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Micah Fairchild Self-Service Payroll Software: A 3-Step Implementation Primer

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 By Micah Fairchild

Implementing Self-Service Payroll Features Requires Specific Tactics

Employee and Manager Self-Service functionalities are fairly well-established capabilities that the bulk of payroll and HR systems utilize; of which the benefits of reduced costs, better use of payroll resources, empowered employees, improved data quality, and others are well-known. In fact, even SHRM (The Society of Human Resource Management) pointed out in 2011 that “well-designed self-service allows employees to make informed choices and to become self-reliant”. Even so, if your organization is new to this type of process, or added self-service functionalities are a key part of a new payroll application’s feature set, then successful implementation is anything but a given. As such, it’s important to remember that there are pitfalls to avoid and practices to adhere to in order to make the implementation and adoption of those self-service payroll capabilities successful. Here’s our 3-step plan to making that happen.

Self-Service Payroll Implementation Tactic #1: Listen

Regardless of the kind of relationship you’re talking about (be at a significant other or an employee), listening is probably one of the best change management tactics you can employ across a broad spectrum of scenarios. And so, when we started putting together our list of the top implementation strategies for payroll self-service, listening topped our list time and again. Specifically, by listening to employees (including managers) about what their self-service payroll needs are through avenues such as surveys, briefings, and focus groups, you’re able to have a much better gauge how that self-service functionality will be received. Here’s why: not only does consultation with end users create early engagement and enthusiasm for the project, it can also provide valuable information on which features will be more easily accepted, and which will not. For instance, in surveys that the American Payroll Association (APA) and HR Outsourcing Association (HROA) conducted in 2011, employees were asked about online payroll portals and support options. In the APA study, 25.5% said they wanted their companies to offer a self-service online pay statement portal. And in the HROA report, less than 25% of employees surveyed indicated they would utilize a “chat” option for pay or benefit questions. How would a company know that they might inadvertently be alienating a quarter of their workforce if they don’t ask these questions and listen to the answers?

Self-Service Payroll Implementation Tactic #2: Encourage

A recent report from BearingPoint notes that “The technical challenges of implementation are a simple matter compared with the human challenges”—and nowhere is this more apparent than in the area of encouraging payroll software system usage. While it might go without saying, businesses cannot hope to garner adoption by simply making self-service payroll capabilities available to their workforce. Rather, as part of a comprehensive payroll software implementation strategy, due diligence must be given to efforts that encourage self-service payroll adoption. For instance, after listening to your employees and their self-service payroll needs, is it best to approach the adoption issue by pointing out the benefits of the new process? Or are you more likely to achieve acceptable usage rates by trying to disincentivize the old system?

Self-Service Payroll Implementation Tactic #3: Communicate

Of course any new software implementation is going to require communication, but in the arena of self-service payroll, users must be clear in their understanding of both the need for that self-service functionality and how to actually use it. And few constituencies hold more sway over this area than your company’s middle managers. Yes, all stakeholder groups are important, but when it comes to garnering support and actual adoption, middle management buy-in is crucial. Think about it...even the most enthusiastic and tech-savvy employee is going to balk at using a new system if their boss isn’t right? As such, it’s critical that your self-service implementation strategy include a communication plan for this specific stakeholder group. And this is not just the bare-bones of the system that should be encouraged with this group. Rather, managers need to be exposed to all of the self-service payroll options in order to reap the most benefit of having their endorsement of the system. After all, one of the biggest wastes of financial resources that can occur is a technology solution that is underutilized. And one of the most common issues with self-service payroll software is that valuable features are never fully leveraged.

Self-Service Payroll Implementation: Some Concluding Thoughts

As Aberdeen Group reports, businesses that successfully leverage self-service feature sets are 41% more likely to achieve Best-in-Class results; and while those figures represent the broad range of self-service outside of just payroll, the fact of the matter is that self-service payroll applications play an integral role. Furthermore, with mobile technology rapidly reconstructing the self-service paradigm (thanks to smartphones, tablets, and more) the importance of self-service payroll will become an even greater business imperative. However, implementing a self-service payroll application is like any other business change; and as such has to adhere to certain strategies in order to be successful. After all, as McKinsey & Co. reported in The Convenient Truth about Change, 70% of all organizational changes fail. Don’t let that statistic become a ruling force with your next payroll software implementation. End

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Author  Author: Micah Fairchild
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By listening to employees (including managers) about what their self-service payroll needs are through avenues such as surveys, briefings, and focus groups, you’re able to have a much better gauge how that self-service functionality will be received."



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