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How to develop a post-pandemic payroll strategy

Simon Bradbury - Global HRIS Ltd.

Over the last year, every part of global payroll has been challenged. The extension of furlough, remote working options, and new laws implemented across the global has placed huge pressure on payroll processes. Accurate and compliant data has never been more important. If payroll stops, almost everything stops with it too. Unfortunately, the pressure on payroll isn’t over yet, and we must now navigate our payroll processes out of lockdown.

However, with the right support, you can adapt your payroll to overcome any post-pandemic challenges. Here are four global payroll strategies to focus on, as countries across the world ease out of the pandemic.

Introduce an agile payroll process

Even without the pandemic, your payroll would be challenged throughout the month. Add in the complexity of emergency laws and furlough extensions, it presents huge challenges for your global payroll. Whilst the UK is set to ease restrictions even further, other countries across the world are still in lockdown. This presents a huge challenge for global payroll leaders because new restrictions can quickly impact your payroll.

There is also an increasing demand for flexibility in the workplace. Employees’ expectations have rapidly shifted, and most employers are now favouring a ‘hybrid’ model for their teams. Flexitime, remote working, and job-shares all offer a greater work-life balance, as well as improving productivity at work. However, they can wreak havoc on your payroll. Any variations to an employee’s working hours must be clearly communicated and by your HR and payroll teams. Without clear communication, you will be at risk of non-compliant payroll.

An agile payroll strategy can reduce these risks and provide a smooth payroll process. Both your payroll process and teams must be able to adapt quickly to overcome any challenges over the next few months. Accurate and on-time payroll has added benefits for your employees, too. It can reduce anxiety around personal finances and boost team morale.

You can become more agile in several ways. Small – but achievable – steps, such as keeping up to date with new laws and become more digitised will improve your agility. Also, review clear processes for overtime, sick pay, and unexpected leave.

Swap for a cloud-based payroll software

Another way to implement an agile strategy is through the right software. Unlike other systems, you can operate and control everything online through a cloud-based software. Put simply, this means using the internet to store data and run applications.

Investing in cloud-based software for your global payroll has many benefits. Firstly, it allows your payroll team to work from any location, which can make the transition to a ‘hybrid’ way of working easier. Your employees will be able to access the same information both in the office and remotely.

Your payroll system holds a huge amount of sensitive employee data, which puts you at greater risk of fines or reputational damage. Cloud-based software should provide you with more security, as your data is stored securely on the remote servers of your software provider. Cloud-based software may improve the accuracy of your global payroll: you are less reliant on in-person processes and physical documentation.

If you’re considering switching to a cloud-based software, there’s a few key things to look out for. Firstly, your new system should have an easy-to-use interface, which allows you to quickly run and amend payroll. Find a provider with a strong track record and good online reviews; you’ll feel more secure knowing they’re available to support with any payroll issues. Above all, look for a payroll service that provides help when you need it.

Your payroll must be adaptable

All businesses are now obligated to stay updated on emergency legislation; any new laws must be integrated into your payroll. All countries are emerging out of the pandemic at different speeds, with some countries still in lockdown and others easing back to normality. For global companies, this adds a level of complexity. It’s important all global payroll teams are aware of any new laws, so they can quickly adapt their processes.

Accurate payroll is the number one rule for every business. Without this, employee morale will reduce and you’re at risk of costly fines. Payroll managers must be aware of any internal or external changes that could impact processes, for example unexpected sick leave, the end of furlough, or the introduction of flexitime.

Investing in the right tools will support you to manage any unexpected change. With the right software at your disposal, you may not need to outsource. It’s important to research several software packages beforehand, to ensure all your businesses needs are met. Familiarise yourself with the features offered to find the software that suits your management style.

Invest in a payroll contingency plan

As a business, it’s important to deliver reliable payroll services in times of crisis.

Uncertain times has shown the importance of preparing for different kinds of emergencies. You should already have a business continuity plan in place for any unexpected changes. However, it’s important to factor in your payroll and ensure your payroll will run smoothly when faced with unexpected challenges.

Finally, you should consider any impact to staff and your software and plan your response. You may find it helpful to review your roles and duties within your payroll team. It’s vital to establish a back-up plan, in-case any team members are out of the office. Share access to key data and information to ease any unplanned absences, too.

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