Payroll is a huge struggle for many companies, and often represents the most inefficient area of human resources operations. Even though it is one of the most important services companies provide for their employees, it can quickly become one of the most challenging. However, there are many things you can do to streamline payroll administration and make the process more efficient for everyone. It's important to keep in mind that there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to payroll management because the needs of every business are unique, and they may change over time as a company grows. Here are five ways to improve payroll in your company:
1. Organize Everything and Make a Schedule
The first step for boosting efficiency is getting organized. Payroll operations have a significant number of moving parts at all times, from payroll tax deadlines to quarterly reporting. Staying organized is key to keeping everything running smoothly. It may be helpful to create an internal calendar with all due dates so nothing slips off the radar and the entire department is on the same page. Establishing a schedule for check processing also helps keep employees informed. Payroll administrators need to consider the process from start to finish to identify areas for improvement, allowing them to increase accuracy.
2. Make Policies as Clear as Possible
Confusion emerges when policies regarding paid time off, sick days and holidays are unclear. Ambiguous policies lead to many questions down the road when it comes time to process the checks for that pay period. Even expense reimbursement can throw a wrench in the works. Clarifying all employee policies and putting them in a place that's easy for staff to find significantly boosts efficiency. Plus, pointing employees in the right direction saves time for HR managers.
3. Use Direct Deposit and Electronic Pay Stubs
This is a given for many businesses, but moving away from paper checks increases accuracy and saves time. Most consumers don't hold on to paper pay stubs anymore and prefer to handle their banking electronically. Direct deposit is more convenient for businesses and employees. Many new hires have come to expect this form of payroll.
4. Implement Employee Self-Service
Rather than leaving the payroll department bogged down in the trenches, increasing the use of self-service features makes it easier to maintain accuracy. Allowing employees to request paid time off or file expense reports on the go keeps them from forgetting to enter this information when they're back in the office. Managers can approve requests as they come in, speeding the process up without introducing errors. When supervisors need to enter sick days for their team members, they can easily forgot, creating issues down the road. If your company employs workers who are paid hourly, make it possible for them to track and enter their own hours.
Boosting the use of self-service channels takes some of the pressure off the payroll department when it needs to account for variations in pay periods.
5. Use Technology
Increasing your company's use of technology to process payroll can substantially boost efficiency. Not only is accuracy crucial for efficient operations, but timeliness is a top concern. Payroll platforms help departments establish a single workflow based on due dates, which increases transparency and makes it easier to catch errors. This ensures all tasks are handled in order. Adopting a platform that streamlines work helps companies cut down on the administrative time it takes to process paychecks, and it can reduce stress to help departments avoid issues like burnout.