As the fiscal year-end approaches for many businesses, some departmental heads may be considering mirroring the actions of federal agencies and going on a spending spree to ensure budgets are maintained for next year. However, rather than waste money on toilet rolls and trombones, there are smarter year-end budgeting solutions.
The federal financial year runs from October to September; and, in the final month of every fiscal year, federal agencies go on a spending spree in order to prevent Congress believing they can operate on smaller budgets. In recent years, the scramble to spend what´s left in agencies' budgets has been chronicled by OpenTheBook.com; and among some of the more peculiar items recorded in 2018:
- Six agency contracts worth a total of $799,220 were awarded for toilet paper
- More than $4.6 million was spent on lobster and crab meat
- The Department of Defense spent $163,636 on artists´ brushes and paint
- In the final month of the fiscal year, $71,844 was spent on trombones.
- The Executive Office of the President spent $119,265 on cameras and photos.
- Federal agencies spent a combined total of $673,471 on golf carts - in one month!
Corporate America is a Little More Discrete about its Spending
Corporate America is not subject to the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, and can therefore be a little more discrete about how it spends “use-it-or-lose-it” budgets. It is highly likely there are some very peculiar corporate purchases made as the year-end approaches - although probably not on the scale of what federal agencies spend to maintain their budgets.
Nonetheless, rather than waste money on highly-unnecessary and low-quality purchases to reduce budget surpluses, departmental heads could be investing funds wisely on smarter year-end budgeting solutions that not only protect budgets, but also protect the business's most vital assets - its employees. No matter how much or how little surplus is available, there is an employee safety solution to match.
The Three Levels of Smarter Year-End Spending on Employee Safety
To help evaluate the value of employee safety solutions, we have compared the costs of implementing different standards of solution with everyday office commodities that departmental heads may be tempted to stock up on in order to reduce budget surpluses. None of the solutions cost as much as a medically consulted injury to an employee - which was calculated in 2017 to be $39,000.
- A Year’s Worth of Extra Office Supplies for 10 People = A Mass Internal Alerting System
The average cost of office supplies per employee is around $200, but taking $2,000 to provide an extra set of pens, paper, and sticky notes for about 10 employees could instead also be used to purchase a basic texting and email alerting system to enhance communication with employees.
A basic texting and email alerting system would enable you to deliver pre-drafted SMS text or email messages to employees for common company-wide occurrences such as office closures due to severe weather or an IT system outage. Because a basic alerting system requires the employee contact information to be uploaded and maintained manually, the system is most convenient for small businesses or for departmental team managers. At the end of the day, the convenience of being able to send a mass notification through email and text message is of extreme value.
- 2,000 Additional Cups of Coffee = An Employee Alerting System with a Data Management Tool
Let’s assume that an average cup of coffee costs $2.50. You could choose to spend $5,000 on 2,000 cups of coffee, or instead, you can invest in an employee alerting system to enable better communication through text message, email, and voice.
The $5,000 spent will also include an automatic data management tool to easily load and maintain employee information. The employee alerting system with the automatic data management feature will work with any size business and minimizes communication efforts for managers, especially during a company-wide event or during an emergency situation.
- 5,217 More Rolls of Toilet Paper = Fully-Loaded Alerting and Two-Way Communication System
Another way to spend extra funds is on something that is non-perishable and that you know will get used eventually is toilet paper. An average case of 36 toilet paper rollscosts $69, which means an office could spend around $10,000 for an extra 5,217 toilet paper rolls.
For the same price of purchasing 144 extra cases of toilet paper, a business could invest in a fully-loaded alerting system, including:
- SMS text, email, and voice,
- A SmartLoader system for employee data,
- And the option to integrate two mobile application tools, such as Rave Panic Button and Rave Guardian:
- Rave Panic Button: During a critical incident, such as an unprecedented workplace violence incident (find the latest workplace violence statistics) or an employee experiencing a medical emergency, the Rave Panic Button app allows designated employees to report the incident to 911 and send a mass notification to all on-site co-workers with the push of a button.
- Rave Guardian: Rave Guardian is a personal safety app that serves as added protection for onsite or traveling employees or even field workers who might need extra help along the path to their destination.
Use Cases to Prove ROI for Safety Tools
Here are real examples of businesses investing extra funds in safety and communication tools for their employees, and how the organizations are putting these tools to good use:
GE Appliances (a Haier Company): Performing Employee Wellness Checks
GE Appliances, a Haier Company, optimized their pre-existing emergency notification system to go beyond sending severe weather alerts. During Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the GE Appliances security team used their alerting system to deliver messages to their employees through SMS text and email twice a day, prompting them to confirm if they were safe. You can hear directly from the GE Appliances security team featured in this past webinar.
Hear a snippet: GE Appliances shares lessons-learned during Hurricane Harvey and the importance of being proactive.
Fluor Federal Petroleum Operations (Fluor): Simplifying Emergency Communications
Fluor Federal Petroleum Operations (Fluor) is a long-time user of the Intermedix WebEOC solution for incident management, but when it came to sending out mass notifications to their employees, Fluor faced several inefficiencies. Sending out notifications required the sender to take several extra steps between two separate systems, which is why Fluor decided to transition to a WebEOC-friendly alerting system. Learn how this change gave Fluor a $189,000 return on investment.
Year-End Budgeting Solutions Done Right
Employee communication will always be an important part of your business, especially as it relates to urgent notifications. Using leftover year-end funds toward implementing safety and communication-enhancing tools that enable you to quickly and effectively deliver urgent notifications through multiple communication channels will be well worth the investment.
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