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How advanced payroll systems and HR reporting can save you this new financial year

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By now the end of the 2016/17 financial year is all but a not so distant memory, but for some HR leaders, it may feel more like a recent nightmare. A nightmare you do not want repeated – ever again. However, if you are still operating on technology that isn’t keeping up with your business requirements, you may well be headed down the same path. Particularly if your payroll systems, its functionalities and HR reporting could have offered you more. But to flip this statement on its head, did you ask for more? Moreover, should you have?

For the HR Director powerful data technology offers a competitive advantage, and can ease the pain of critical data-based deliverables such as annual salary reviews. It should not be an onerous task to obtain data from a payroll system. It should – and can – be easy. However, HR leaders must first lean in and embrace technology.

Prioritising payroll systems as a business need

HR professionals need to prioritise making their businesses more flexible and responsive. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is to address technology, structure and process challenges. Understanding how business challenges can be matched with the right service delivery solutions is key.

A Towers Watson survey conducted in 2014 surveyed over 1,000 organisations globally. They found HR data and analytics to be in the top three areas for technology spend for HR functions. And there is a good reason payroll technology sits high in this list: data is the present and the future of sophisticated HR.

Addressing key challenges with data

Employee attrition is certainly a key challenge in every business. Regretted turnover costs are not limited to ‘time and money’, and implementing predictive analytics is one way to help solve this persistent and pervasive challenge. Organisations can start taking advantage of employee data they already have.

One such business that did just that is FinCo – a Fortune 500 financial company. FinCo has had great success using analytics to illuminate historical issues and improve employee retention in their call centres.

FinCo was able to pinpoint which aspects of working in the centre significantly influenced turnover. In gaining these insights, and working towards solutions, FinCo increased employee engagement and satisfaction and made the business more productive and profitable.

New payroll systems and automated services are easier to upgrade and use than one might think, and payroll technology has become far more user-friendly than ever before. Moreover, data from a payroll solution offers some of the richest (and most rewarding) sources of HR analytics; analytics that add considerable value to the HR function and the business at large.

Be strategic with HR Reporting

HR reporting is not about having raw data at your fingertips; it is about the insights that can be gained from the data. It is about the sometimes simple, but often complex, questions that need to be addressed. Questions that robust data can help answer.

Take a departmental head who wants to examine potential gender bias in a bonus program. The ‘same old’ male-to-female percentage increase data is useful, but would it give your departmental head the information needed to ensure an unbiased outcome?

Today’s payroll technology can offer a far deeper, richer reporting experience by quickly incorporating additional significant variables such as years of service, FTE, positional history, the bonus in respect of revenue, and so forth. A richer data set will unearth a bigger picture, and in this example highlights pockets of otherwise hidden bias.

Payroll data drives change

Information is power. When a visionary leader harnesses the power of a payroll platform, reports that provide clear insights into the business are only a query away.

Modern software services offer complex data that can be accessed online and utilised for business needs. Modern payroll technology provides flexible information for both strategic and operational agendas. Better still, leading systems allow for automation of reports, so reporting can become a “set and forget” operation and your time can rest where it should: putting HR practices into place to support the business.

Data is an undeniably valuable resource for HR. Escalating the case for a better payroll system is far easier to articulate when the flexibility and reporting functionalities are business critical.

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