By now, you already know that to move forward with telework/flexible work arrangements you need to create business case to present to management to gain buy-in. You also probably know all of the benefits of telework (i.e. reduced real estate cost, reduced carbon footprint, increased employee satisfaction, etc.). But what’s in a good business case?
Like any initiative, the business case typically contains the benefits and costs, and clearly answers the question, “why should we do this?” However, a good business case should go beyond just cost-benefit analysis. Here are some of the key elements usually found in any business case:
Compelling Reason. This section is the marketing pitch used to sell the idea internally. You can start with identifying the problem you are trying to solve (i.e. reducing costs or retaining talent). Telework or flexible work arrangements then become a solution. A compelling case should also include the risks for not going forward or doing nothing. Will competitors pass you by? Will operating costs keep rising and erode your business? Will employees begin jumping ship?
Vision/End State. At a high-level, what is the vision for the future state? Providing some thought around what leaders should expect in the future can help make the effort more tangible. The business case then serves as the reference point for the business for all future decisions related to the initiative. Leaders can tie smaller or lower level decisions back to the vision and ensure the correct choices are made.
Timeline. Business case authors should include a general, realistic timeline of when the organization will reach the future state and the key milestones in between.
Metrics of success. How will you know if you accomplished what you set out to do or reached the end state? How will you measure success? High level metrics of success should be identified to measure whether the organization has reached its intended objectives.
Benefits and costs. Most executives are focused on the monetary benefits and costs of the program. Return-on-investment (ROI) is the one universal financial metric that is used by organizations to determine whether an initiative is worth the effort.
Competitive Analysis or Benchmarking. Knowing what the competition, or the rest of the industry, is doing can help support your business case. No one wants to get left behind or miss an opportunity that could translate into competitive advantage.
One last idea is to personalize the business case a bit. Sometimes, anecdotal information or a little storytelling can add to the raw data, facts, and figures you present. In next week’s blog post I’ll show you how you can make your leaders feel the change you are trying to push.