Aon’s 2019 Benefits and Trends Survey found that ninety-seven percent of employers believe employees have changing expectations of their workplace experiences. In their personal lives, employees expect the services they receive to be personalised and seamlessly delivered. These expectations are beginning to seep into the workplace environment, with staff expecting even traditional services like payroll to be delivered in line with their changing expectations. This process, often referred to as the ‘consumerisation of payroll’, involves a step change that can be daunting for employers. But, it presents them with an invaluable opportunity to reshape the way that basic business services are delivered, with a focus on creating more value for employees. Furthermore, it can be achieved more easily than they may expect through the adoption of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence and automation.
One-size doesn’t fit all
Employees are looking for smarter interactions with their employers than they did in the past. Rather than the traditional, one-size fits all approach, a new generation of workers are demanding flexible, personalised services, which mirror those they receive in their personal lives. Whilst it hasn’t traditionally been seen as a department for innovation, payroll can be a leader in delivering this type of personalised service through on-demand pay.
On-demand pay means offering staff the chance to be paid, pro-rata, at the end of each day or week, rather than on a traditional monthly basis. This benefit is likely to achieve traction with younger employees, many of whom (50%) currently live “hand to mouth” according to Perkbox. Flexible pay will enable these employees, and others, to have greater control over their finances and, empower them to handle unexpected payments. This will in turn improve their workplace experience and increase their sense of loyalty to their employers.
Technology as an enabler
Embracing emerging technology is crucial to the consumerisation of payroll services. Robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning, blockchain and digital credentialing, will all provide employers with the ability to focus on building superior employee experiences, by creating opportunities to drive efficiency and improve compliance management.
As a result, the complex, legacy systems – which keep employees at an arm’s length and take numerous days to process payments – will become a thing of the past. In their place, systems that take a more holistic view of employee wants and needs, and are less-labour intensive, will flourish.
Feedback is essential
Effectively personalising payroll functions, and wider business services, is impossible without first seeking feedback from staff. Routine employees surveys and regular focus groups are a vital to gather this feedback, and responses can be increased by mobile optimisation.
Passing this feedback onto the finance and HR teams will undoubtedly improve the employee experience, as it will ensure their preferences are reflected in process updates. It will also drive staff engagement by responding to their expectation for their voices to be reflected in operational decisions.
Demand for financial education
According to the CIPP’s 2019 Future of Payroll survey, over a quarter of payroll professionals are receiving an increasing number of enquiries, reflecting rising interest from staff in understanding their payslips and pay structure, and need for help in doing so. These changing demands create an opportunity for payroll to add value by taking on an educational role; helping employees to understand the inner workings of pay.
Adopting digital platforms is key to equipping payroll teams with the ability to meet employee expectations for education and seamless services. For example, modern payroll technology makes giving staff access to frequently asked questions, including information about how they’re paid, far simpler and more time effective. It also frees up payroll professionals’ time so they can focus on complex queries that require a more human touch.
Prioritising employee satisfaction
Pay used to be viewed as something that was simply transactional. This is, and no longer can be, the case. Employee’s want more from internal business services and meeting this desire offers employers the chance to improve their staff interactions and therefore improve overall business experiences. In today’s highly competitive job market, it’s vital to show employees that their satisfaction is a business priority. Consumerising payroll achieves this aim and facilitates retention, ensuring businesses keep the most important tool to their success – people.