Confessions of a payroll manager – Sidney goes live!
A nother episode in a series of reports revealing the arcane, weird and sometimes torturous world of payroll frequented by payroll professionals. Well, we’ve had a rollercoaster of a time since I last checked in with you all. My ‘relationship’ with Sidney (the new payroll system in case anyone missed my last ‘confession’) became the talk of the office when Jace overheard me telling Sid how much I loved him (after a particularly cracking bit of synchronicity with the old system) and assumed I’d started an affair with someone at FedEx! Of course I didn’t find this out for quite a while at which point Evie had bought a new hat for the ‘wedding’ and Stevie Stevenson had started choreographing a ‘first dance’ to teach me and ‘Sid’! Office romance misunderstandings aside, we’ve been focusing on Sid ‘going live’ for the past couple of weeks, culminating in the day itself last Tuesday! To make sure that we weren’t inundated with an endless stream of why’s, how’s and frustrated tears, we decided to create some user videos prior to the launch to show how simple the new system is. Gary Firkettle appointed himself writer, director, cameraman and lead actor. (“I’m an auteur Penny – an oh-tee-yuuur” – whatever Gary, I’ve seen your CV and your theatrical background consists of third boy from the left in Oliver and a much-derided Widow Twanky in Crumbitt’s first and only staff panto!) Still, I had to concede that he created some pretty helpful videos (even with the over- dramatic Richard Burton style narration). We’d all been so distracted by occasional yet insightful / inciteful, anonymous and whimsical
the video-making that we were a bit shocked when, suddenly, the ‘go live’ day was upon us! We had Gary’s video masterpieces, a Twitter account for gathering feedback #Crumbittsmypay, and an employee help desk for drop ins (staffed by the irrepressible Jace). To sweeten the deal we had tea and cake on tap as well as the leftover sticky-footed, goggley eyed bugs from the summer roadshow. Evie (perennial weeper) also suggested a box of tissues for any sad/ happy/angry tears and we were set. I was nervous and teary that morning as Sid was about to be unleashed on the world – he could either go wrong or not, but what he wouldn’t be any more was my little project. I wondered if this was how parents felt when they left their children at the school gates on their first day? In hindsight though, I suppose it felt more like the final of ‘Bake off‘ – it was as if we’d been practising an amazing, show- stopping cake for months. We’d made a few mistakes, burnt a few edges, forgotten the sugar once or twice, but we’d finally created an impressive treat for everyone which should have been an ‘ooo ahh’ reveal. However, we were all worried that we’d been so close to it for so long that we hadn’t noticed its soggy bottom, or the fact that it tasted like a scouring pad. By mid-morning the team were gathered around the system watching employees as and when they logged on. We were whooping and cheering every time someone successfully changed their personal details themselves, but eventually we were clinging on to each other as the phones began to ring … a lot. Jace did what he could, but the ringing of the phone coupled with the stuck-record of queries and complaints was relentless:
“My address is wrong. My address is wrong. You see mate…my address…well, it’s wrong”. It soon became clear that the same questions were coming up over and over again (and that Jace was going slowly crackers) so we decided to create the very first frequently-asked-questions sheet for the new system. Once this was emailed out to all, the phone calls lessened enough for me to take a depleted Jace to the staff room and replenish him with a nice hot chocolate in his favourite ‘Ice road truckers rock!’ mug. By mid-afternoon, the volume and nature of the calls had changed somewhat and we were now getting messages of thanks and compliments on the design (as well as suggestions of ‘Biscuit of the month and/or ‘Moustache of the week’ on the landing page). By the end of the day the team were exhausted but chuffed with their achievements. The system had gone live (and, most importantly, stayed live); staff were reasonably happy, the videos had gone down a storm and the hashtag #garyneedsanoscar had trended at number one nationally for 34 minutes! A complimentary Italian meal for the team (paid for by Mr Crumbitt bless him) followed by a taxi home after an unexpected bear hug from Tom and it honestly felt like it couldn’t have gone better. Thanks Sidney – you did great! Now just keep that winning streak going… ❑ The Editor: Any resemblance to any payroll manager or professional alive or dead, or any payroll department or organisation whether apparently or actually portrayed in this article is simply fortuitous.
| Professional in Payroll, Pensions and Reward |
Issue 26 | December 2016/January 2017
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