I took on the role of HR Director in a large global company just over 18 months ago and when I joined one of the big red flags for me was the poor retention rate within the payroll department.
It was well above industry average and as a priority I began to do some research into why this was the case. Due to the nature of our work, we operate a pretty complex payroll system with weekly, fortnightly and monthly payroll runs. In a business-as-usual situation this isn’t an issue as we have the team in place to manage the workload.
What I discovered was that when there was a situation outside of BAU operations, the payroll team came under extreme pressure. For example, the 2 week company shutdown in August. The majority of other employees finish up as normal and take their 2 weeks hassle free whereas the payroll team must work overtime in the week leading up to the break to get a triple payroll run processed for all weekly paid employees.
A senior member of the team has missed out on an annual family holiday for 2 years running as the payroll is just too busy, the amount of mistakes and unanswered queries upon return make it not worth the hassle of taking the annual leave.
There was also a situation that arose within my first few months where, after completing an audit of the payroll processes, it became clear that we would need to change our payroll processing system to meet the needs of an increasing workforce. Because we had to keep resources dedicated to the weekly, biweekly and monthly payroll processing, the window for team them to work on migrating the data to the new system was almost non-existent – we got to the point where we just could not deliver the project.
“What I discovered was that when there was a situation outside of BAU operations, the payroll team came under extreme pressure.”