Payroll has existed in many companies as a standalone function for so long that it’s easy to assume that it could never really amount to more than that. But to take this approach would be to seriously overlook its potential to support and energize other areas of a business.
By making payroll a part of a wider employee pay strategy unleashes technology, innovation and data to transform how an organization operates as a whole, and the experiences that individual employees feel every single day. This represents a very different way of thinking compared to the traditional payroll approaches of the past, but the benefits are so widespread that making the move towards employee pay is well worthwhile.
There are four particular areas where positives can quickly emerge:
Traditional payroll functions handle so much data on employees every single day, and yet that data sits seriously under-utilized, save for the actions required for the normal processing of payroll. An employee pay function, combined with the technology that underpins this, can do far more with this data and uncover far more detailed insights into the workings of the business and the workforce.
For example, data around rates of the claiming of sick pay could uncover a rise in absenteeism in the run up to pay day at the end of each month, particularly among lower-waged workers. This could point to difficulties in their personal finances, as they struggle to make ends meet and cover their commuting costs later in the month. The business can then take steps to resolve these issues, give employees support, and therefore improve attendance rates and productivity.
Employee experience has never been such an important consideration for businesses as it is now. For many, work is no longer something they do every day to get paid for: it’s something they want to enjoy doing, and where they want to feel valued for their efforts and supported by their employers. Making efforts to facilitate this is well worth it from an employer’s perspective, as more satisfied employees are generally more productive.
Payroll has a big part to play in enabling a strong employee experience because pay affects employees’ lives out of work just as much as their lives in work. Any flexibility that employers can give employees in how and when they’re paid can therefore make a huge difference to their financial – and as a result, their mental – wellbeing. Earned Wage Access, where employees use self-service technology to withdraw accrued pay at any time, is an excellent example of this.
The point above relating to employee experience has a knock-on effect on the perception of the business as a whole. Employees will have their own friendship groups and contacts within other companies within the same industry, or within other industries. If a particular organization is excelling with its employee experiences and flexible approach to pay, word will quickly spread.
This makes employee pay a powerful tool when recruiting new talent, or attempting to inspire loyalty and retention among the existing workforce. At a time when the best and brightest employees know their worth in the market and can pick and choose employers, those businesses that can offer positive experiences will be giving themselves an edge over their competition.
Payroll has always fulfilled an important role in helping businesses meet their reporting responsibility and ensuring financial compliance. But, in an era of greater regulation in this area, from financial and tax laws through to data protection legislation like GDPR, using payroll data and technology has an even bigger role to play.
Technology like global payroll solutions can help coordinate and standardize reporting across multiple territories and types of data, making it easier to demonstrate compliance and ensure that all appropriate regulations are being adhered to. These solutions should also act as a major time-saver for the payroll team and relieve the administrative burden of putting reports together.
Payroll has long been overlooked in business strategy terms, but its potential to drive positive change through all areas of a business as part of an employee pay function is undeniable. Businesses proactively moving towards employee pay now will quickly start to enjoy these benefits, and will be able to make better, more informed decisions in the months and years ahead.
CloudPay’s global payroll solution is ideal for businesses exploring the brave new world of employee pay, and how it can integrate with their wider business operations. Learn more about what we do and how we do it here.