Doing more with less
The COVID-19 global pandemic has swept across the globe and had a major impact on how businesses operate and deliver services. This impact is still being felt and it is unclear when things will return to normal and just when businesses will be able to resume activity like they were before the pandemic hit. In this article, we will look at how the uncertainty has resulted in hiring freezes, and the options available to global payroll professionals who are now being asked to deliver more using less resources.
When the global business landscape is hit with a shock like this, a few things tend to happen. One of which, is a business decision to tighten financial controls and act in a far more prudent manner when it comes to spending- this usually manifests as a hiring freeze and any plans to onboard additional new staff tend to get shelved.
Willis Towers Watson recently surveyed more than 800 companies in the U.S. and found that over 40% had introduced a hiring freeze policy in response to Coronavirus.
A decision to freeze hiring affects all areas of a business and leadership teams are asking managers across the board to do more with less as they attempt to emerge from this period of turbulence relatively unscathed. This is an understandable level of risk management and financial prudence, but it inevitably creates an increased burden in departments which are already under pressure delivering critical business services.
Now, they are probably receiving news that a previously approved increase in headcount is no longer going ahead and they need to deliver more with less and accept the reality that this is how it’s going to be for the foreseeable future, until a clearer economic outlook emerges.
Burden and pressure
Payroll has been deemed an essential business service and during times of great unease and employee uncertainty, it is arguably more important than ever for payroll to be delivered smoothly and on time. Employees do not need any added stress when it comes to payroll as they already have enough concerns during this period of uncertainty.
Global payroll teams are being asked to do more with less and do so during a time where remote working has become the new normal. There is a lot going on right now with global payroll and payroll professionals are being asked to deliver payroll as normal when things are anything but normal.
Payroll teams need to access pay run data and employee data in a remote environment. They need to check, validate and confirm critical data and deliver global payroll remotely. Some of the local vendors they deal with may be struggling to operate in this environment and there are a variety of difficulties and challenges in play that could not have been anticipated at the start of the year.
Making technology go further
Global payroll teams are thinly spread at present, operating remotely, constrained by resource capacity and hiring freezes while there is also an increase in multitasking and workloads due to colleague absences. Many professionals also have the additional burden of working within a framework that relies on manual entry and manual validation. This only serves to make their jobs harder and more time consuming- it also increases the risk of a mistake being made.
Global employers are facing new challenges and increased working demands, so it is time to look at the resources that are available and figure out ways to do more with less. One area of focus could be technology and looking at ways to leverage it better so that it can do the heavy lifting and free up time for global payroll professionals to focus on other things that help with the delivery of payroll.
While recognizing that budgets are limited and there is lesser scope for spending in the business, a case can still be made around the benefits of short-term investment, particularly in a business function that has been deemed critical, like global payroll. Hiring an employee can be expensive and take months but making a small investment in some innovative technology can bring some immediate benefits and quickly introduce important efficiencies, such as tools to help with the remote delivery of global payroll. There is a justifiable business case here and a little investment right now could strengthen the department and also mitigate risk.
Automate for speed
Global payroll technology can help in two crucial areas- automation and standardization. The benefits of automation could be seen straight away and are capable of significantly lifting the burden on global payroll professionals, many of whom are spending too much time on manual tasks. Automation would immediately limit or even eliminate completely the manual process here and in doing so, it would also remove the risk of human error associated with global payroll calculations and validations.
It would also remove duplications from the process and would see data move swiftly and seamlessly from the HCM into the global payroll provider system. Many hours could be saved, and global payroll professionals would be free to focus on other tasks. A mundane and inefficient layer of work would be removed from the process and be replaced with speed and innovative technology.
Standardize for efficiency
The case for standardizing payroll data and processes has been a valid one long before COVID-19 hit the global payroll landscape. Standardized data received in a structured form across multiple teams and countries has made sense for a long time now. Dispersed teams in rapidly growing multinational companies has resulted in global payroll outsourced business models that has made standardization difficult to implement.
While most employers accept that right now, a sweeping change across the global payroll department is unlikely to be approved by leadership teams, there is nonetheless scope for a technology investment that can begin the process of introducing standardization. A company could select its most complex country or payroll and look to standardize it- this is something that would reduce the burden on the payroll professionals tasked with delivering global payroll for that country.
Simply put, anything that saves time and effort, reduces risk and increases operational efficiencies is to be welcomed. It is also important to note that any change made now around the introduction of automation and standardization, will still be in place and working after COVID-19 has passed. This is an investment that can be justified in the long term- it can also be started now on an incremental level and returned to at a later date.
Do more with Payslip
The Payslip platform may be designed to deliver long-term benefits when it comes to the delivery of global payroll, but it is also a platform capable of providing technology tools that can increase productivity and efficiency in the short term. This makes it a suitable option for companies aiming to make quick changes and introduce some innovative technology to remove manual inputs and apply some level of standardization to their payroll data.
With Payslip, you can move quickly into a cloud-based environment and supply an international payroll team with authorized, remote access to all payroll related data. This will provide a team with immediate flexibility and increase speed in day-to-day operations – for example, if they need to switch a task to a person in another country, they can do this instantly using tools on our platform. Should the team need to onboard a new provider quickly, this is something we can help with – the employer can even select that provider from our network of available providers, many of whom are already integrated with our platform. Consolidated reporting on a global level can be scheduled and customized at the touch of a button.
Innovative tools like these can help give a burdened global payroll team some breathing space -much less time will be spent on manual inputs, checking and validating- as the basic platform automation features take care of this. Payroll professionals can respond to ad hoc requests for global payroll cost reporting in a quick and efficient manner. Structured file formatting and other forms of standardization can be implemented quickly to streamline processes and help with large and complex multi-country payrolls.
Payslip are industry experts when it comes to automating, standardizing and managing the global payroll process. The platform helps global payroll teams to collaborate with in-country payroll services partners. It also helps over-burdened teams manage their diverse vendor, compliance and process needs at a time when resources are stretched thin, yet demands continue to come in.
Our team is ready and waiting to talk to you today about just how quickly you can integrate with our platform and make rapid changes that improve the way you process and deliver multi country global payroll-talk to us now.
Using Payslip, we can manage all our payrolls across nine in-country vendors on one platform. When the global Covid-19 pandemic arose, it was not an issue from a payroll perspective, and critically getting everyone paid. The Payslip platform enabled continuity for our international payroll service including the fast and seamless implementation of the Payslip Employment Self Service during this time.
Payroll Manager, LogMeIn
With business and employee growth rates of above 50%, we rely on our vendors to deliver on time, every time. Payslip’s workflow automation, enables Phorest to manage our payroll provider process – data driven, real time and transparent. Payslip saves us time so we can focus on our business growth.
International Payroll Manager, Phorest