What Does the Future Hold for Global Payroll?

Written by Jan Van Mol, Head of Global Alliances at SD Worx.

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Businesses are always looking for new ways to improve and innovate, and the payroll industry is no different. Payroll is arguably the purest form of HR data, providing employers with real-time information that can inform a more intelligence-led approach to business decision-making. Payroll systems that deliver insight as well as a good service for both employers and employees will undoubtedly gain long-term business intuition. Because of this, forward thinking organisations need to embrace a payroll system that can provide an optimum payroll service for employees across all departments and local market. Investing in a global payroll system that encompasses the individual needs of an organisation is the answer, but how can global payroll providers ensure that multinational businesses comply with all in-country legislations?

Retaining talent and providing the best service for employees is paramount for business leaders – something that has been fueled largely by the advent of new HR technologies. Studies show that if employees are not being paid correctly and on time, the knock-on effect on retention is significant. Employers that do not harness the benefits of global payroll will consequently fall behind in the competitive race, with business penalties spanning the short and long term.

With an increasing number of business leaders starting to understand the benefits that can be reaped from investing in global payroll, how can we expect global payroll to progress in the future? Below are three industry predictions:

1. Improved Employee Engagement

With Generation Z about to enter the workforce, businesses need to look ahead and think seriously about how to cater to the needs and requirements of these digital natives – and that includes playing to their payroll preferences. Generation Z grew up with technology, is comfortable using it, and has come to expect it in the workplace. If businesses can’t cater to these needs, they will struggle to retain the best talent within this workforce bracket.

SD Worx expects to see an increasing number of built-in employee engagement functions within global payroll systems over the coming year, which will include functionalities that improve and enhance the employee experience. These functionalities will be tailored to their users – self-service and user-friendly tools for Generation Zs and Millennials, for example. There will also be an increase in measurement and reporting tools that enable close monitoring of workforce experiences in a way that can then be acted upon to boost employee engagement.

2. Deeper HR Integration

Forward thinking organisations will begin to integrate payroll with wider reward and recognition benefits to create a single, comprehensive system. With the line between work and home life becoming increasingly blurred amidst the ‘always-on’ culture, businesses need to ensure that they have the right technologies and systems in place to help combat this and deliver positive workforce experiences. Payroll systems that incorporate add-on rewards and wellbeing benefits will therefore become increasingly commonplace in coming years.

3. More Data-Driven Predictions

As mentioned above, modern payroll systems now provide much more than a monthly back office function – with the right solution, they can deliver on-going business critical insight into an organisation. The desire for global business insight is increasing year-on-year, and if managed in an optimal, systemised way, accurate payroll data will increasingly begin to provide the source of this much sought after visibility. When combined with other data sets such as employee performance and talent management, the collective insight this delivers can enable business leaders to act upon information in a reactive way, but also in a predictive context to support future planning. Key examples include being able to better identify employee attrition and absence patterns in order to correctly forecast recruiting needs and save costs.

Global payroll providers not only ensure that employers are complying with global legislations, they also guarantee that local requirements are met too. Local legislation frequently changes – like Australia adopting Single Touch Payroll this year, for example – and many large organisations have already been the target of fines due to breaking compliance with local payroll requirements. Every country had different regulations, and it is the job of a global payroll provider to tailor their offering with the needs of each organisation.

The future is often uncertain at times, but global payroll with local capabilities can improve forecasting and planning, giving the business a strong and more insight-led direction. It is clear that the growing trend for global payroll with local capabilities will remain a key business requirement as businesses expand internationally and the world becomes ever more globalised.


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