Flexibility has become a fashionable business buzzword over the last few years — with good reason.

The majority of employees want flexible working whilst over 80% of employers think that offering workplace flexibility will be the key to retaining top talent. Additionally, forward-thinking employers are interested in pushing the flexible agenda as far as it will go — such as Revolut and GitLab — allowing staff to work remotely from anywhere in the world or access pay more regularly.

Business leaders are also keen on payroll flexibility. With big-ticket challenges to deal with — an uncertain economic outlook, recruitment difficulties, market changes, and the cost of living crisis — those at the top are trying to make their organisations more adaptable, agile, and responsive in order to deliver for both people and the bottom line.

Is your payroll supporting business and people flexibility? Cezanne HR Blog

Whilst that all sounds very progressive and promising, HR teams know all too well that overhauling structures sparks a slew of follow-on considerations. Staff might respond well to opportunities to work from abroad, earning a cost of living payment, or to new business pivots in order to maintain profitability yet HR knows that changes oftentimes result in questions over whether supporting technology and services can handle the change — especially if those changes impact pay.

That is hardly surprising. Even in less economically challenging times, employees don’t take kindly to employers getting their pay wrong. In a cost of living crisis, that pressure is even higher.

As such, organisations need to consider if their payroll solution is enabling or frustrating the demand for flexibility and business reactivity. Below are some questions to consider asking.

1. Is my payroll allowing the business to deliver flexibility to our people?

With HR leaders and business leaders having very valid long-term worries over getting (and keeping) the talent they need, delivering on employee wants and needs has become a top priority. Here, flexibility, remote work, better access to pay, and cost of living salary adjustments are just some of the benefits that forward-thinking employers are rolling out.

Choosing managed payroll can be one way to deliver flexibility. For instance, Cezanne’s HR smart managed payroll solution is able to handle multiple pay runs as well as payments to different legal entities. What’s more, real-time data access gives HR teams the ability to check details before pay runs occur whilst also ensuring that compliance and important statutory reports such as P11s and P30s are still produced, ensuring that payroll flexibility and change don’t come at a cost to accuracy and peace of mind.

2. Does my payroll support business reactivity?

Notwithstanding the pandemic disruption of the last few years, the business landscape is still changing — and changing fast. These days it’s not COVID-19 that employers are adapting to; but rocketing inflation, uncertain financial outlooks, and rapidly changing markets and supply chains.

As organisations make quick decisions on how to navigate these challenges — restructuring the workforce, redeploying talent, or delivering cost-of-living pay adjustments and increments — payroll technology needs to be able to support any changes.

One clear solution is making payroll a managed service module which is a seamless part of a wider HRIS. This means that any changes to workforce numbers or pay levels are reflected accurately across all elements of the HR system. HRIS integration can also guarantee accuracy — allowing businesses to miss out on manual double entry of data, which can often end in mistakes — whilst also acting as an insights tool, giving HR teams the data they need to deliver tailored financial support to employees or access talent insights.

The best payroll service providers will also be flexible to business needs, meaning you will only ever pay for services or capacity used. It means you should be able to amend your package based on your exact business needs and size.

3. Is my payroll provider allowing my business to be resource and cost-effective?

With the financial crisis keeping HR teams and business leaders uncertain about what the future holds, many are looking to be more efficient with costs and resources — especially in the face of changes to workforce numbers and budgets.

For example: in the last couple of months, many businesses will have sadly had to deal with the reality of reductions to workforce numbers, often with one eye on re-expanding once economic footing is surer. These processes are complex and sensitive enough but oftentimes they come with changes to vendor partnerships, as changes force businesses into new pricing tiers for the services they desperately need.

However, Cezanne HR’s smart managed payroll solution operates on a one-tier pricing system. It means adjusting to changes in workforce size doesn’t spark unnecessary budgetary worries.

What’s more, choosing modular payroll that is managed externally frees up HR time to strategise on important people issues, such as how to redeploy, attract, and retain top talent and create compensation and benefits packages that keep them engaged and productive.

4. How does my payroll technology choice impact HR operations?

As previously mentioned, managed payroll frees up HR time, and headspace, to concentrate on delivering what businesses and people really need. And, if that provider is RTI-ready, GDPR compliant and ISO27001 certified indicating excellent data storage, reporting and compliance processes, then HR can take themselves out of the payroll process as much or as little as they want, knowing that statutory payments and HMRC obligations will be met.

This means that HR time can be focused better on thinking about flexible solutions to business and people problems without worrying that payroll mistakes will be made. Even more HR time can be saved if that payroll is modular, such as Cezanne’s HR smart managed payroll solution, which means more streamlining of processes and less admin, driving better efficiency overall.

Furthermore, the Cezanne HR offering has ready-to-go deployment as well as reactive support in-built which means the people team can be supported effectively and in a timely way — which is extremely important given the current range of change and how quickly organisations need solutions.

What this should hopefully underpin is more time for HR to partner with the business, building on its role as a strategic function which can guide the business through choppy financial waters — making it more flexible and forward-thinking as a result.