Payroll Operations


A major retailer and market leader in its field, our client asked i-Realise to carry out a Payroll Health-Check to help them understand current issues prior to making some changes in their Payroll operation. Their objective was to bring some outsourced processes back in-house and, in the long term, to replace their Payroll system.

Key Issues

The Health-Check, which was carried out over a 2-week period, revealed or confirmed a number of issues:

  • Different ways of working within the Payroll team, leading to inconsistencies
  • Multiple manual interfaces with other systems. These required manual manipulation prior to entry, with increased risk of error
  • A lack of policy and defined processes upstream of the Payroll team presenting as issues for the team itself
  • A completely manual absence management process
  • A recently introduced and undocumented manual calculation to meet National Living Wage obligations. This presented the risk of error, not simply because it was manual but also because of the time pressures involved and the limited knowledge of the process within the Payroll team
  • Duplicated checking procedures
  • Duplication of some activities outsourced to service providers due to lack of trust


The i-Realise team interviewed all members of the Payroll team and worked with them to map the monthly Payroll process, the external inputs and the outputs.

The initial focus was on identifying the issues arising from all stages of the Payroll process.

A workshop was then held to analyse the root causes behind the issues and allow the business to focus on the key areas for improvement.


A high-level “As Is” model of the monthly Payroll process was created.

Over 50 issues were identified and documented. These were mapped to either the Payroll processes or to areas of the business feeding information to Payroll.

The workshop analysed the issues and mapped them to nine root causes.

A high-level road map for improvement was created that focussed on the root causes identified.

Workstreams to address the issues and areas for improvement were defined.

Following this work, i-Realise were asked to map the end-to-end “As Is” Payroll operating model in detail.

We are continuing to work with the business and service providers to project manage the task of bringing outsourced Payroll activity in-house including identifying and training in-house process owners to ensure process improvement is embedded and sustainable. In addition, we are helping to define a high-level plan for the replacement of the Payroll system with a view to supporting the business through that process.

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