The Hybrid Model for Global Payroll Operations

February 23, 2023 | 5 Mins David Daly

Last week, we ran our second webinar of 2023-explaining how the hybrid model can be used to effectively harmonize global payroll operations when you are attempting to deliver and manage multicountry payroll across different countries and continents. You can view a recording here.

Mary Holland (CPP), CCO hosted the webinar and was joined by Travis Saville, HR Systems Director from our client Wave

Choosing what works and then managing it

A lot of people we talk to in the industry are moving away from the aggregator services model and taking back control of the relationship with the local country payroll provider. Payroll is essentially local so local expertise will always be needed and being in full control over who delivers payroll for you in your countries is important to global payroll teams.

So, this was a timely webinar- global payroll professionals are now seeking a management solution, essentially looking to find a way to tie everything together-their chosen local vendors, the data flows from their HCMs and their own internal processes. Everything needs to come together in a way that provides a global overview because there is an increased demand from leadership teams around understanding what is happening with company payroll costs across regions continents, and individual countries.

So, if you happen to be in a lot of countries or have future plans that will see you scaling into a lot of countries- you will likely be selecting and building a reliable network of local country vendors because this is what works for you and it is what you need-it then becomes about applying a management framework that works on a global level. This is essentially what the hybrid model is-choosing the most appropriate mix of service providers and local country vendors that meet your needs-and then managing them all in a way that gives you operational control as well as deep visibility into your country-by-country processes.

Hybrid is happening right now

A few years ago the hybrid model may have been considered to be the future of global payroll-but we see it happening in the here and now. This is perfectly understandable as the hybrid model works as long as you have a management plan in place for how you are going to deal with the network of service models and local country payroll providers that you need.

We ran a poll during the webinar and found out that 58% of attendees are already using a mix of local country providers and accounting firms. This was not a major surprise to us as more and more organizations are choosing to take back control over their payroll.

It is becoming common to see a contract with a Big Four accounting firm for some countries and other countries assigned to regional specialists, e.g., Tricor in Asia or country specific partners for high requirement / complex payrolls or those countries with the executive team.

“You need to be able to change to a new vendor without losing all of the data from that payroll country which you may need for audit purposes later”

Mary Holland (CPP). CCO Payslip

Payroll departments want to be able to choose, change and swap out local country providers whenever they need to. This gives them a sense of quality assurance and operational control over their processes. Hybrid empowers them to run multicountry payroll on their terms and avoid relinquishing control to a third party who may not be able to act as quickly as they need them to.

“The aggregator experience does not match the sales call- you lose out on visibility and control and kind of remain in reactionary mode which is concerning”

Travis Saville, Wave

You must plan for hybrid

A second poll we ran during the webinar revealed that 46% of attendees had no plan for how they were going to manage everything while 23% stated putting a plan together was on their road map for 2023

Adopting a hybrid model is the best strategy for control and visibility-you choose the models and local country vendors that works for you and remain in full control.

“A hybrid approach can really shine when you have great ICPs who are proactive, and this is something that empowers my payroll teams to be on top of payroll month to month”

Travis Saville, Wave

However, you need a plan to tie all of your countries together. Here are a few considerations to include in any plan.

    • Consolidating the data flows from your service providers and local country vendors into a single location
    • Standardizing the data so you develop a single way of working across all of your countries
    • Automating the data flows to remove manual processes and save time
    • Reporting tools for detailed and comprehensive multicountry reporting that includes labor cost comparisons as well as performance and KPIs on your local country vendors
    • Ensuring you have an individual country view as well as a global view

If you don’t put a plan in place to track all of the above, it is likely that you will find yourself struggling to see what is happening across all of your countries. You will end up in the unsatisfactory situation of managing countries individually and in silos instead of managing everything on a global level with much greater autonomy and operational control.

“Think about what you really want your payroll to deliver and build your case around that for a hybrid model- and remember to speak to the kind of payroll experiences you can deliver in your company with the right providers, tools and technology”

Travis Saville, Wave

The local country complexity needs to be housed and organized in a way that gives you complete and instant visibility over costs and resources- only then can the global payroll department become as agile and responsive as it needs to be.

Mary acknowledged that not every payroll team is in a position to invest in a global payroll management solution or development plan for the hybrid model right now. But it is important to remember that things change, and it is very useful to sit down and articulate what that plan might look like as it may be necessary to speak to business leaders about it on another occasion.

“If your organization is managing expenses and has no scope for investment right now, that should not stop you researching a global management plan for a future date”

Mary Holland (CPP). CCO Payslip

Wave really valued local country relationships and wanted strong communication flows to always be in place. They wanted choice, visibility and control when it came to vendor selection and management. Wave felt that Payslip better understood the operations side of payroll data flows and ICP management. Payslip understood that what Wave needed was vendor management but also the data from all of the vendors consolidated in a single location in a way that supported this data being transformed into helpful global payroll reporting and analytics

Manage hybrid with Payslip

Payslip’s global payroll control platform is the ideal automation and integration technology to help you create your global management plan. It is purpose built to tie everything together-people, process, technology and vendors- for an individual country as well as a global view-this is the visibility and control you need, all in one place.

Payslip delivers what you need when looking to manage a hybrid model:

    • A global payroll management solution
    • Choice and control of vendors
    • Local payroll nuance accommodated.
    • Reporting and insights
    • Automated processes
    • Standardization- single way of working across all countries.
    • 1 location for centralized management, visibility and control

“We were able to quickly pivot and adapt Payslip to help us deliver payroll in house -and we could make the transition in a seamless way. Payroll delivery at Wave now feels magical as it just works

Travis Saville, Wave

Payslip ensures you get standardized data for all your ICPs, consolidated onto a single platform- it is vendor agnostic, so you get to choose, change and swap out your own providers whenever you want to. Automated data flows from ICPs into the platform cuts out manual work for both you and your vendors- win win! You can also run ICP performance reporting and SLA monitoring to help you identify issues and improve process. This is where you really want to be-managing every aspect of your multicountry global payroll on one scalable platform.


For more information about our Global Payroll Control Platform contact us today.

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