18 April 2021

Daniela Porr, senior product marketing manager at Workday, discusses

What do the huge changes in the world of work mean for you? McKinsey & Company suggest that we have vaulted five years forward (https://mck.co/31FVnkV), with dramatic digitalisation happening widely to facilitate new operating models.

Many organisations have accomplished technology-driven transformation projects they’d been putting off for years – and they’ve done it fast. Not only has that allowed them to stay afloat in the tough pandemic environment, but their new capabilities also give them confidence for the future.

One of the significant capabilities these transformations have brought is using technology to make sure you get the best from your people. And that’s where payroll professionals come in. With cloud-based digital systems at your fingertips, you can do much more than keep the paycheques flowing – you can make a real difference to your organisation’s success.


...you can make a real difference to your organisation’s success.


Making the basics better

Before we get to the powerful strategic possibilities that cloud-based payroll software creates, for most of you the crucial advantage of digitalisation is that it makes day-to-day activities easier and more reliable.

Operating in the cloud brings three significant benefits that lead to the holy grail for payroll professionals: administrative excellence. It gives you more control, makes it easier to stay compliant, and provides connectivity that gives one source of truth. For example, with Workday Payroll for the UK, finance, human resources (HR) and payroll share cost centre structures, so when something changes it’s automatically reflected everywhere. At the very least, that means you can spend less time doing manual reconciliations and auditing. But it also means the whole organisation has a complete picture – and they can be confident it’s right.

Here’s where we start to see the extra influence the technology allows you to have. Based on that complete picture, cloud software also offers in-depth, real-time analytics. These produce the kind of insights that make an organisation agile – like understanding the impact of external events on your workforce, location by location, for example. So far, so impressive; but there’s more.


Going beyond the fundamentals

With cloud technology, your organisation can go on a journey from administrative excellence to greater agility, to workforce optimisation. Getting it right allows an organisation to get the best value from its workforce through unpredictable times, and quickly adapt to change and new opportunities. There are four main outcomes, see below, that develop as you go on the journey.

  • Insight – you can use insights to control labour costs proactively and automate decision making.

  • Efficiency – with automated tasks and communications, your team managers can focus on their teams, not admin.

  • Agility – you can adjust the workforce quickly and place the right people with the right skills where they’re needed.

  • Experience – cloud systems allow people to be more self-sufficient and feel in control, with a personalised, guided experience.

Looking at those outcomes in terms of payroll, clearly there is a key role in providing the insight into labour

costs. Consolidating your processes and data in the cloud gives a comprehensive and accurate view of these in real time.

Efficiency comes in various ways – from having to spend less time on manual tasks or dealing with people’s queries, for example. Importantly, with payroll, HR and finance in one system, you’ll be central to decisions across those areas and operations.

Having payroll in the cloud underpins an organisation’s agility. The ability to run payroll remotely, roll out new regulations, update compensation plans, bonuses, and leave and absence plans, smoothly, has proved invaluable for many businesses in the last year.

When it comes to experience, payroll can provide an engaging personal admin service for staff. You can address common questions by giving people easy access to their pay information in an easy-to-understand format. With Workday, for example, there’s an ‘assistant’ – a chatbot – that can guide people through anything from checking payments, to entering time or time-off requests, using their phone or laptop.


Making the journey

Every organisation is different. So, when it comes to developing your use of cloud technology, it’s important to set the right foundations first, then aspire to agility and optimising the workforce. The last year has shown it’s a journey worth making.

The radical shake-up in workforce operations demonstrated the need for rapid re-skilling and re-deployment. Some organisations were ready – with technology helping them stay laser-focused on worker productivity and managing labour costs. These capabilities will surely continue to be vital. With cloud software, payroll professionals can drive the effort to continuously increase the value of their organisation’s workforce. 




Featured in the May 2021 issue of Professional in Payroll, Pensions and Reward. Correct at time of publication.