Hat 6 — 3 Levels of Trust

When a Payroll professional joins a Payroll department, they will immediately understand – TRUST is vital and TRUST is earned! Your position in this crucial division of the company, and your access to confidential information, should make you realize how important it is that you are 100% trustworthy. However, this trust can also – quickly and easily – be broken because of one small error!

There are 3 spheres of trust in a company:

1. Management trusts the Payroll Professional

Consider this example: “Please keep this confidential”…said to the Payroll professional who has been summoned to the boardroom. Often this may mean bad news is coming. Maybe the official letter states “the company has decided to downsize, and we need you to calculate a redundancy package for Mr. X , who has been terminated with immediate effect. As a result, Mr. X wants his salary paid out immediately.”
Or maybe, there is good news on the horizon. Perhaps the organization has decided to pay a bonus, and the executive management will ask you to begin calculating facts and figures accordingly. Great news!

Employee trustThis confidential information is your opportunity, as a Payroll professional, to prove your trustworthiness. For instance, you will know to whom management has decided to award a sizeable bonus. Or maybe, who did not qualify for an increase in their salary/remuneration package. And they trust you not to disclose this information to any unauthorised person.
To put it bluntly, management trusts you, as a Payroll professional, to keep your lips sealed!

2. Employees trust the Payroll Professional

Employee trust 2As a Payroll professional, you have more information on any employee, than anyone else in the organization.
Example: 1 – A garnishee order alerts you to the fact that an employee is experiencing financial difficulties.
Example 2 – Or a divorce summons arrives at the office, and you as Payroll professional are immediately aware that an employee is undergoing personal problems. This might mean a possible change in marital status for that employee to deal with.

As a Payroll professional, you are privy to many secrets (say someone is having a baby, or they’re having an affair). Or someone might be considering a massive credit purchase, and you know because the retailer contacted your Payroll department to verify the employment and salary details of that employee.
Employees of a company expect the Payroll professional NOT to divulge their private issues, whether personal or related to their job.

3. External service providers trust the Payroll Professional

As a Payroll professional, you will be required to submit regular documents and reports to various government departments or private institutions. You have to report on taxation matters, divulge medical aid details, and even emolument (or garnishee) orders that will be deducted from an employee’s salary, and paid over to a creditor.
These institutions trust the Payroll professional to send the correct information, in the correct format,Employee trust 3 at the right time.
And remember, you as Payroll professional will often be contacted by financial institutions (such as banks and credit providers), to verify the employment and remuneration details of an employee.

In all 3 spheres mentioned above, you as Payroll professional will be trusted to be 100% truthful and honest. This develops your reputation as someone who is trustworthy!

So let me implore you to do everything in your power to retain the trust you have worked so hard to build up in your organization. One careless mistake…a word spoken out of turn…and trust will be broken in an instant!
Do everything you can to be 100% truthful and honest, so that all who deal with you can depend on you to be trustworthy. A Payroll professional who safeguards the confidential information you have access to, (and is entrusted to you), whether from management, employees or outside institutions.

Some useful tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t be tempted to talk out of turn
  • Never divulge someone’s sensitive, private information (without their permission)
  • Never say “yes” when you know the right answer is “no”
  • Never be underhand in your words or behaviour (especially if it’s against the law, or a breach of company policy)
  • Be mindful of what you post on social media
  • Guard confidential documents carefully – don’t leave them open for prying eyes to see

As a Payroll professional, take pride in the trust your company puts in you, Trusted employeeand always act with integrity! This is an essential part of your job. Don’t let one careless mistake destroy all you have worked for. Remember, trust is EARNED, and very hard to restore once lost!

Coming next… Hat 7: The Payroll Professional as Counsellor