The COVID-19 pandemic massively expanded the remit and responsibilities of HR. It’s a statement few could disagree with.

Since 2020, many leading people practitioners have been called upon by the C-suite to help solve pressing business issues: from keeping people safe during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, to retaining staff during the so-called Great Resignation.

How to use payroll to create HR efficiencies Cezanne HR blog

And that central business importance of HR’s remit shows no signs of letting up. Now, HR leaders are tasked with finding optimal working structures to drive success in a more flexible world of work and are being called upon to deliver the right skills to keep productivity high despite the business and talent landscape being in continual flux. It means the function must help the business become efficient whilst operating in a tight manner itself.

2023 challenges

Throw into the mix unfavourable economic headwinds — sparking business leaders into spending reviews and consideration of what processes and systems are actually efficiently delivering on both profit and organisational needs — and it’s clear that savvy HR leaders will be looking to get the most out of their resources. In particular, to showcase that the function can be relied upon when creating high-level business value.

This usually translates into a rush to keep operations ‘lean’. Whether that means cutting what has been deemed a luxury, pulling back on hiring, or looking at what elements of the HR tech stack are actually used, not to mention combining roles and responsibilities. Less often is there a review of how to get more out of what already exists, and rarely does payroll service provision come into the conversation.

However, payroll solutions can help HR become brilliantly efficient: freeing up more people practitioner time; allowing the tech stack to become seamless; get vital data to help review other practice areas; and outsource time-intensive tasks to experts that can also deliver insight back to the HR function.

To find out more about how the right payroll solution can be an HR efficiency panacea, read below.

1. Payroll can free up HR time

If HR can outsource administrative tasks, it frees up time to focus on more strategic conundrums: such as better aligning other HR processes to business goals; figuring out how to eke more productivity out of people operations; or helping leaders decide where efficiencies need to be made.

And, as payroll and pay run administration is an administrative process that must always happen, if outsourced, it can free up a lot of HR resources. That’s because great payroll is resource intensive – and rightly so! With fastidious checks being required — as pay data must be kept secure and reporting and regulations must be complied with — payroll can often take a lot of HR time to complete.

It doesn’t just stop there, though. There’s the data entry, necessary checks of records, figures and employee bank details, as well as the need to produce mandatory reports from P11s to P60s. That’s all without even considering all enrolments to pensions, production of end-of-year processing and liaising with regulatory bodies.

However, Cezanne’s HR smart-managed payroll solution takes care of all that. It ensures that statutory payments reports and legal HMRC obligations are met, and that HR can be taken out of the process as much or as little as they want to be – all without losing autonomy, or oversight, or the ability to ask questions to the payroll experts. It means more time is given back to HR to find their next world-class senior hire, or focus on supporting every aspect of the employee experience.

What’s more, Cezanne HR’s solution creates even more HR efficiency by the inclusion of automatic HRMC data provision updates, setup of PAYE scheme, and the creation of journal files for General Ledger; not to mention RTI returns, all needed reports, pension enrolments and year-end submissions as well as all necessary processes. All this means your valuable people practitioners can spend more time on where they’re really needed.

2. Data shared is time halved

When your payroll service is a modular part of the overall HRIS, rather than another separate system, it means no double entry of data from other systems. This means no timely double inputs and no re-checking for mistakes (as data is shared between different modules) and, as with Cezanne HR’s managed modular payroll, the initial data upload is done for you. It means data becomes a time-saver not a burden.

Not only does this free up HR time that would’ve been spent on time-sink system set-ups, but as the HRIS the payroll solution sits within comes with comprehensive API and webhooks, it can connect to all other systems with seamless ease. Another excellent efficiency driver!

Not forgetting that with all data in one place and effectively always accessible — thanks to secure Amazon Web Services hosting and a system uptime better than 99.9% — it can be drawn on to help create datasets that can influence big-picture decision-making as HR looks to create better synergy and efficiencies across an organisation.

3. Expert-led efficiency

Even in small teams, there can often be the need to employ a dedicated payroll staffer or practitioner that oversees the regular and fiddly, but nevertheless extremely important, payroll administration tasks.

However, with Cezanne’s HR smart-managed payroll solution all processing is taken care of. What’s more, this secure and seamless service is backed by a dedicated team of UK payroll experts which means that you can keep your HR team lean and agile, and focus on important business delivery tasks, knowing that any questions you do have will be dealt with by Cezanne HR’s dedicated team very quickly.

As that means HR doesn’t lose oversight of the payroll process, it can tweak, rearrange, and adapt pay runs to suit the workforce needs of the moment: whether that’s delivering cost-of-living payments, shortening the pay period, or creating separate entities. All this means however the business flexes to meet the challenges of the day — be it talent acquisition and retention difficulties, inflation, or supply chain pressures — payroll is not an impediment. Instead, it can help the business be efficient and targeted in its solutions where it most needs to be.

4. Technology and trust underpinning great people strategy

With the Cezanne HR smart-managed payroll solution, payroll helps to build trust with employees — which in turn can helps build engagement, productivity and retention by doing the basics great. Much more efficient than having to come up with expensive solutions because the basics have gone wrong.

The Cezanne HR Smart Managed Payroll helps with that by giving employees access to digital payslips and their important personal information whenever and wherever they need. As well as ensuring payroll stays mistake-free, with digitisation reducing the risk of human error.

Furthermore, payroll as a system-integrated module can also give real-time oversight of data to HR teams, meaning they can check, and then forestall, inaccuracies before pay runs occur. A great trust-building asset to have when individuals might be looking at their options if their financial needs aren’t met.

Lastly, a focus on people in payroll delivery is surely business-efficient, too. By keeping the workforce happy and building trust, via pay runs going off in the expected manner, HR is utilising one of the best ways to retain skills and build towards success – something that great payroll should always support.


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.