Doing more with employee data

01 July 2019

This article was featured in the July/August 2019 issue of the magazine.

Datagraphic’s Glyn King discusses how to do more even if your systems are holding you back

Providing an excellent employee experience is just as vital to your organisation as customer experience is. Highly personalised, accessible information is expected. You have a wealth of employee data available at your fingertips – you just need the tools to bring it to life. 

In our digital world, employees’ expectations are becoming more demanding. They want a social, mobile and consumer-style experience from their employers. And this isn’t just expected from the human resources (HR) department – it’s expected from every touchpoint within the organisation. 

The payroll department is more than an operational function, making sure employees are paid accurately and on time; it’s also a communicator. The payroll team interacts with employees on a daily basis, whether that’s through inbound queries or outbound documents. With employee data at your fingertips could you be doing more to engage, educate and communicate with your employees? 

  • What’s stopping you from doing more? Is it because your legacy payroll software limits the output of employee data? In the recent CIPP Future of Payroll report (’the Report’) almost 58% of respondents to the survey have a payroll system that is five or more years old. Older payroll systems were not built with a ‘digital first’ mind-set and often only outputting data as static information with no flexibility. 

Is it because your systems don’t integrate with other internal systems such as HR and finance to be able to gather all the information you need? Results from the Report found that almost 50% of respondents said their payroll system doesn’t integrate, or doesn’t integrate well, with either the HR, finance or pension software. 


...could you be doing more to engage, educate and communicate with your employees? 


Or is it simply because you don’t have the internal resource to create engaging documents? We all understand the demands and pressure your teams face. Communicating payslips, P60 certificates and other pay-related documents is time-consuming and a costly distraction from the work you want to focus on. 

  • Unlock the potential to do more – These barriers shouldn’t stop you from doing more. You can still provide highly personalised, engaging communications without changing your existing payroll software. There are third-party solutions that seamlessly integrate with any payroll software to automate, transform and output employee documents. 

  • Doing more with highly personalised communications – The best way to engage with employees is to send information that is relevant to them. There are third-party solutions that can set rules and logic based on the data you provide. So, for example, based on an employee’s pay grade they only see certain messages that are relevant to them. Another example could be for reward options. Why offer childcare vouchers to an employee who doesn’t have any children? 

Providing relevant information to individual employees will improve engagement and hopefully reduce queries that come to the payroll department. 

  • Doing more with channel choice – The demand for digital only increases as millennials and gen-Z enter the workforce and older generations are moving online. Payroll has made progress in this area with over 60% of organisations offering a digital payslip (see the Report). However, few are achieving 100% digital with many still printing payslips.

It’s important to offer more than one channel, yet this shouldn’t be a fragmented process. Seek solutions that take multiple data files and look for markers in the data to automate the distribution for online or print: all through a single provider. 

Don’t forget to choose a solution that distributes employee documents securely. In the Report just over a third (35%) of respondents said they use email to deliver payslips. Even though email is considered a step towards digital, this is not a secure method of distribution and in my opinion should only be used to notify employees a document is ready to view online, or to communicate non-personalised and non-sensitive information. 

  • Doing more with data insight – According to the Report, lack of data insight is a top three issue for payroll. Either current payroll systems don’t have good enough reporting capability, or there is a lack of knowledge on how to present the data. 

Analysing the way employees interact with the important documents you send is a great way to not only improve the delivery and distribution for employees, but also will enable your teams to work more productively and engage more effectively with employees. For example, learning when and how employees view their documents means you can capitalise on this opportunity to send other important messages or documents.

  • Doing more with employee data – Ultimately for the payroll profession to evolve and become more strategic it needs to use technology and automation tools that can help deliver an improved employee experience, whilst also releasing the payroll team to focus on higher-value work. 

And the reality is this is achievable today! You don’t need to invest in new software or lengthy change projects. There are third-party suppliers – like Datagraphic – that can unlock your potential to do more.