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Three tips to budget time for 2020 initiatives

As 2019 is quickly coming to an end, many are scrambling to finish the 2020 budget planning before ringing in the new year. However, while many are focused on how much they will spend on operations, new hires, technologies, advertising and marketing, etc. one very important item is often overlooked – time.  

Like money, time is limited, precious, and if overspent, can bring down entire programs or organizations. The precious commodity is often just as important as money, especially when it comes to rolling out new programs or approaches, and yet, how much of the budgeting cycle is spent focused on it?

It’s not too late. 

As you complete 2020 budgeting, here are three tips to budget for time. 

For these tips, let’s use the example of an initiative to revamp your hiring process to be efficient, fair, and effective through a combination of people, process, and technology.

Tip 1: Don’t spend all the time at once

Just like with financial investments, it is wise to spread out the investment of time. In other words, don’t overlap all major time investments, especially time investments from the same departments. 

Overlap too many initiatives and none will get the focus they need and if something goes wrong with one, then all will suffer. The overload will also leave your team burned out and the organization saturated and unable to absorb all the change required to adopt the initiatives.


Prioritize the initiatives and spread them throughout the year. Within each initiative, there is also opportunity to spread them out so that time demands are even and there is plenty of time to react and adjust without burnout.

For example, with the hiring initiative: Split the program into sub-initiatives and spread them out. Q1 focus on introducing new basic technology and processes to standardize and anonymize candidate screening and interviews within select divisions. Q2 optimize the solution within those divisions to ensure the best candidates and build training for everyone else. Q3 roll-out the hiring solution across the rest of the organization. Q4 optimize across organization.

Tip 2: Invest wisely based on desired return

With time, like money, not all investments are created equal. Some investments get a lot more return than others. The key is knowing the return you need. 

For example, for knowledge retention and behavioral change (adopting new processes and/or new technologies, learning new content, etc.), small and continuous is far more impactful than single large events. Plan for small doses of training and reinforcements over long periods of time, such as weekly 30-minute training classes, weekly communications with small, actionable tips, and monthly lunch-and-learn feedback sessions.

For example, for emotional impact (introducing new sales goals, launching new product), a large splashy event designed for excitement will have a lasting emotional impact. But, while the emotion will linger, the content won't. Assume that little to none of the content will be retained after a large event, so anything the team needs to know must be reinforced with small, continuous follow-up.

With the example of the hiring initiative: launch with an organization event to build up the emotional investment of the initiative and to display top-down priority, then switch to small and continuous such as weekly tips for inclusive hiring and interview techniques, small, on-demand trainings on the technology (preferably video format), and monthly lunch-and-learn diversity and compliance awareness conversations.

Tip 3: Measure and verify success before continuing investment 

When a financial investment doesn’t work out, you don’t keep spending money on it, right? If a product doesn’t work, do you buy more? If a consultant isn’t performing, do you renew the contract? No, of course not. Don’t do that with time either.

With all investments, build in success metrics and measure against them. If the organization isn’t achieving those metrics, stop and adjust or abandon the approach (or adjust the expectations of the return on that investment). Just like with money, you don’t get that time back, so stop wasting it.

Spending tons of time training employees and but nothing changes, stop it. Sending employees on a week-long conference only to have them return to business as usual within days of returning, stop it. Spending hours answering emails that does little to achieve the organization or team goals, stop it!

With the example of the hiring initiative: is the organization achieving better diversity, higher retention, faster, more efficient hiring, and improved candidate experience metrics? If the answer is no, is the process design flawed or are the employees not executing correctly? Fix that before investing more time into rollout and training.

Pulling it all together – budgeting money and time for 2020 initiatives

As you put those final details on your 2020 budget, ensure you are setting yourself up for success by budgeting the time as well as the money. Spread out the investment so you are not overburdening any teams, design the investment to maximize the return of the effort, and measure success so you are not continuing to invest good time after bad. 

And, if you are planning to tackle hiring in 2020 by creating an efficient, fair, and effective hiring program while removing bias, decreasing costs, and increasing compliance, we are here to help. Career.Place offers an anonymous, standardized candidate screening solution that allows hiring teams to focus on what matters without wasting time. Contact us to learn more.

Happy budgeting! 

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