The Payroll Game Changer

Articles following on from the conference

A magic way to get people to answer your payroll emails

Over the last few years I’ve found, without fail, that if I ask someone two things in an email – they will pretty much always answer only one.


I’ve tried using bold font, putting the questions up front, using bullet points and changing my writing style. Nothing seems to work.

However simple the two questions or actions are (e.g. Shall we meet on Thursday at 2pm? Can you also send me through the XX document for me to review before this) I will either get sent the document and the 2pm meeting isn’t mentioned, or vice versa.

It has driven me to distraction at times.

However I have found a solution.

The idea comes from David D’Souza – an UK based author on HR and people stuff.

David tends to email in numbered lists. There are always at least 3 things in the list (even if one of them is just an observation or something amusing!). There are never more than 6.

So I tried this out.

  1. It made me think very clearly about what the key points/questions/actions were that I was asking.
  2. It structured my email and made it look less like a whole block of text. It broke it up and had some white space which makes things clearer.
  3. People answered each of the numbered bullet points!!!
  4. My frustration levels have dropped and I’m in love with numbered lists.

So if you often send out questions for managers or staff to answer about payroll issues, and you find they don’t answer them all – try using a numbered list and see if it makes the difference!

Sometimes it is the simple things that make a difference….

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to influence your managers and your business and deliver payroll more effectively, you’ve still got time to register for the Payroll Game Changer conference running on 15 – 16 February.  We’d love to see you there!

Or should I have said:

  1. Make 2018 the year you grow your payroll skills.
  2. Register to attend the Payroll Game Changer Conference 2018 by clicking here.
  3. If you’d like more updates about payroll then subscribe to our email newsletter by clicking here.
  4. Now get back to what you were doing.

See how it works!


Angela Atkins is People and Learning Director for Elephant Group NZ and Elephant Group UK – and also developed the Management Bites training programme. She is best-selling author of the bites series of books and is passionate about helping HR, L&D, payroll professionals and people managers create better businesses. You are welcome to follow her on Facebook . Angela splits her time between New Zealand, the UK, California and Hawaii.


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This entry was posted on January 10, 2018 by in Payroll and tagged , , , .
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