Building your next workplace, is your payroll system holding you back?

As a payroll champion of your organisation, you’ve tackled some big challenges recently.

Huge legislative changes plus the technical issues of trying to manage everything remotely during lockdown has brought payroll – the often-overlooked element in better times – to the forefront, as your employees depend on you more than ever now to pay them accurately and on time, which an old-dated, labour-intensive system may fail to deliver with a sudden shift to remote working.

There is no doubt that the way we work is changing, for example, 44% of employers now have official flexible working policies in place, up from 24% pre-COVID-19 [1]. That could directly impact your world and your payroll also needs to adapt to this new normal and support simpler, more modern ways of working. 

Six Payroll Weaknesses Exposed by the Pandemic

It’s not too late to act. Payroll matters and this is your chance to make sure everyone realises it. Your finance and HR leaders are already thinking about how the company will transform to a new post-pandemic workplace, you can make sure that payroll is a core part of that upcoming optimisation program.

The good news is you have the chance to turn the payroll weaknesses exposed by COVID-19 into your business case for change.

  • Lack of global payroll process – 43% of payroll professionals said they had a very low or limited levels of standardisation globally [2]. This made communication between payroll teams difficult in a time of crisis.
  • Poor data quality – low-quality, unharmonised data prevented timely reporting and slowed business decision-making at a pressing time.
  • Slow response to regulation changes – Organisations without a standard process for receiving and implementing regulation changes were at greater risk of violations.
  • Low level of automation – A high level of manual processes made it difficult, or in some instances impossible, for payroll teams to adapt to remote working.
  • Lack of digitisation – Payroll employees process high volumes of paper documentation found it harder to carry out their jobs remotely.
  • Single person dependencies – Teams with single person dependencies struggled to keep up with their growing workload. While a lack of proper documentation in electronic format made it difficult for others to help out.

Optimise Payroll and Prepare Your Transformation Plans

Just as Deloitte has outlined in their recent paper ‘Cost resilience amid and after COVID-19’, “to be prepared facing a new crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, companies have to swiftly adjust their cost models relying upon a truly agile and scalable business."

Here are three things you can do to optimise payroll and prepare your transformation plans for the detailed scrutiny they will receive from your Finance leaders.

  • Use automation – Globally, 33% of employees say they are sometimes, often or always paid late [3]. Automation helps you get some employees paid on time by saving resource on repetitive, time-consuming tasks. Robotic process automation (RPA) uses automated scripts and web robots to perform actions with essential speed and accuracy while eliminating more routine aspects of the role, freeing payroll professionals for value-added tasks.
  • Increase digitisation – Digitise processes that require paper forms via electronic workflows and smart automation. And use global workforce tools for timesheets instead of relying on manual input.
  • Simplify the user interface – Choose a user-friendly platform that’s mobile compatible so employee can access their payroll easily. More than 26% of full-time workers say they wouldn’t notice if they were paid incorrectly, either because they don’t check their payslip (11%), they don’t check their bank statement (9%) or because they find their pay or payslip confusing (9%) [3].

Adapt Your Payroll for the Future

The rapid move to remote working, combined with a global economic downturn means there are many reasons why payroll will need to adapt in the future.

If you are about to kick start your payroll transformation journey, make sure your plan also takes into consideration the future workplace needs, which should include remote working, flexible working, various payment options and data protection.

As a trusted payroll partner to over 1,000,000 businesses worldwide, ADP is ready to help you to approach pay differently. Read our newly launched e-book “Take a new look at pay” here to get a fresh perspective on pay and understand how you can transform payroll with a phased approach. Don’t miss this opportunity to turn pay into your competitive edge!

[1] ADP Research Institute – The Workforce View 2020: Volume Two post-COVID-19
[2] 2019 EY Global Payroll Survey
[3] ADP Research Institute – The Workforce View 2020: Volume One pre-COVID-19

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