Enhancing employee financial wellbeing and better control

31st August 2023

Payroll is no longer purely an admin task but a vital part of employee experience says Civica’s Kirsty Fowler

As we look ahead to National Payroll Week, the industry has moved on rapidly in recent years. Payroll is integral to all organisations. It’s no longer seen as purely an administrative function but one which can add huge strategic value and really enhance the employee experience. In a world where data has integral business importance, payroll data has more value than most.

With more than 500,000 individuals processing payroll in the UK (according to the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals) this is a growing profession for many. Consequently, we’re also seeing the world of payroll technology and software adapt to meet the ever changing demands and needs of employees and employers.

As demand for financial wellbeing support in the workplace remains high and employees are expecting more instant access to their own data, there are some exciting trends happening.

Automation first

Digital transformation is increasingly about data and insights. Today’s payroll teams can really show how this data can add value to any organisation; helping leaders to make more strategic and evidence-based decisions.

Improved automation sits at the heart of this. While automation is of course about speeding up processes, it’s also about removing risk, manual processes and human error. Smart cloud payroll software takes away the burden of manual spreadsheets and allow those in payroll to use their knowledge and skills for more value-add tasks across an organisation.

The better the data, the better analysis we can make, for example, see historic trends and learn from them. With employee’s payroll data all in one place, we can analyse, report on it and then really start to ask how do we use this data to improve the employee experience?

Right now, it’s more crucial than ever that people have control of their financial wellbeing and ownership of their data. For example, if they can self-serve to have a better understanding of areas such as benefits, tax and national insurance payments, they can plan better for their future.

Meeting the need for pay on demand

As we’ve discussed, payroll is not just transactional but an emotive issue and heavily linked to the employee experience in this sense. Employers can show flexibility by helping in many ways, but one great example is with pay-on-demand for more control over pay, and the timing of this throughout the month. If employees understand better when their income is coming in, they can see where they have gaps and pick up extra shifts for example.

Payroll software now allows for the extra money earned from shifts to be paid straight away via Early Wage Access rather than employees waiting until the end of the month. This allows people to intelligently plan their income – and avoid getting into expensive debt via short-term loans.

At Civica, we’re also partnering with organisations such as Experian and its interactive digital platform, PayDashboard, which will allow our customers to better engage with, and understand their payslip information. This will help them to take control of their financial wellbeing. The platform also assists with sending payslip information direct to a bank or building society when applying for a mortgage for example, automating and speeding up the whole process.

We’re excited to celebrate National Payroll Week and pay tribute to all those who work tirelessly to support peoples’ finances in the workplace. With continual pressures on the cost of living, the financial well-being of workers has come to the fore and payroll teams, and the software they use, is crucial to this new wave of employee benefits that any organisation can offer.

Whether it’s using the data to offer Early Wage Access, or to expedite a credit check, payroll has grown up – and this is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, we can use de-identified data to analyse the past, present and future of any organisation's wage bill and generate valuable statutory reports or model salaries for pay reviews.

We’re really at the first stage of on-demand and self-service in payroll. Our future focus remains strongly on supporting financial wellbeing in the workplace, which will only become more vital as we move forward. With payroll now having a seat at the top table in every organisation, it’s exciting to see what tech innovation we can bring to the future.

Kirsty Fowler is Divisional Managing Director, HR and Payroll at Civica