The Best Employee Branding Budgeting Tips For Your SMB
Just like rules, budgets are meant to be broken, right? Well, your accounting department and stakeholders might think otherwise. You need to launch a successful employee branding program but the company coffers aren’t bottomless and you need to make a strong business case. So, before you start vetting vendors, it’s time to create an accurate expense sheet. Preferably, one that includes hidden fees and ongoing maintenance. After all, upfront costs aren’t the only thing tipping the scales. Follow these 8 employee branding budget tips to watch every penny and stretch your L&D resources.
1. Zero In On Specific Objectives And Outcomes
One of the biggest challenges that companies face is narrowing the scope, especially for such a broad subject as employee branding, as it pertains to everyone in your organization and there are so many factors involved. For example, you need to build product knowledge and instill core values. Not to mention, verify that employee behaviors align with your image. That’s a lot of ground to cover. However, the key is to zero in on specific objectives and outcomes for the time being. These should be your top branding priorities. Later on, you can gradually expand your program to feature other topics or skills.
2. Reuse What You Already Have
Why let that online training library go to waste when you can reuse it for your employee branding strategy? You don’t have to build everything from scratch. In fact, an outsourcing partner can help you repurpose assets for your brand ambassador training. First things first, gather all your resources. Then look for components you can borrow for brand training. For instance, there may be images or video clips tucked away in webinars. All of these reusable assets cut costs and maximize resource allocation.
3. Do Some Employee Branding Market Research
Even if you’ve outsourced before, it’s always wise to check the current market rates. Of course, you can’t get detailed estimates without an RFP, but you can calculate a ballpark figure at this point. Request free quotes from vendors or see if there are any cost breakdowns on social media. For example, vendors generally charge this much for employee branding live events or microlearning serious games. Just bear in mind that this is all generic info. So, don’t base your entire outsourcing budget on social media estimates.
4. Separate In-House From Outsourcing Tasks
Your expense sheet should have two sections. One is reserved for outsourcing tasks, and the other for in-house projects. Eventually, these two budgets will come together. But for now, you should keep them separate so that it’s easier to make changes. This also allows you to find the most cost-effective solutions for employee brand training. As an example, you break down the in-house development costs and realize it is cheaper to outsource your demo videos.
5. Factor In Employee Branding Marketing And Implementation
Sadly, your new employee branding strategy won’t market itself. Employees need to know about upcoming courses and all the benefits they offer. It also costs money to implement brand ambassador training, even if the outsourcing partner handles everything else. A perfect example of this is the learning curve. How long will it take employees to get used to the online training platform? You also have to pay for content revisions and updates. So, add all of these often-overlooked fees to your expense sheet.
6. Account For Software And JIT Support
Some vendors include software in the price, while some charge extra to cover authoring tools costs. For example, they need to purchase animation and rendering software for your AR employee branding activities. You should also factor in JIT support costs, such as microlearning demos, infographics, and self-assessments. If you plan to develop these assets in-house, then you need your own authoring tool and LMS. So, add those to your employee branding budget too.
7. Calculate Employee Branding Training Seat Time
How much time do your new employees need to get on board with your brand? What about knowledge refreshers for long-time staffers? A crucial part of your budget is brand training seat time. Many companies overlook this expense because it’s broken up over a long period. For instance, employees spend five minutes here and twenty minutes there, but all these short bursts of online training add up. More importantly, they come out of your payroll budget. Another cost to consider is L&D development time. Even if they don’t create resources from the ground up, they still need to maintain them, as well as evaluate metrics and take care of admin tasks.
8. Always Leave A Budget Buffer
This is the golden rule for every online training budget. Always leave some space for unexpected costs, whether it’s a long learning curve for staffers or additional vendor support services. You never know when surprise fees are going to pop up and that tiny buffer comes in handy. That said, you shouldn’t leave a big gap. Ironically, that usually leads to overspending. You know that you have that spacious money cushion, so you splurge on things that you normally wouldn’t. Plus, you can free up that large buffer for other projects. So, take the Goldilocks route: not too big and not too small.
These employee branding budget tips can help you tally expenses and avoid unexpected fees. The trick is to plan ahead. Do your homework to verify the current market rates. But don’t stop there. You should also reach out to vendors directly for personalized estimates. This way, you know how much to allocate for employee branding activities and JIT support. Finally, always leave a little wiggle room to prevent project delays.
How do you draft a winning RFP once you find the right outsourcing partners? Read our eBook Employee Branding Outsourcing: How To Choose The Perfect Solution To Build Brand Advocacy for tips to evaluate vendors and maximize ROI.