Articles following on from the conference
In our Agile Payroll Part 1 article, we mentioned kanban board’s. There are a number of ways that you can use these. In this part two article we look at ways you can improve your processes and teach your team to be agile too!
The first idea is to plot out each step in your payroll process and write these up along the top of your whiteboard. Then you write down each piece of work that goes through the process on a separate post it note.
For an HR team that Ming was working with, they wrote up each step of the recruitment process along the top of the whiteboard. Then each current vacancy was written on a separate post it note. At the end of each day they put the post it note into the step that it was sitting on. The GM HR had asked Ming how their recruitment process could be improved. Once they had used this processed, it visually showed that there was a blockage at step seven. Step seven was the GM HR signing off the appointment. So now the team could see where the blockage was and the GM HR could fix it.
For payroll once you have each step in the payroll process up, you could write each team that needed to be paid on individual post it notes. Then at the start, middle or end of each day, move the teams post it note through the process as each step is completed. You may well find you’ll be able to see where things take too long or there are blockages in your process and then you can take steps to change your process and fix this.
Sometimes even plotting out each step in your process can highlight where the process is bureaucratic or very time-consuming.
The other hard part about your processes is having to manage a team on the process. One of the concepts of agile is to build a self managing team. When you’re at the beach and it’s hot you put an umbrella to create some shade. Yet when you’re at work people put off waiting till the manager tells them that they can put up the umbrella even though it would be useful to do it. We’ve taken away making decision from employees.
So how can your team become self-managing?
If you map out all your tasks and then write out who is trying to do what, you can then use your kanban board to write posts of all the tasks that need doing and people can grab them and complete them. This way if 20 timesheets come in at once and Sarah is busy sorting out an issue but Joe has been trained in entering timesheets, he can put those up on the board and start working through them.
Some of this does take time and planning to put into place, however what Ming and Dan have found is when teams have used these agile methodologies, it has sorted out issues with processes, and has meant teams can achieve more.
Working with the marketing team, Ming asked them to record all of their business as usual issues that were part of their jobs, and then all the other tasks that they got asked to do on a day-to-day basis. They made a business case for hiring another person into the marketing team. That person already had 20 responsibilities from plotting this out!
Why not record the tasks that are supposed to be in your payroll team’s job descriptions and then during the course of a week, write out all the other things that you get asked to do and put these up on the whiteboard. This may create a way for you to ask for more resources in your team.
Being agile shouldn’t just be for the technology sector. Ming and Dan from Assurity have been working with HR and payroll teams to help the new some of these methods and hope that you may feel inspired to try some of these out yourself.