Embracing the power of payroll

01 March 2019

This article was featured in the March 2019 issue of the magazine.

Jean-Luc Barbier, vice president SD Worx and managing director Global Solutions, outlines some of the biggest considerations for those working in payroll right today 

The past year was a busy time for human resources (HR) and payroll professionals. With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation, Australia’s ‘notifiable data breaches’ scheme, and Ireland’s pay as you earn changes, among others, there was plenty to get stuck into.

For global payroll providers in particular, there was an abundance of new laws and legislation that needed to be taken into consideration. Processes and procedures needed to be adapted to remain compliant – but the challenges didn’t stop there. 

The dreaded ‘B’ word, which caused plenty of uncertainty for businesses around the UK and Europe in 2018 has continued into the new year. With the final outcome of Brexit still undetermined, HR and payroll teams are waiting in the wings while the next steps are organised. 


Partnerships will prevail 

There’s no doubt that partnerships are powerful. Alongside the key payroll players coming together to provide an overarching global offering for organisations around the world, integrations with cloud vendors, such as Workday and SAP SuccessFactors, is now paramount to stay ahead of the game and to satisfy the high demand in large enterprises. 

With such uncertainty around Brexit and how the international landscape will look in the near future, it’s important to embrace one strong partnership (such as the Payroll Service Alliance) rather than multiple local providers. In doing this, HR and payroll teams around the world can have a payroll service that combines both global knowledge as well as local expertise. 


...pace at which changes are happening within the workplace can be overwhelming... 


Employee experience becomes a priority

Employees are the lifeblood of an organisation and, as employees become increasingly focused on mental health in the workforce (https://bit.ly/2HTKvJg), it’s likely that 2019 will see business leaders concentrating on the happiness of their staff. It is no longer enough to offer well-paid salaries in order to keep existing talent and attract new staff. There will need to be a continued focus on employee engagement and experience in the workplace as well as ensuring that employees have a healthy work-life balance (https://bit.ly/2G9QRmb) – always a hot topic in the HR industry. 

Getting the right talent in an organisation can take some time, and these employees are often difficult to replace. Business leaders therefore need to ensure that employee wellness is a focus for the new year and that the services offered by the HR and payroll team can reflect this. The top talent will be attracted to (and want to stay at) companies that use cutting edge technologies and who have benefits and processes in place to enhance the employee experience. 


Technology will give payroll providers the edge

In 2019 there will be a growing desire for automation. This is something payroll organisations need to embrace rather than fear. They need to willingly adopt automation to ensure they remain one of the top providers in the international market. 

Ultimately, businesses will want more value for their money and want to save their employees valuable time they can use to focus on more productive work and consultancy. Technology isn’t just an important factor for payroll providers anymore, it’s a must have for vendors too. From automating mundane and time-consuming tasks to using technology to ensure organisational compliance, technology can give HR and payroll teams the support they need.

Rather than being replaced by robots, the human employees working alongside the automated workforce become more powerful in their roles. Humans are able to run the payroll and have face-to-face meetings while automation ensures accuracy in monotonous back-office tasks that are usually distractions from the more important aspects of the role. Embracing technology developments is a must in 2019 – not only giving payroll providers the edge but also improving the work/life balance of all those in the industry. 


New laws and legislation for HR and payroll departments around the world can be daunting. What’s more, the pace at which changes are happening within the workplace can be overwhelming for HR and payroll teams to keep up with. But, having strong partnerships, embracing new technology to use to the businesses’ advantage and ensuring your employees’ needs are being met, can give organisations peace of mind. Accepting that change needs to happen and taking these considerations into account can empower HR and payroll teams to thrive.