Implementing global payroll can be an overwhelming
undertaking, yet the benefits outweigh the temporary challenge of gaining local
buy-in. One of the biggest benefits to global payroll is the automation that
simplifies formerly manual tasks such as data aggregation, decreasing their
processing from days to minutes. Other benefits include stronger compliance, global
visibility into payroll, a standardized platform, the ability to analyze data
and cost reduction. This leads to a more strategic approach of using payroll
data to align with corporate objectives regardless of location.
But how do individual countries buy in to the
upfront work that achieves global payroll? Given the wide range of benefits, it
seems like a simple decision to make, but many of your local payroll
departments may have misgivings about the new initiative. These insights
provide advice on establishing a collaborative process with each country within
a company that is pursuing a global payroll strategy.
With local support, the implementation process
will save time and money (and headaches). One step many companies overlook is
communicating up front about commencing such a large project. Each country’s
payroll team needs to understand the big picture about what global payroll will
accomplish, what this means to their day-to-day role, what time demands will be
expected and how their role changes after implementation is complete. Seems
like a pretty basic concept, but this is often one of the key failures that
lead to long, drawn-out implementations fueled by lack of engagement and
confusion, and often turnover.
As a first step, engage with each country
(preferably in person) and interview the leadership team with these types of
Use the answers to these questions to drive
the framework for communicating the decision to implement an integrated payroll
system. Involving the in-country payroll departments results in more buy-in, better
cooperation, active engagement and smoother implementation. We like to think of
it as building partnerships. Supplemented by a rigorous change management plan,
these are the driving forces to a successful global strategy implementation.
We recommend a virtual global forum of all key
stakeholders that addresses these topics:
As a best practice, we believe transparency
and accessibility are absolute “musts” in projects that impact multiple
countries and so many stakeholders. One means of accomplishing this is publishing
a project plan on a company’s intranet where employees can access
announcements, progress and key milestones. Transparency is key. Celebrate
important milestones to keep everyone motivated and on task.
A local payroll team has a lot of power and
control over their current processes. Typically they’re used to doing things
their way with their own oversight, and a global payroll initiative can be
perceived as taking some of that control out of their hands. Appoint a key
stakeholder in each country so they have a voice. This leader will be a liaison
with the central project management team. This helps the centralized team gain
valuable insight into the nuances of each country’s payroll process, such as tax
legislation, compliance, pension, social security or sick leave.
Part of a global payroll initiative is the
introduction of new processes. It will take time for your local team to learn
new payroll processes, which can be difficult when you take into account how
busy they are, as well as how long your current payroll process has been in
place – how ingrained the current habits are.
One successful implementation method is training
‘power users.’ These team members have extensive experience with the new
payroll system and can help other users better understand the system. Your power
users can also work with the local SMEs to help each team best use the system.
This also has the benefit of getting more employees behind your new system,
advocating its benefits to others.
Implementing a global payroll system will save
your company a lot of money in the long run, but it does involve incurring
up-front costs to do it right. Realize that this can be a concern for some
local payroll teams who have tighter budgets. The company needs to plan for
this in advance so it’s not a barrier to success. We typically suggest that the
company subsidizes the costs at the local level rather than burden each
country’s budget with an unplanned expense.
Despite the up-front cost, it’s important to emphasize
the long-term cost-saving nature of global payroll. A centralized, cloud-based global
payroll solution saves costs by streamlining processes and lowering error
As a preliminary step, it’s critical that each
country begins collecting documentation to understand unique country-specific
requirements. These are examples of what types of information helps pave the
path for the global payroll solution to work effectively:
At iiPay, it’s not just about the business of
executing payroll, it’s about knowing a company’s employees are taken care of.
Errors in payment can impact morale, leading to disengagement or unnecessary
turnover. Employee satisfaction is critical to retaining talent. Employees rely
on proper payment for retirement savings, putting kids through schooling,
paying medical bills and protecting their credit scores by paying bills on
time. Employees need to rely on their employer for on-time accurate payment,
not a stress inducer. Beyond that, a company can face legislative penalties for
incorrect payment, incurring unnecessary cost.
While the key stakeholders are obviously the
payroll departments in each country, a global payroll solution involves other essential
functions. Bringing these functions in at the planning phase yields better
results so they are just as “bought in” as the payroll employees. And like
getting local buy-in per country is key for the payroll managers, it is
likewise important for other functions that will be impacted, such as IT and
Finance. If this is an after-the-fact surprise that their involvement is needed
and may “bump” other priorities, they are less likely to provide the level of
engagement necessary to complete the implementation on time and within budget.
Other key functions include these roles:
Imagine a time when a big change was announced and it was a surprise.
Most people react unfavorably, wondering “Why wasn’t I made aware?” “Is my
input not valuable?” “Am I not as appreciated to the company as I thought?”
When in-country employees understand
the potential of a global payroll implementation and they’re asked their
viewpoint, the implementation goals become much more achievable. Naturally,
employees want to understand “what are we doing and why?” Through that
understanding gains the confidence to succeed. This keeps the team focused and
moving steadily towards a shared goal.
In our recent Driving Change Management white paper, we address the steps to embarking on far-reaching change. iiPay partners with companies to offer our knowledge to help smooth the global payroll initiative process with local teams and to better understand the vision. We can also, alongside in-country SMEs, provide insights into local legislation to improve compliance. Contact us today to find out how global payroll improves your business.
What sets us apart? Here are four key areas of focus that have enabled us to become the world’s leading cloud-based payroll services company.