Accurate efficient and deadline driven. Words that should make you feel challenged and confidant at the same time. This is the foundation for all payroll people and departments. Without these three words we cannot hope to become or remain relevant. In fact, if we are not accurate, efficient and deadline driven we will not survive the new era .
1.Communicate your expectations to line management
Line management have a reputation for ‘Forgetting” that the payroll department requires information. It is not unusual, as you know, to have to beg management for information. So, set up meetings, walk the floor, use your e mail, start a payroll department Facebook page and/or sms them the day before (some payroll programs have this built in). Just keep on talking to your customers about what you expect from them to enable you to deliver an outstanding service.
2. Agree deadlines in writing
I know this is obvious but you need something ( a contract or agreement) to make sure that the information arrives on time. Remind them gently when they miss they deadline. A funny e- mail or text showing a snail for example. In the same way reward those that are on time. (create a honor board on Facebook or send a chocolate)
3. Plan your workload
We know when we will be really busy, so plan what needs to be done , when. As the plan comes together so the monthly routines fall into place. As these routines start to become effective, and the payroll department develops a reputation for excellence, so everybody wants to make sure that the routines and procedures work. Nobody will want to be the person who does not follow procedure.(or receives the snail mail)
4. Prepare for the unexpected
Always make time, leave time to deal with the unexpected. It will happen and It will always be at the worst time. So leave yourself some time to deal with the employee who nobody knows about, or the time and attendance system not recording properly, or the unpaid leave documents that suddenly appear on your desk. to maintain your sanity, don’t take these interruptions personally.

5. Check Your Work

Lastly reconcile and balance. Make sure you have totals to balance to, and do the last month versus this month variation report. Check and investigate those funny numbers before releasing the payroll to management for approval.

Next week: Payroll automation – how that can save us from extinction.