Staffing Up: Payroll’s Role in Recruitment and Retention

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash
  • Scenarios for payroll playing out across the country reflect the need to hire new workers.
  • Employers now must pay more attention to employee needs and wants.
  • Payroll’s influence on how well employees are treated cannot be underestimated.
  • Value-added processes, including new technology, can help improve retention.

“I put 10 new hires into the system this morning,” said the HR manager to the payroll director. “They are attending orientation tomorrow.” This is the largest number of new hires at one time the company has ever experienced. 

Payroll Paula paused and looked at the HR manager as she pulled up the system interface with the new data. Then she peppered her HR colleague with questions and issues: 

“When is their actual start date? Tomorrow? You will handle E-Verify for work eligibility, right? I don’t see W-4 information for any of these. I can’t put them into the payroll system until they have submitted their tax withholding certificates, both federal and state. Once I have that, I can verify the name/social security numbers with the Social Security Administration.”

The HR manager replied: “At orientation, we expect to get the forms and selections for benefits submitted by the new employees. Systems says they cannot use employee self-service for this until they actually start work tomorrow.”

Payroll Paula knew she had her work cut out for her, and while she knows 10 new hires are coming tomorrow, she really cannot do anything about it on her end until she gets all the information she needs to get them on the system properly, accumulating earnings.

Employee Leverage Grows

Across the country as the economic shut down comes to an end, employers are scrambling to staff up in a number of areas. Flush with federal stimulus loans and tax credits, coupled with boosts in investment dollars because of major growth expectations, many companies are aggressively pursuing new workers. 

But the employment equation has changed. This is especially seen in some key service sectors of the economy, where workers are coming out of this pause looking for greener pastures, and this pressures employers to rethink base wage rates and apply other incentives, such as hiring and retention bonuses and on-demand pay, also known as earned wage access.

What can payroll do to help?

Beyond Basic Administration

The ability to timely and accurately pay remains the lynchpin to a successful pay experience. Almost a quarter (24%) of respondents to a 2017 Workforce Institute survey said they’ve looked for a new job after experiencing a single paycheck error, while 25% said they would seek different employment if they experienced two payroll mistakes.  

Payroll is known for its ability to effectively apply tools and resources to ensure people are paid timely and accurately, but now is the time to take this skill to the next level.

Payroll Paula can do more than just react and ensure the basics are done right. She can be a champion for positive change.

She has always served the employees and her employer, but she’s seen the transformation coming for several years now. This includes a big employer adjustment that focuses now on the financial wellbeing needs of staff. 

Payroll Paula has read myriad studies that show workers are more likely to choose an employer that has a robust commitment to providing tools for workers that can help them save and stay out of payday loan debt, and that uses new technology to provide convenient apps for saving and accessing on-demand pay. And she knows they stay longer when that additional commitment is made by the employer to provide more financial awareness, such as a daily pay balance that tells employees how much they have accumulated, what they have earned so far.

It is time for her to let her colleagues in HR and higher up the chain know that payroll can be key in helping the company navigate successfully out of the pandemic economy and into a new landscape of bettering the work experience for everyone. 


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