Four Steps to a Successful Payroll Implementation

The importance of implementing top-quality payroll solutions is huge, and more and more businesses worldwide are coming to realize the benefits of modern, integrated, strategic payroll operations. But behind the scenes, how does this work in practice?

To find out, we sought the views of two experienced payroll experts at our recent Paymakers event in Barcelona: Olga Rodriguez, CloudPay’s Director of Connectivity Implementation, and Ricardo Rehkopf, International Payroll Leader. Between them, they have more than half a century of experience in the payroll industry, and Ricardo has been working alongside CloudPay for over a decade.

In their talk, they explored the ways in which some of the stress and unforeseen costs can be taken out of global payroll implementation. By its very nature, it can be a time-consuming and complex process, but getting it right without disruption can make a real difference to international expansion, employee experience, and maintaining compliance.

What can go wrong during implementation?

Firstly, they explored two of the most common reasons that global payroll implementations fail, or at least struggle. The first is a lack of resources, which can often be seen in the absence of a designated project manager or change manager or lacking an operational team with the right knowledge and background. “You need to think: ‘How can I manage my team and ensure they have the availability to work on that project that is coming on top of their day-to-day activities?’,” Olga said.

Ricardo added that putting key payroll factors in the context of the specific business is crucial: “You need to think about the time it’s going to take, depending on the number of countries, entities, and payrolls to be run; whether pay cycles are monthly or semi-monthly or weekly; and the headcount. Through that, you can plan ahead in terms of how you’re going to build that team. If you don’t do that pre-work, you’re going to end up not having those resources.” 

The second common reason is poor data quality or integrity, which is why strong data validations are so important. That way, the implementation team can be sure that the correct and most recent data is being used and configured; this can be a long process but is vital to preventing delays further down the line.

What makes for a better implementation?

Olga and Ricardo are in agreement that there are four vital strengths to getting an implementation right, all of which relate to people more than they relate to solutions:

  • Open and honest communication: all senior stakeholders need to be kept informed on progress, including your CFO, CEO and CPO, so that they can understand what’s going on and give their endorsement to the change. It also helps them appreciate the hard work involved in the implementation, on top of the day-to-day work that’s still going on in the meantime. As Ricardo said: “If they don’t know the extra hours that the teams need to take on, things can go sideways.”
  • Trusted relationships: it’s important that everyone trusts each other – not only internally between teams, but also with external payroll providers such as CloudPay. “This will lead to a better and successful implementation because you will be in sync as to how the implementation is going to go,” Ricardo said. “There’s a lot of detail that goes into it and you need to pay attention to that detail.”
  • Continuous collaboration: those trusted relationships can form the basis of strong and successful partnerships with your payroll provider for years to come. You’ll be able to leverage them as an extension of your team and combine their expertise with your vision and understanding of your business.
  • Strong change management: this is the kind of implementation that could meet a lot of resistance, especially from HR, Finance, and local payroll teams. Clear and careful management of the change, with strong training and different channels of communication, are vital to help them understand the impact of the project.

In summary: meeting evolving needs with innovation

Where payroll providers like CloudPay stand out is in the use of innovation to make addressing these challenges even easier. This is especially the case as the benefits of automation and artificial intelligence are beginning to be realized: in time, AI and machine learning will ease much of the stress around data migration, analytics, LPI, and data validation, making global payroll even more efficient and integrated than it already is now. But in the meantime, some simple human touches can go a long way to simplifying the process of moving towards global payroll.

Find out more about CloudPay’s global payroll technology, and how it supports the modern pay experience.

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