Right now, the business landscape is undeniably uncertain.

In fact, PwC’s latest CEO survey found that with uncertainty dominating the business agenda over 40% of leaders think that their organisation won’t exist within a decade if it doesn’t evolve.

As they see it, changing customer and employee expectations, as well as skills shortages, climate, technological and supply chain disruption, are working together to underpin an ongoing uncertainty that means businesses will have to change. Coupled with unfavourable economic headwinds, often this means reviewing costs, processes and structures — over 85% of PwC’s surveyed CEOs said cost-cutting is on the cards — which causes further uncertainty, employee anxiety and extra HR work.


5 ways great payroll can help HR manage business uncertainty Cezanne HR blog

Most in the function are already experiencing this. Despite so much still in the balance, they’re being tasked with delivering some certainties (pay, work structures, business comms) for the workforce as well as being asked to manage business change with flexible processes and systems. It’s a lot — and the vendors HR works with, from payroll to talent management, should be helping rather than hindering.

To understand more about how great payroll can support HR during times of people uncertainty and business change, here are five essential insights to help.

1. Ensure payroll is a trust, engagement and productivity benefit

In 2022, two retailers made cost of living headlines after repeatedly failing to pay employees accurately. Whilst this resulted in employee money struggles it also posed risks to the businesses’ brands and their employee engagement. And in uncertain times, employers desperately need engaged employees — as engagement underpins productivity, retention, and better business outcomes.

A good starting place to secure this engagement is by making sure that employees can trust pay will be on time and accurate. A digital, modular managed payroll solution can help here: it reduces human error and improves pay accuracy, as HRIS inputs are reflected in the payroll element and there is no double data entry. Whilst Cezanne HR’s Smart Managed Payroll solution also gives real-time access to pay data to give auditing oversight to HR teams before pay runs go off.

Furthermore, working with a great payroll provider means a support team is on hand to troubleshoot queries before they become issues. And, Cezanne HR’s offering gives employees access to digital payslips when they want, helping them feel in control of their pay when they’re likely most anxious about it.

2. Great payroll solutions allow HR time to focus on change management

Since the pandemic changed working life, most business bosses say HR leaders have been critical in ensuring needed transformation has been successful. And, recent McKinsey research shows that over 80% of senior people practitioners want to continue strategically managing their businesses through this next uncertain period.

As McKinsey found, this would require moving HR resources away from administration and process. If HR chooses a managed payroll solution — one that can give peace of mind as it is HMRC-accredited, GDPR compliant, RTI-ready and includes statutory report processing and automatic deduction calculations — it can get that time to be a central business asset.

Yet, a top-tier payroll provider shouldn’t take HR completely away from the process. Cezanne HR’s smart managed payroll solution gives HR auditing control as and when they need it as well as personalised configuration and integration with their broader HRIS.

And great payroll-HRIS integration means people teams can access all workforce information in one place. Absolutely crucial when they’re looking for insights to inform their own strategic focus.

3. Great payroll should be a flexible asset

With employees still concerned about the cost of living, many businesses are stepping in: rolling out pay rises, one-off energy bill payments, and bonuses to help staff cope with spiralling inflation. Yet, for those tasked with looking after payroll, this creates a huge administrative burden fraught with risk.

However, solutions such as Cezanne HR’s Smart Managed Payroll solution can flex to allow additional pay runs or multi-schedule delivery whilst the service can be expanded, reduced or linked to optional extras — such as payment processing or General Ledger alignment — with ease. In addition, having a great payroll service as a managed module, as part of the HRIS, can ensure that any updates to employee details, pay grades, and workforce numbers are reflected accurately in payroll.

Furthermore, HR shouldn’t be worrying about compliance when they have financial and people issues to solve: for peace of mind here, look for ISO27001 certification, secure sign-on capabilities and a track record of GDPR compliance.

4. Ensure that vendors are dynamic to changing business needs

With recession still a possibility, many organisations are looking at taking some of the most difficult cost-cutting decisions, including workforce restructures and resizing.

For employees and employers alike this is a precarious time (emotionally, legally and reputationally) and partner vendors should offer services and agreements that support HR teams through this difficult period rather than compound stresses. For example, great managed solutions shouldn’t radically reformulate contracts or financial agreements just because a client business has, likely temporarily, changed its workforce size or immediate business focus.

For example, Cezanne’s HR smart managed payroll solution takes a ‘right product, right service, right time’ approach: understanding that payroll needs to adapt alongside the business as they navigate a changing landscape.

In addition, with HR focusing necessarily on people during uncertain times, managed payroll should also take care of auto-enrolments, HMRC liaison and year-end reporting so HR can manage uncertainty as well as it can.

5. Managed payroll services should be an HR support

Since the pandemic — a time of rocketing HR workloads and expanding remits — HR hasn’t slowed down, dealing with talent crises and economic uncertainty. And looking forward, the function will continue to have to deal with changing labour market dynamics, expectations of work, and needed skills. Unsurprisingly, almost all of the function is feeling burnout as a result – especially HR.

Outsourcing core processes, such as payroll to a managed provider, is one what HR can alleviate some of the pressure. A great managed modular service, which relies on HRIS data entry, means no HR time lost to payroll administration, no time lost moving between separate systems, and efficient access to all pay details, reports and payslips in one place.

With deductions and important calculations included in Cezanne HR’s managed service, as well as proactive support, HR can rest easy that pay runs will be accurate and any queries are answered, freeing up their resource for important value-adding people and business guidance.


Author bio: Dan Cave is an award-winning HR journalist and editor. He has been reporting in the HR space for over five years and works across the business press.