The Payroll Game Changer

Articles following on from the conference

Developing your payroll business partner skills

In the world of HR there is much discussion about how HR deserves to be ‘at the top table’. After the Payroll Game Changer conference, I got the feeling that payroll people aren’t having that conversation – they are just getting on with doing what they do. However Susanne Carter’s point in the debate about whether payroll should be in Finance or HR, was that actually payroll have the largest financial sign off in the business, have the most impact on employee engagement (try measuring how happy people are when they don’t get paid right) and often know what is going on and are working on ways to solve issues.

So in a way payroll should definitely be at the top table!

If that’s too much of a stretch then payroll should be working on building yourself as business partners rather than just in reactionary processing roles. Cody Forde, Payroll Manager for Coca-Cola Amatil and Nikki Iuli, HR & Customer Services Manager for Croxley both shared a number of tips and suggestions about how to start building your skills to do that. How many of these are you doing?

Development Plans

Make sure that you have development plans for everyone in the payroll team. What should be in it? Cody talked about a great payroll person having the following skills:

  • Strong communication skills
  • Attention to detail and processes
  • Strong legislative understanding
  • Strong customer service qualities
  • Ability to build strong relationships

So your development plan should be around building those capabilities rather than just technical training. They should also include making sure you build good networks with other payroll people by going to payroll or finance events or getting on social media and meeting others. For larger teams, mix up the responsibilities, don’t let someone become an expert on a certain payroll – make sure everyone is cross trained.

Ask for feedback

Develop an annual payroll survey to conduct with your business. There are a number of benefits of doing this which Cody talked that he’s seen at Coke. Running a survey:

  • Gives you a way to use numerical measurements and year on year trends
  • Results help plan your year, and develop KPI’s/Improvements for your team
  • You find out why people are contacting Payroll. You can then develop better ways to provide information to employees, reducing the payroll queries on your team e.g. FAQ’s, Payroll Page on company intranet.
  • Identifies areas where you can up-skill other areas of the business e.g. Managers workshops on holidays act as managers are having lots of queries from their teams.
  • Gives you as a manager an opportunity to learn how the business views payroll.

Get to know your business

Both Cody and Nikki said that they had made sure they and their teams get out into the business and understand how each area works, to make sure you can deliver what is needed, and plan for upcoming pressure points or ways payroll can help. Their suggestions included:

  • Get involved in projects in other areas of the business. HR initiatives, Procurement, Sales, Remuneration or IT projects.
  • Make sure you speak up. Attend other teams meetings and establish those key relationships.
  • Get involved in projects and planning days. Invite the HR team to your weekly meetings.
  • Run sessions for managers about what payroll does, employment legislation or pay changes.
  • Produce a newsletter or have a section on the intranet with payroll information.

If you feel that payroll isn’t as well respected as it should be, try out some of the suggestions above and see how people’s mindsets change as you partner with the business and help solve issues before they occur!


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This entry was posted on April 6, 2015 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .
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