Tight salary budget

 

Here we are in July, budgeting season is over and the new financial year has commenced. One can almost hear the silent whispers of business leaders all around the country… Have we budgeted for enough team members to achieve our ambitious goals? What happens if we hire too many people and the work doesn’t come in? What happens if people start burning out? Unless your company starts with G and ends in oogle, there is probably a strong chance that this “salary budget balance effect” feels familiar.

I know the feeling well, given that almost every business I have been associated with for as long as I can remember has had a limited salary budget. In fact, for the last few years one of my many tasks has been to create a suite of ‘employee performance’ solutions (software and services) with just a handful of people, competing against others with significantly bigger budgets.

I also know all too well the consequences of getting resource allocation wrong, ranging from being highly inconvenient to unacceptably stressful for the entire team. If there is too much work for the team to do over a long period of time, the cracks eventually start to show and then all of a sudden everything seems to start unravelling. Up until a few years ago I thought the way to go was to keep close to the team and manage the cracks accordingly. I think I became pretty good at it, but in hindsight it wasn’t a sustainable strategy.

So, what is the answer?

Several years ago, I was lucky to be introduced to a solution that has since worked so well that I wanted to share it with you in case it can help you too.

I supplemented my core team in Australia with remote team members in the Philippines. No, I didn’t transfer anyone’s role to the Philippines or outsource any roles. Nor did I try and replace anyone’s role. Instead, rather than only adding one more person when three were required, I was able to add three to support the current team. I still hired in Australia, but this strategy helped me get more done with less stress, without blowing the salary budget.

Everyone wins. Awesome.

The model that I have found works extremely well is the one used by Kinetic Innovative Staffing. They help us find team members who work from home (and therefore avoid the several-hour daily commute), and then we integrate them as if they were a full-time team member. Whilst my requirements have mainly been around software development, software testing and product support, the team at Kinetic were telling me recently that data analysts, data scientists, video production support and other similar positions are becoming more popular.  I thought you should know.

If you have plenty of salary budget and plenty of money in the company bank account, this probably isn’t a solution that you need worry about. For everyone else, I would recommend at least trying it. It works.

Jason Buchanan is the general manager for insights and innovation of Optimum Consulting Group, a trusted and leading HR consultancy firm in Australia. He is also the brain behind Employee Life, Optimum’s online platform platform specifically designed to support performance improvement through better data.