If the thought of asking your boss for a bigger budget makes you break out in a cold sweat, you’re not alone. Many people are afraid to ask for a budget increase, either because they’ve been turned down in the past or because they’re not sure what to say.
But here’s some good news: A recent Verdantix survey suggests that more than half of companies plan to increase their spending on EHS activities in 2023. In other words, the money is there — if you know how to ask.
Whether it’s a conference you want to attend, a new training initiative, a software purchase, or something else you need, these tips will help you successfully ask for a budget increase this year.
How to ask for a budget increase
- Make a list of what you’ve accomplished with last year’s budget
- Identify why you need more money
- Be specific about how much you’re asking for
- Align your request with business objectives
- Show the cost of doing nothing
1. Make a list of what you’ve accomplished with last year’s budget
Before you ask for more money, it’s a smart move to review what you’ve accomplished with last year’s budget. If you can show that your department’s efforts add value to the company, you’ll be in a much better position to request a budget increase.
Look for ways to connect your work to the business’ bottom line. For example, if your distracted driver training program has reduced the number of vehicle accidents, you can show how this has resulted in fewer injuries, less money spent on repairs for company vehicles, and decreased liability claims.
2. Identify why you need more money
There are many reasons you might need to ask for extra funds. For example, you might have hired a large number of new employees last year, so you’ll need more money to get them up to speed with your safety program. Or, you might be getting ready to implement an ESG initiative or get up to speed with new reporting requirements. You might also need to purchase EHS software if your existing system is outdated or doesn’t integrate with your other business systems. An increase in responsibilities, new staff, or a special project is reasonable grounds for a budget increase.
3. Be specific about how much you’re asking for
Once you’ve determined why you need more money, you’ll need to figure out how much you need. That’s not always easy, but it’s worth the extra effort. The last thing you want to do is go back and ask for more money a second (or third) time because your original estimate fell short.
To get an idea of how much you’ll need, start by looking at how much other companies are budgeting for similar initiatives. Vendors, industry websites, and benchmarking studies can help you determine what you should expect to spend.
4. Align your request with business objectives
If you want to give yourself the best chance of success, you’ll need to show how your request is aligned with the company’s goals. For example, if you’re asking for more money for EHS software, be prepared to explain why this is important to the business overall. Will it help the company save money? Prevent a costly accident? Lower insurance premiums? It might seem obvious to you, but it’s important to clearly explain how your request benefits the business as a whole.
5. Show the cost of doing nothing
For financial decision-makers, saying “no” to a budget request or putting it off until next year is always the easiest option. Your job and opportunity is to show that the money they’re saving by doing nothing could end up costing them much more in the long run.
If you put off purchasing new EHS software, for example, you’re exposing your business to unnecessary risks. You can’t lower costs or prevent incidents without control and visibility into what’s happening across your company. Not to mention, the hours you spend dealing with bugs and filling out support tickets for outdated software are hours you could have spent on high-value tasks.
Asking for a bigger budget can be scary, but these tips will help you negotiate with confidence. Next, check out this article on how to demonstrate the business value of EHS.