BS: Ten to fifteen years ago, you were looking for data entry skills when recruiting in payroll. Technology has removed the data entry to make payroll something different, and AI will be an extension of that. Technology has ability to flag risks and trends in data so payroll teams can review and turn them into action. 2. Education, qualifications and experience What are the top skills you look for when recruiting in payroll? ND: That’s a big question. Broadly, employees are now deemed as consumers, and employee engagement can have huge ramifications on the effectiveness of your business performance. In payroll, the ability to understand and engage with employees is more important than ever. LD: I look for someone with the ability to question and interrogate data, who has a thirst for knowledge and who wants to continue to develop. Report writing is another important skill; being able to extract data from a system, spot trends and highlight issues and present that to
forward to show how payroll can add real value to the business.
certainly support employees more with advice around pensions when making retirement decisions. JC: Wellbeing strategies are about understanding needs, educating, and supporting. Payroll has a great opportunity to signpost employees and clients to support all three of these areas and move toward that strategic value add function. 4. Remote working and the future of payroll Is home working the future of payroll? LO: Remote working is on people’s minds; previously payroll couldn’t work from home and now we’ve shown it can be done. It has got to be the choice of the individual, and employers have to embrace that approach. We know it doesn’t affect the ability for you to perform. ND: Candidates are starting to demand homeworking; however, old-school leadership and a lack of trust is a problem. So, leadership skills must evolve. Employee choice should win out because good talent will leave and the cost of losing experienced talent outweighs the cost of keeping them. Hybrid working seems to be the most overriding preference in our research, and hiring managers are starting to accommodate this more. Remember, if you want the top talent, they will ask for more. JC: High performing organisations tend to be those that focus on output and have an innate belief that people are doing their best to do a good job. Those who choose to micromanage have seen increased mental health issues and have had to introduce further controls to check what is going on. Business must adapt their culture to make the most of this type of working. n Closing comments Payroll skills continue to evolve and adapt alongside the ever-changing landscape of the payroll profession. Technology does, and will, continue to play a significant part in what payroll teams deliver, making the ability to analyse and interrogate data more, not less, important. Payroll professionals must embrace and look for the opportunities that allow them to play a strategic part in the business; and payroll leaders should welcome and encourage change to build on those vital skills and maintain that experienced talent within their organisation.
Are qualifications or experience more important in recruitment? LD: The two go hand in hand. I always do a knowledge practical test at recruitment stage. If I had to choose, I would veer towards experience, but the CIPP qualifications give a great underpinning of knowledge. CP: I’d choose experience over qualifications; however, qualifications show me that the candidate has made a conscious choice to invest in their payroll career. I’d also be an advocate of my team doing qualifications that fit with what they want to do. ND: It’s 100% experience and behaviours, but it’s not that qualifications aren’t important. Indeed, I am always studying and am passionate about qualifications as they show a commitment to your profession. Also, salaries are higher with CIPP qualifications, so candidates are typically rewarded for having these. 3. Payroll and financial wellbeing How could pay on demand impact the traditional payroll cycle? BS: Pay on demand will destroy the traditional monthly pay cycle. This isn’t restricted to certain sectors, it is a generational topic and millennials are used to having instant access – and this will include pay, too. ND: This is a huge buzz word at the moment. I think we’ll see a shift towards pay on demand in low pay sectors and for shift working, but I don’t see it being widely accepted. We’re used to the monthly pay cycle and moving away from that is underestimating the power of human habit. What role will payroll play in financial wellbeing? CP: We need to go back to education and the national curriculum and explain what a personal allowance is, talk about salary and payroll, and explain the importance of saving at a young age. Young children don’t have that education at the moment. LD: Payroll can play a part to help people become aware of resources that are already there, such as the married couples or working from home allowances. We must be careful about what is guidance and what is advice, but employers could
help business decision making. LO: Payroll recruitment can be
challenging. I look for candidates who can be creative and are open to change. In a bureau environment, clients will come with questions and ask for new ways of doing things, and I need someone who can help make this happen and provide clients with the data they need. BS: We’re a customer service function, and in those interactions the softer skills come in. Payroll professionals need to communicate with so many different levels of customers, they need technical skills and the ability to keep up to date. We’re looking for a fantastic array of skills. CP: I’m looking for an ability to consult. It’s difficult to teach that skill; how you build relationships and trust and ultimately how you engage with people. It’s also important individuals take accountability for the end-to-end service and take action to drive through initiatives, share knowledge and train others. Payroll requires dynamic and collaborative working. JC : A lot of what we’re talking about is behavioural, the ability to join up the dots is important. Payroll managers and leadership teams need to step away from the transactional processing and drive
| Professional in Payroll, Pensions and Reward |
Issue 73 | September 2021
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