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HR Budgeting Guide

From necessary cost to strategic investment: shifting the perspective on HR budget.

  • Every organization has unique processes and timelines that impact how the budget is created and allocated to departments, often leaving HR unsure about its role in financial decision making.
  • Traditionally, HR leaders have had minimal input into organizational budgeting due to perceptions of HR as a necessary expense or cost center rather than a strategic partner.

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  • Get advice, coaching, and insight at key project milestones
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Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Organizations that fail to identify the talent implications associated with strategic investments risk prioritizing short-term financial gains while ignoring long-term consequences.

Impact and Result

  • Outline the organization’s budgeting process and identify key decision-makers and timelines.
  • Develop HR’s role as a strategic partner to influence internal stakeholders and align HR spending with strategic goals and objectives.
  • Create an HR budget that aligns HR spending with organizational strategy.

HR Budgeting Guide Research & Tools

1. Introduction

Understand key budgeting concepts and the evolution of HR’s role in the organizational budgeting process.

2. Develop

Develop HR’s role as a strategic partner to support organizational and HR budgeting processes.

3. Create and Allocate

Create and allocate HR budget to support organizational strategy.

HR Budgeting Guide preview picture

About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

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Get the help you need in this 3-phase advisory process. You'll receive 8 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Introduction to organizational budgeting
  • Call 1: Discuss the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders in the organization’s budgeting process.
  • Call 2: Identify and document the organization’s budgeting process to inform next steps.

Guided Implementation 2: Develop HR’s role as a strategic business partner to support organizational and HR’s budgeting processes
  • Call 1: Identify opportunities to strengthen HR’s business acumen skills.
  • Call 2: Analyze internal and external factors that will help HR influence the budget.

Guided Implementation 3: Create and allocate the HR budget
  • Call 1: Review strategic documents to uncover budgeting needs and identify and evaluate HR’s administrative and initiative costs.
  • Call 2: Assess the effort and impact of initiatives to create a shortlist.
  • Call 3: Build a business case to gain buy-in for HR’s budget request.
  • Call 4: Create a communication plan to share the impact of the finalized budget with HR stakeholders.


  • Shirley Slavens, Director, HR, Scotiabank
  • Rushita Patel, Management Consulting, Deloitte
  • 1 anonymous contributor