadfast thing.

[00:34:07] Ben Brooks: Now, number two, you wanna pitch and present as much as I said, write it down. Also be able to present it. Writing it down prepares you to present it and to review it. You send it in advance. You say, look, I wanna make the case. I'm coming to you today because I need your help. We need you to approve this budget so we can go deliver for the business so we can grow organic revenue next year.

[00:34:33] Ben Brooks: It's compelling. If it's just a spreadsheet, it loses some of the heart. You got the head, but not always the heart. And you have to have the guts to say, here's the thing, now here's the other part on the guts. Number three, do not accept cuts in your budget or resources without offsets in scope or service levels.

[00:34:51] Ben Brooks: Oh, you want me to have three fewer HRBPs next year for the same number of headcount? Okay, well, [00:35:00] we could do that. We're just not going to be able to, finish investigations in one week, or we're going to have slower time to fill in recruiting, or we're not going to have as much training or development, right?

[00:35:10] Ben Brooks: That's a part of it. And Laura mentioned she likes the idea of submitting in advance. Part of it, Laura, is people often need time to think. And we'll think, oh, the budget deadline is tomorrow. Or I'll bring the presentation to the meeting and show them. Amateur mood. Send it in advance.

[00:35:27] Ben Brooks: Forces you to be prepared. Forces you to not be letting, having wet printer ink on the page as you're walking into the meeting. Right? But also lets them to digest it. Or if they have questions, they say, oh my goodness, Azure, you want a 25 percent increase in your budget? Right? You got to give them a little time, a little stool softener.

[00:35:44] Ben Brooks: Let them, let that, let them, let that pass, you know, and again, the offsets. It's like, oh my gosh, we want to make a huge difference. Everyone says they want to make a difference in DEI. Bullcrap. Everyone says they want to make a difference in DEI. Certain people actually [00:36:00] do when they make the changes.

[00:36:02] Ben Brooks: Budget's only one part of that. You can put a lot of budget and not make any difference in DEI. You know, that that is a part of it is, saying, hey, I understand that you want me to have a flat budget, but I'm also going to have a flat HR strategy. You wanted me to start a campus recruiting program.

[00:36:19] Ben Brooks: I can't. I'm not a magician. I don't invent things out of thin air. So maybe we could get rid of the, let's cancel the company offsite this year and he said, Oh no, we got to have an offsite. Okay I'm going to need money to offset. Or I'm going to need reduced expectations. Or maybe there's not going to be a dedicated HR business partner for each C suite executive.

[00:36:38] Ben Brooks: They have to share one. Oh, do you want to do that or not? Well, back to you get what you pay for. What are the trade offs? The AI HR says, 60 percent of executives expect HR department to partner with other departments to improve the company's core competencies and competitive advantages.

[00:36:54] Ben Brooks: That's why the rallying the troops is so important, right? And it's also [00:37:00] important that you're advocating to these folks that make the decisions. Your HR budget is largely not approved by HR, it's approved by others.

[00:37:06] Azure Von Rooths: Hey, Ben, I want to do something really quickly. Before I go into a poll, I want to answer Catherine's question, but the HR leadership here, you said something so amazing about head, heart, and guts, right? So, if I were to summarize what you said the homework, the strategy, It's from the head.

[00:37:23] Azure Von Rooths: It takes heart to build confidence, make the case that takes heart, right? And it really takes guts to rally the troops, to strengthen the alignment and to make the ask. But I think people often have a hard time identifying which one they should focus on first.

[00:37:41] Azure Von Rooths: So, , let's launch our next poll. And in this poll, which of the five steps would it help you most to focus on?

[00:37:53] Azure Von Rooths: Here are our possibilities. Do your homework. link to the strategy, build a business case, value the troops, [00:38:00] or is it make an ask? We're going to give you 45 seconds to read through and identify your focus. What's next for you? While everyone is doing that, Ben, I want to tie back to Catherine's question. Her question is, what if a small organization doesn't do budgets and HR is making a cold ask?

[00:38:19] Azure Von Rooths: Can you answer that while we launch our poll?

[00:38:22] Ben Brooks: Yes, great question, Catherine. By the way, it's not just the small organizations do that. Sometimes I find big organizations, large organizations do that as well. And very rarely will you ever in your career encounter someone that just goes down the hall and says, anybody want to spend some money, you're going to have to ask, right?

[00:38:39] Ben Brooks: And that cold ask doesn't have to be cold. But part of that stool softener, right? How do you give people the heads up? Right? How do you say, Hey, you know what? I'm going to do some research about what I think we're going to need in order to, address what we need for the business based upon our last executive meeting or, Hey, I'm going to go put together a document or strategy and you, [00:39:00] it's not a cold ask because you give them a heads up that it's coming before it's coming.

[00:39:04] Ben Brooks: That's the, and so then it becomes a warm ask. That, hey, I know in our executive team, we're really concerned that people are disengaged in our new hybrid work model. I'm going to put a plan around that in the resourcing and the budget required. Let me get organized and really document this and I'm going to come back to you with an ask.

[00:39:23] Ben Brooks: That way, even if it's not in a budget cycle or a specific budget, you're still requesting a resource allocation at any point in the year, which, by the way. Organizations have resource. You can ask outside of cycles. So it's a good, so these steps, these five steps still apply. Catherine, would you agree? You can go ahead and put that in the chat as we look at the poll results.

[00:39:46] Ben Brooks: Interesting.

[00:39:50] Ben Brooks: So this is one of the great things about collaborative learning, what we're doing right now in a webinar, is different people need to work on different things. Right? Or different people would have more benefit. I [00:40:00] will tell you that, you know, not surprised in some of this. I will tell you that most organizations don't have an HR strategy, even most Fortune 500 companies.

[00:40:09] Ben Brooks: They have an HR org chart. They have an HR team. They don't really have a strategy, right? And people have a operational plan. It's not a strategy, right? Getting that clear, and then again, that business case. And there are templates, if you want, if you're ever buying a product like PILOT, talk to one of our team.

[00:40:26] Ben Brooks: We've got an entire business case template. We've got a whole draft. We can help you fill it out that literally has your multi page thing that says, here's what we're doing at this organization and here's exactly why.

[00:40:44] Azure Von Rooths: And now that we have that final poll, I think it's a great way for us to transition into a little bit about the importance of making everyone feel powerful at work. [00:41:00] So PILOT was founded to help everyone feel powerful at work. We show employees how to effectively self reflect, solicit and accept feedback, advocate for themselves, and take effective action in their organization.

This is done through four methods of learning. Technology enabled group coaching, where employees are broken into groups or cohorts to begin their PILOT development journey. Next, individual online self reflection activities that can be done asynchronously on their time or on any device. In addition to that, we focus on executive fireside chats, which give employees access to higher level executives to learn the rules of work.

[00:41:49] Azure Von Rooths: And finally, through one on one future focus management feedback. where managers where both the managers and employees focus on [00:42:00] development objectives, aspirations and it separates from a performance conversation. You'll find a link in the chat right now to book a meeting with PILOT if you'd like more information.

[00:42:14] Azure Von Rooths: We'd love to see you continue to mark your calendar for future webinars. On October 5th, we will engage in Learning Labs Part 2, generating real world action with PILOT's Learning Strategist and Senior Instructional Designer, Pinar, and PILOT's Head of Product, Rachel. This webinar is a must attend for anyone dedicated to maximizing the impact of learning initiatives.

[00:42:43] Azure Von Rooths: The next date we'd like for you to hold is October 24th, where we will engage in a phenomenal session focused on DEI dynamics, the interplay of mentoring, coaching, and reverse mentoring with PILOT's founder and CEO, Ben Brooks, [00:43:00] Jen Laden, Director of L& D at PILOT. Mentoring Click, and Author of Mentoring Programs That Work.

[00:43:08] Azure Von Rooths: In addition to that, we'll be joined by Patrice Gordon, author of Reverse Mentoring. They'll discuss employing best practices in talent development to nurture and upskill your diverse employee pool. We're going to take a moment to put both of those links in the chat for you to register now. As we wrap up, we've done an amazing job on time.

[00:43:38] Azure Von Rooths: I would like to ask our participants, what questions do you have for Ben on anything that you've heard today, or anything that you would like additional clarification on?

[00:43:54] Ben Brooks: Great. It looks, yeah, we've got something in the panel there. So someone asked, how do you keep the motivation up, [00:44:00] especially if you dread the budgeting process? I'd like to feel powerful about doing budgets, but I definitely don't feel optimistic, let alone powerful. Like Azure is talking about. So again, I think that's a great question.

[00:44:13] Ben Brooks: Again, keep these coming. You can put them in the chat or the Q& A panel. We've got time for a lot of questions. So if you ask the hard hitting ones, get your money's worth here, right? I think that a part of this is, it's a mindset, right? So, watch the recording of this again, right?

[00:44:26] Ben Brooks: You're probably feeling a sense of motivation, you know, put a plus one on the chat if you're feeling a little bit more motivated or confident, if your mood is up a little bit from just listening to this about making the budget and the ask. So part of it is that mental track, like, what are you watching or listening or hearing?

[00:44:41] Ben Brooks: So I think that's a part of it, right? Also, don't do it alone. Who's your partner in HR? Could be a subordinate on your team, a co worker, that ally, they're rallying the troops. Who's that person? It's like, no, we're going to do this together. I'm going to help you draft that plan. We're going to help edit it, right?

[00:44:56] Ben Brooks: Doing those sort of things. We've got even a an ROI calculator and a [00:45:00] cost savings calculator around turnover. If you email Layton, he'll drop his email in, but you can email Layton. He'll send you the template and have one of our sales people walk you through how do you show the math.

[00:45:10] Ben Brooks: So again, you're not alone in doing those things. And then and we got a question about the quote again regarding the head, heart and guts. Azure, could you recite that again? Kind of what you said about head, heart and guts?

[00:45:23] Azure Von Rooths: Absolutely. So, in our five steps, Ben, you talked about doing your homework, your strategy.

[00:45:30] Azure Von Rooths: It builds confidence, making the case. Rallying the troops to strengthen alignment and then finally making the case basically from the book. Head, heart and guts. I looked at each of those and I connected them to why it's important for HR leaders to understand the connection that they have with each of them.

[00:45:48] Azure Von Rooths: If you are a head leader, you do your homework. You devise a strategy. If you are a heart leader, this. Information will help you build confidence and make the case, [00:46:00] but when it's all said and done, it takes guts. It takes guts for you to rally the troops, and it takes guts to make the ask. So, at every phase, head, heart, and guts are what matters in HR leadership in order for you to advocate for your employees. They need you to advocate on their behalf, which will empower them to learn how to advocate on their own behalf. What do you think, Ben?

[00:46:28] Ben Brooks: That's spot on because think of if the HR person or head of HR COE lead is not advocating for HR spend, who is? Who is?

[00:46:40] Ben Brooks: Because people are worried about legal and IT and ops and sales and marketing and product and other things, compliance, but you know, we are the stewards of the employee experience. We are the stewards of the learning and career growth. We're the stewards of it. It doesn't mean we're the only one who's responsible for it's like DEI.

[00:46:58] Ben Brooks: You can't have a single person [00:47:00] or a team of 3, transform DEI, but we are the people that are the ones that are, deciding, right? What we focus on or what we prioritize and I know we've got. Some HRCI and SHRM codes we're going to be sharing here in just a second, those of you who are joining to get your professional development credits in addition to preparing for your budgets.

[00:47:19] Ben Brooks: What I'll also share is, look, be okay with being told no. You know, Mike Bloomberg, I read his autobiography and he said, I always was happy when people asked me for money for charity, and it was a lot of money, even when I didn't have a lot of money, because I found a sense of respect that they thought that I might have it and that they were bold enough to ask for it.

[00:47:38] Ben Brooks: Sometimes I gave it to him. Sometimes I didn't. I learned a lot when I was on a nonprofit board raising money. Cause it's, I would ask a friend for money and the first time I'd say, you know, Azure. Can I have, 500 for my charity for, can you do this? And I go, I know it's a lot of mail and I just negotiate against myself.

[00:47:56] Ben Brooks: And what I found really worked, and I got training on this and learned from people who are much better than [00:48:00] me, that made me ferocious in corporate budgeting. They'd say, hey Azure, we have this great opportunity, you know, you can come to this gala, it supports an amazing cause, I'd love for you to be there, it's 500, um, would you like to join?

[00:48:12] Ben Brooks: And then, zip it, right? That's what you have to do, is you have to ask and you have to shut up. Let them tell you no. Let them tell you it's got to be less. Let them tell you, you've got to have more information, or that the business case is incomplete, or that you need to find a different vendor, right?

[00:48:35] Ben Brooks: That's a big part of the negotiating skills. The Keras negotiating course, if you've never taken, it's a great negotiating course. It's the ones in the back of the airline magazines. It's been around forever. It's from Howard Hughes. His head of negotiation wrote this curriculum 60 years ago, still applies today.

[00:48:50] Ben Brooks: Great. And so much of it is this mindset. So as you go, and this is my little pep talk to everyone in HR is I love HR so much. You got to go into this with a [00:49:00] mindset, right? Around that. You may not get exactly what you want. You may have to go a couple of rounds. But you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate, and you are negotiating on behalf of the greater good of the employee experience, people's careers, DEI, fair compensation, creating employment opportunities for recruitment, for people that are underrepresented, like a lot of very meaningful, this is your opportunity to make meaning in the world.

[00:49:29] Ben Brooks: But, quiet mouths don't get fed, right? You got to scrap and advocate because everybody else's and nobody's telling HR to do it and PILOT and Ben Brooks and Azure here are telling you to do it. We'll be in the chat, drop other questions, but I know we got to do a couple of quick housekeeping things and then, drop your LinkedIn if you'd like to connect. The ROI calculator, by the way, Layton already dropped it. I didn't realize, Layton, we had a link. We're still on top of it. We have that ROI calculator of HR programs. If you need to show the ROI, what's [00:50:00] the ROI? Right? What's it for? We got a tool there. Go click that and it can help you do the math in a spreadsheet to show if we spend this, we get this.

[00:50:09] Ben Brooks: And then, we've got all sorts of other things. We have the HRCI, right? And the SHRM codes are in the chat. You have to attend live to get those, right? So that's the difference. And if you'd like to connect with me I'm on LinkedIn.

[00:50:21] Ben Brooks: Very findable. Um, would love to connect with anyone else. And Azure and Helen, I'll hand it back to you.

[00:50:26] Azure Von Rooths: Perfect. Thank you so much. And thank you so much for joining us today. We are so excited that you set aside time. We hope that we have made this the most enjoyable hour of your day. If you would like more information about PILOT, you can email us your questions to [email protected], L A Y T O N at, or check out our website at www. On our website, you'll see a resources tab, which will show you all of our upcoming [00:51:00] webinar schedules, and it will give you an opportunity to watch other recordings on demand.

[00:51:06] Azure Von Rooths: If you want to set aside time to learn more, you can book here. I'll make sure that our producer puts that chat in the link. On behalf of myself, Azure Rooths, our producer, Helen, we want to say thank you so very much for being here. Have a wonderful day.