I spent years in the talent acquisition space, and I think that at least several months of that time – cumulatively – was spent just trying to get people to calm down. Talent acquisition is a critically important business process, but if I had a dollar for every time I had to remind someone that there really are no recruiting emergencies, I’d be a wealthy woman.
The same sentiment does not hold true for payroll. People don’t work for fun. They work to earn a wage in order to live. So when there is an issue that will in any way impact someone’s ability to be paid accurately and on time, it really can be called an emergency.
If we all agree on the importance of payroll, why, then, does it never come up in discussions about employee experience?
Much has been written about the importance and benefits of providing a superior employee experience – including this piece I recently published – and how an organization’s investment in human capital management technology can bolster engagement, productivity and retention. Rarely does anyone think to include payroll technology in that equation. Payroll is taken for granted, generally. You work for an organization, you get a paycheck. Occasionally, you review the pay slip to ensure proper deductions and withholdings, but for the most part, the only thought given to payroll is when something goes wrong. It’s time for organizations to start utilizing this investment more strategically.
Payroll technology can have a major impact on the employee experience in several ways. First, and most obviously, it helps ensure employees are paid on time and in full. This builds the most basic level of trust between an employee and their employer. Beyond that, organizations can provide flexibility in how employees are paid, no longer dependent solely upon paper checks, which can be costly and inconvenient, or direct deposit, which assumes all employees have bank accounts. Paycards have become increasingly popular as a method of payment, and in fact, we assert that by 2024, the majority of human resources leaders will offer payroll cards (paycards) to their workforce linked to an on-demand payroll offering.
Mobile wallet is also gaining traction, as employees who already use Venmo, ApplePay and the like prefer the convenience of having their pay deposited there, where many are already managing bill pay, personal payments and more. I’ve even seen the rare company offer payment in stocks or cryptocurrency, and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, the point is that there are options, and variety is a friend to the employee. The greater the choices, the more likely an employee is to feel respected and engaged by their employer.
Speaking of options, an on-demand payroll offering is a great way for employees to gain near real-time access to earned wages. This is a powerful tool that organizations can use to help employees meet their financial goals and avoid payday loans or other forms of debt to cover financial obligations that arise unexpectedly, or have a due date off the payroll cycle. Offering access to those funds in times of need could help bridge the gap between paychecks, offering employees more control over their personal finances. Many providers even offer the service at no cost to the consumer, earning fees from the employer or through debit card processing transactions. Some go a step further by offering financial wellness content, and while that isn’t technically a payroll issue, the service is tied to a payroll provider and goes far toward building a bridge of trust between employer and employee.
The key to a great employee experience is personalization, and there is nothing more personal than an employee’s pay. Organizations that take advantage of diverse pay options to ensure employees are paid not just promptly and accurately, but in a manner and at a cadence that is most meaningful to each individual, will reap the benefits of increased employee job satisfaction, engagement and loyalty.