Sales Inquiry : 855-351-4731    GET A QUOTE
Budget Planning for HR

Getting Started with Budget Planning for HR

Setting a budget that's accurate and practical is vital for ensuring HR departments have the necessary resources they need to do their job effectively. The budget is the foundation on which all of HR’s work rests: recruitment, training, employee benefits, and more. This makes budget planning the crucial first step in attracting and keeping top talent, improving skills, and staying ahead of the competition.

However, planning a budget isn't easy. If you allocate too much of your budget means wasting money; if you assign too little, you miss out on opportunities. This requires considering many factors including business goals, resources, and priorities.

It's crucial to understand the different parts usually seen in an HR budget. These include things like salaries for staff, costs related to hiring new employees, and expenses for training. Together, they help HR departments work smoothly and achieve the company's goals.

Moreover, planning an HR budget effectively has many benefits. It helps use resources wisely, keeps costs in check, and makes sure HR plans line up with what the company wants to achieve. It also helps spot and solve HR issues before they become bigger issues. By understanding these aspects of HR budgeting, HR professionals and company leaders can improve their budget planning processes, leading to long-term success and growth.

HR Budget Basics

HR budgeting is a critical part of organizational planning. It makes sure that Human Resource departments have the resources they need to function effectively. A clear budgeting process is essential for HR because it helps allocate resources in line with organizational goals.

CoAdvantage What is HR Budgeting?

HR budgeting is about allocating financial resources to support various human resources functions within an organization. It involves estimating costs related to activities such as recruitment, training, compensation, benefits, employee development, and HR technology.

The main goal of HR budget planning is to ensure that the HR department has enough resources to support the organization's human capital needs while aligning with its overall goals and objectives. By strategically allocating funds, HR budget planning helps organizations recruit and retain talent effectively, develop employee skills, maintain compliance, and boost employee engagement and satisfaction.

Benefits of an Effective HR Budget

Effective HR budget planning offers several benefits to a company:

  • Putting Resources Where They're Needed. Making sure that resources go to the right HR projects that match what the company wants to achieve.

  • Keeping Costs in Check. Forecasting how much things will cost and keeping an eye on spending to avoid spending too much.

  • Matching HR Plans with Company Goals. Making sure HR activities and money spent on them help the company reach its overall goals.

  • Checking How Well HR Work is Going. Evaluate if HR programs are working well and if they're worth the money spent on them.

  • Spotting and Fixing Problems. Finding and dealing with issues such as staffing, compliance or other HR areas so the company can stay resilient.

What Does a HR Budget Include?

An HR budget typically covers various elements aimed at supporting the organization's human capital needs and strategic objectives. These elements may can differ based on the company's size, industry, and specific HR priorities. Below is a breakdown of the typical components found in an HR budget:

  • Personnel Costs. This includes salaries, wages, bonuses, and benefits for HR staff.

  • Recruitment Expenses. These are costs associated with advertising job openings, conducting interviews, background checks, and hiring assessments.

  • Training and Development Costs. These cover expenses for employee training programs, workshops, seminars, certifications, and tuition reimbursement.

  • Employee Benefits. These encompass costs for health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and other benefits.

  • HR Technology. This involves expenses for HR software, payroll software, applicant tracking systems, and other HR technology solutions.

  • Compliance and Legal Costs. These are expenses related to ensuring compliance with labor laws, regulations, and industry standards, including legal fees and compliance training.

  • Employee Relations Programs. These include costs for employee engagement initiatives, recognition programs, wellness programs, and conflict resolution.

  • Miscellaneous Expenses. These cover other HR-related costs, such as professional memberships, subscriptions, office supplies, and travel expenses.

Some example budget line items within these categories may include:

  • Salary and benefits for HR Director
  • Training program fees
  • Recruitment advertising cost

Benchmarking HR Budgets

First, let’s level-set expectations. Nearly half (47%) of HR teams expect budget increases this year, according to Gartner's "2023 HR Budget and Efficiency Benchmarks Report," with special focus on recruiting and HR technology. Per Gartner’s report, the average HR function spends $2,524 per employee annually, with the HR functional spend at 0.74% as a percentage of revenue. Furthermore, there is typically one HR full-time employee (FTE) for every 57 FTE employees.

Remember, however, these figures tell only part of the budget story. “[Metrics] above or below the benchmarking average should not necessarily be interpreted as good or bad,” says Gartner. “This is because the metric neither reflects the quality of HR services provided nor HR’s contribution to business performance.”

Indeed, budget planning in HR isn't just about increasing funds; it's about spending wisely. At the end of the day, the important thing – as respondents told HR Dive in their 2023 Identity of HR survey – is that organizations focus on “maximizing value within budgetary constraints.”

Setting HR Priorities

Next, it’s time to set priorities. The budget should align with the team’s goals and vision for the year. The budget planning process should begin by identifying key areas for development—like recruitment, training, and technology upgrades—and allocate funds proportional to priority level.

In setting these areas of focus, try not to short-change your efforts with short-term thinking. Emphasizing quality over quantity can lead to long-term savings and better outcomes, so budgets should account for long-term planning, not just what is needed immediately.

Aligning Budget with Reality

It’s also important to ensure that budget levels and expected output align. A separate Gartner report found that 83% of HR leaders are expected to perform more tasks now compared to three years ago. Similarly, the 2022-2023 State of the Workforce report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) says that nearly two-thirds (61%) of HR teams have been working without adequate staff for the workload.

If increasing output is expected, that should be reflected in the budget, otherwise the organization may risk burnout in its HR operation. Unrealistic expectations can lead to inefficiency, turnover, and underperformance. The budget should reflect a balance between ambitious goals and the practical capabilities of the HR team.

Fortunately, by aligning the budget with these factors, HR departments can effectively navigate the challenges of a new fiscal year and contribute meaningfully to the organization's growth and success.

Ready to optimize your HR operations and boost business productivity? Consider partnering with CoAdvantage, a nationwide Professional Employer Organization (PEO). With our comprehensive and cost-effective HR solutions, including but not limited to: HR administration, HR technology, workers' compensation management, and tailored health insurance packages. From payroll to compliance and risk management, we've got you covered. 

Let us handle the complexities of HR management so you can focus in growing your business. Fill out the form below to discover how CoAdvantage can support your company's success!