Professional December 2016/January 2017

Karen Booker, head of payroll for Dimensions, relates her personal experience of transferring many employees onto the payroll Don’t panic

T he business announces an the payroll, increasing its size by a third. Once I get passed overwhelming panic and stop writing random words onto a large blank sheet of paper, I move rapidly onto planning. But where to begin? ● Communication – the only place to start. The current payroll provider has no interest in helping as they are losing business and may be jobs; so engagement needs to be handled sensitively as they may not be motivated to provide information. Early introductions can be problematic, but appearing aggressive or demanding may result in them shutting down and being less helpful moving forward. It’s a delicate balance. When making that important first phone call be confident, professional and prepared. Know what you want to get out of that first contact and follow up the call with a friendly email: ‘it was a pleasure to talk to you…’ etc. Well, actually it wasn’t, but as I need to make this work I maintain professional integrity and keep it polite. ● Information – what do you need to know, who is going to provide it, and what format do you need it in? Inputting one or two new employees onto the payroll system is one thing – acquisition which will involve the transfer of 1,200 employees onto

1,200 needs some thought. I pour words onto the page: pensions, terms and conditions, holidays, cost codes, IT, transfer of data, pay date. ...tell them what you know and be open... You name it, you need to know it as you want no surprises. Make it your job to find out all of the answers you need, as no one is going to tell you. Write a list of questions and, as you progress through the transitional period, find the answers. ● Systems – How are you going to pay them? Do you have enough licenses on your current software? Make a friendly call to your software account manager and invite them in. It’s time to have a chat about what they can do to help you. You will likely need some consultancy support to migrate a large number of staff; you might also need some training. Don’t forget to ask for a discount. Your alternative is doing the data migration in-house – not advisable. We all love our in-house IT teams, especially when we want something done quickly, but are they really best-placed to migrate data for 1,200 people into your payroll system? And remember all

annoying ‘other’ screens that need to be completed, such as the pay scales, grade points or increment dates, spot salaries and that employee who has just a little something different to everyone else. All the better to use consultants, then if it goes wrong they will be obliged to fix it for you. They should also be able to provide the data migration templates that you will need, and which you can pass onto the previous payroll provider asking them to supply the data in the required format. ● Planning – you don’t need to be a Prince 2 expert to plan. Keep it simple! Write down all the things you need to do between now and go-live. Keep a note of the date you plan to have everything done by and keep a running commentary of where you are up to. You may not have completed a task but you are working towards it. ● Resources/recruitment – don’t underestimate the amount of resources you will need to process the new payroll. The new employees may struggle to use online systems if they currently provide paper time and expense forms. You may also need additional temporary resource around the first payroll as you will likely have more queries than normal. It’s time to get real about recruitment. As it’s really tricky sometimes to get great payrollers, you will probably do better

| Professional in Payroll, Pensions and Reward | December 2016/January 2017 | Issue 26 48

Made with FlippingBook Online document