Professional April 2020

Feature topic - Adding value

...payroll department to agree a dashboard of key statistics that are useful and meaningful...

accommodate this, organisations are looking to embrace their underlying HR and payroll technology and applications,” he says. “Often, businesses have functionally capable applications at their disposal, but they have invariably not been implemented in an operationally efficient way. That makes it difficult for them to report on data or to run payroll in a pre- payroll process either mid-term or in the course of any payment cycle. In short, they need to obtain better and more immediate access to the payroll data at their disposal. To do that, they should first objectively assess whether they are getting optimum value from the application they currently use for HR and payroll.” CIPP chair Jason Davenport comments: “There are multiple ways an employer can consider how a new system or process can add value. For example, if moving from a manual process to one that is electronically managed and has workflow – e.g. holiday authorisation – employers should think about promoting all of the factors that create an improvement. Such as: no loss of forms; more immediate response for approval or rejection; all items are trackable – so you can review when things were done and don’t have to keep separate notes. All this adds value to the employer and the employee.” Another example, says Davenport, is moving to online payslips and having the individual’s history stored in one place – this makes them “easy for review for when completing other matters such as banking requests for information, and they also won’t get lost in post or lost in the house.

Being smart with that technology also means you can provide hyperlinks to the likes of HMRC or other benefits providers.” Andrew Drake, client development director at HR and benefits organisation Buck, observes that in today’s world, people expect everything to be digitalised and want information and action at the touch of a button. “Digitising HR processes can also create a more engaging employee experience when it comes to other aspects of the workplace”, he says. “Instead of waiting a week for someone to get back to them, a digital process can allow employees to log in to the absence management module attached to their HR system and see if there are any clashes with the time they want to take off. Processes like this can bring greater clarity at a much quicker pace and avoids frustration if a holiday request is rejected.” There is an expectation among employees that the reward and benefit platforms offered by employers will be available digitally and on demand, says Drake. He points to research that says over half of UK employees are completing basic HR admin tasks on their own device rather than a work device, including 64% submitting sick notes. “Not recognising this trend and failing to adapt HR processes accordingly can immediately cause a discord with staff, who will find it old fashioned when they try to contact HR

and it’s outside working hours,” he argues. “By going digital with these processes and systems, it allows employees to do things when convenient for them, adds value and means any frustrations or potential blockages are eliminated.” As pointed out by Nicola Hirshfield, head of HR delivery at Cantium Business Solutions, by removing the burden of time- consuming, repetitive work that often goes hand in hand with HR and payroll systems and processes, organisations stand to add value for their employees at multiple levels – whether it be those tasked with the HR or payroll delivery role or the manager and employee engaging with the function. “Reciprocally, putting the needs of their people at the centre of HR and payroll systems and processes brings with it a wealth of benefits to the business”, she says. Robotic process automation (RPA) is one of the technologies that Hirshfield’s organisation is harnessing. “We are successfully using RPA with customers to record information, such as new starters, in the payroll database,” she explains. “We have invested in creating forms which ensure employees give all the information required, so that the robot can pick it up

and do what needs to be done.” So how does this add value to

employees? “Firstly,” says Hirshfield, “it means we can achieve high levels of accuracy in the delivery of payroll. From the perspective of the employee, payroll errors are frustrating at best and can have serious consequences at worst. The impact of being paid incorrectly can be wide- ranging – upsetting and stressful for the member of staff with knock-on effects for them and their family, particularly if they aren’t on a basic salary or are perhaps in receipt of benefits. It is not up to them to be the experts and yet, more often than not, the onus is on them to resolve the error. Inevitably, this also compromises their time, and that of their manager. Removing those pain points for employees adds untold value.” There are other ways modern technology can increase value. Jon Maddison, managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Achievers, the


| Professional in Payroll, Pensions and Reward |

Issue 59 | April 2020

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