How a Unified Global Payroll Solution Delivers Unexpected Business Benefits

Nov 22, 2016  | Topic: Strategy


No matter what software or services they sell, enterprise solutions vendors seem to promise the same set of benefits: Lower costs, enhanced efficiency, and improved performance. When (or if) those benefits are realized, stakeholders at buyer organizations feel satisfied – confident that they’ve earned an appropriate level of ROI on their vendor selection efforts and overall software investment.

But when it comes to global payroll, the advantages of utilizing a unified, cloud-based solution can go much further – creating ROI in areas of the enterprise well beyond the payroll function.

Why? Because payroll has broad strategic power, especially for multinational companies. Payroll is the only function of the enterprise that touches every single employee in an organization, making it a unique data set capable of injecting intelligence and adding value in expected areas. Here are just a few of the ‘surprise’ benefits an end-to-end global payroll solution can deliver. 

Smarter performance reviews: Among companies large and small, the tradition of conducting annual performance evaluations has been on its way out for years. As authors Samuel Culbert and Lawrence Rout wrote in a 2010 book on the subject, performance reviews “send employees the message that the boss' opinion of their performance is the key determinant of pay, assignment, and career progress. And while that opinion pretends to be objective, it is no such thing.”

HR technology companies have addressed the issue by creating ‘performance management systems,’ which aim to assess employee performance in a standardized, assembly-line fashion. But according to CEB, a corporate research and advisory firm, only 4 percent of HR managers think their system of assessing employees is effective at measuring performance (down from 23 percent in 2012) and 83 percent say their systems need an overhaul.

Payroll data, when collected and managed through an end-to-end global application, can help companies solve the performance review problem. With sophisticated analytics, organizations can better correlate employee pay data to job performance – for example, by contrasting the productivity of specific employee groups on a country-by-country basis, or by weighing specific role salaries against the revenue produced per employee.

The result: Objective payroll intelligence (cultivated on a consistent, ongoing basis) to inform smarter salary decisions and performance-driven promotions.

Faster fraud detection: Of frequent concern in global payroll, like all financially-driven areas of the enterprise, are the threats of funds mismanagement and fraud. And the threat internal fraud poses to multinational businesses is not insignificant: Even if it only occurs in rare, isolated incidents, any news of financial crime incurs reputational consequences – potentially making it harder to establish trust with buyers.

Yet when heavily manual, customized processes dominate an organization’s execution of payroll through multiple different solutions, fraud can easily pass unnoticed for extended periods. Case in point: A senior Woolworths payroll clerk used her specialized knowledge of the company’s payroll system to embezzle $238,294 before being caught.

The prosecutor in her said the fraud scheme would have continued to work had she not made a minor administrative error, since Woolworths’ payroll systems were “not sufficient to pick up her offending.”

Insufficient fraud protections should never be the reason a company makes the news. By automating much of the payroll workflow, boosting visibility into payroll process, and equipping payroll teams with role-based permissions and standardized processes across the global payroll function, today’s sophisticated cloud solutions deliver the transparency necessary to spot fraud more quickly while lessen their financial crime risk overall.

Stronger employee satisfaction: Few concerns of the HR department are as important to the C-suite as employee retention. Maintaining high retention rates requires an enterprise-wide investment in increasing employee engagement and satisfaction.

One key way to do that among HR and payroll teams: To give the staff smarter, more user-friendly software and services for executing their day-to-day responsibilities. Switching solutions providers in any area of the area enterprise gives organizations an opportunity to empower its employees with solutions they’ll actually enjoy using.

And their standards for business software are getting higher: In 2016, 66% of organizations identified ‘Poor User Experience’ as their primary reason for giving their HR technology vendors a low satisfaction rating. Why? Because individuals today demand the same (high) level of user experience from the solutions they use at work as those they use at home.

By utilizing a unified global payroll solution powered by a streamlined user experience and smart integration with other business systems, organizations can improve employee satisfaction in HR and realize unexpected ROI. Essentially, satisfaction breeds satisfaction, and satisfaction begets retention – creating benefits beyond the payroll function, while continually driving payroll performance improvements over time.