Thoughts about hr and management in the real world – extra information I couldn't fit in my books!.

Payroll and HR: friends or foes?

Chaos erupted in our team meeting the other day. We were discussing a redundancy situation and talking about how an employee has to be taxed at a higher rate for their redundancy and then claim the extra back at the end of the year. From an HR point of view it would be much nicer if the payment was split over 2 pays so the tax rate was correct.

Now Anna Sefuiva recently joined our team. Her HR background has been a bit different from the rest of us as she’s been responsible for workforce planning, HR analytics and payroll. Anna calmly raised that payroll might not be able to split the payment, as legally if the person is finishing on a specific date, their whole final pay must be paid on that date.

Well we argued it from an HR point of view vs the payroll point of view – and in the end had to agree that there was clearly a divide in how HR saw an issue to how payroll saw an issue. It’s no wonder in some companies the two are foes.

But consider this:

  • In HR we’re currently focused on looking at metrics and analytics to better see what’s happening in the business and be able to report on it. Who has large amounts of data we could use?
  • We look at HR policies and processes that could make the business work more efficiently. Who sees the issues some of these policies create?
  • We’re negotiating a new Collective, with new pay scales and allowances to solve current issues and create engagement. Who knows what’s causing complaints and issues about the current pay scales and allowances?

The answer for all of these is the payroll team. If HR is friends with payroll, we’ve suddenly got solutions to some of the challenges we have. When I worked at PostiePlus as HR Manager, for a time I shared an office with our Payroll Manager. We both knew that HR impacted on payroll and vice versa and worked together on solving issues. I’m still friends with her today and we still discuss weird HR/payroll issues that come up because coming at it from two sides often means you get a better solution!

Anna has also told me about that while there are HR people out there who want to change the game, there are also payroll people who want to become strategic partners with their business. And I think that HR could help and support them do that as well as stopping creating friction for them with HR processes that don’t take into account payroll legislation or processes.

We’ve got a special half day session at our Payroll conference in February for HR people to attend. We’ll be exploring:

  • HR and payroll metrics – what should be measured and by who? How did an award winning HR team add real strategic value to their business by developing game changing dashboards of metrics.
  • Should Payroll sit in finance or HR? In this debate we have a company that sits payroll in finance and another who have moved payroll to HR. They will discuss the pro’s and con’s of each approach and what you should consider.
  • HR Information Systems – we’ll hear about what techniques you should use to share access, ownership and information between HR and payroll.
  • How can payroll become a strategic partner with both HR and the business?
  • You’ll hear from an HR and payroll team who have taken a proactive approach to business partner with their company.

Our speakers include Louise Peters, Finance Manager at Downer, Deborah Sinclair, OD Manager at Chorus, Susanne Carter, National Coordinator, Risk & Insurance at Fulton Hogan, Chris Casanelia, Manager HR Services at BNZ and Anna.

Winston Churchill said “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. I think that in HR we should be asking what payroll can do for us, but also what we can do for payroll.  And that’s when great things might start happening!

For more about the Payroll Game Changer and ‘HR and Payroll working together’ click here.

One comment on “Payroll and HR: friends or foes?

  1. Simon Jones
    January 23, 2015

    Great post, my take would be that it doesn’t matter where the function is actually located – the key is the relationship between the two managers.

    Just as an aside, the quote wasn’t Churchill but JFK!

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This entry was posted on January 18, 2015 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .
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