The Payroll Game Changer

Articles following on from the conference

Designing the best Payroll Intranet

Once upon a time, not so far in the past, there was a payroll team who designed a section on their company intranet. This payroll section was for managers and employees to find information.

Over months they worked with IT on providing the information they wanted on the intranet, as well as the headings and links for each page. They kept the business updated on progress, as managers and employees had asked for an easier way to find information. They printed off all the pages once it was done and double checked for errors and whether all the links were working. Then they did a huge launch with communications about the intranet going out in various formats, competitions for people to find things on the intranet and a mini survey to find out if people like the intranet and found it useful.

Feedback was good – people said there was lots of information now available. A few people entered the competition. There was general excitement about a job well done.

And then nobody used the intranet.

IT reported that usage had dropped off completely after the first initial flurry.

The payroll team couldn’t understand it. People had asked for the information and the intranet provided that. It was well set out, they had focused on writing things simply and not over-complicating it. What was going on?

One of the things that we’ve been talking about at Elephant in the last couple of years running the HR Game Changer and the Payroll Game Changer conferences – is about how you can transform what you do and move away from traditional approaches.

The traditional way of designing a processes or information is exactly how the payroll team had done it. They had set out the steps or information and put it all together. From a payroll point of view.

However one of the ideas that we explored at the HR Game Changer last year is about using design thinking. One of the steps in Design Thinking is to watch your user actually using the product or actually having issues and then designing or redesigning it based on that.

Imagine if that payroll team:

  1. went out and watched managers or employees use the intranet OR
  2. came up with 5 scenarios that managers or employees might want to use the intranet for, and then see what it’s like to use it – with that aim in mind (e.g. one of my team has called in sick, what do I do? Or I’d like to do something about being more productive in the afternoon, is there anything the company can do to help with that?).

Well they did a combination. They asked some managers and employees what they wanted to use the intranet for, wrote their answers down and then went back and opened the intranet up to try and use it for the written purposes.

After a few minutes one of the team said “Oh my god – this is the worst intranet in the world”. The reason everyone had stopped using it was it was clunky and impossible to move around and actually find the information. It made sense to a payroll person looking out, but not to a manager or employee trying to come in.

Of course it wasn’t the worst intranet in the world. But it wasn’t good.

And there are two things you can do at that point. Decide that it’s now too hard. The intranet is there, you delivered something and that’s enough. Or you go back to the drawing board and you get it right. And that’s what they did. And over time it became an intranet that managers and employees used regularly and that helped them get answers. It went from being the worst, to being great.

So when you’re looking at your payroll processes, communications or pay systems – go and talk to the people who will be using it and design it to that.

You might just find that you design something brilliant!


The Payroll Game Changer Conference is next running in Auckland in February 2017 and will provide you with ways you can influence and lead your payroll function. For more information just click here.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on September 29, 2016 by in Payroll and tagged , , , .
%d bloggers like this: