The Reward 300 was announced recently, and I was happy to be named for i-Realise’s work in helping companies get their business ready for payroll change. It was just over 10 years ago that I worked on my first payroll related project and I must confess that I was one of those people that thought “how hard can payroll be?” and “payroll is just a machine, it’s easy!

In those 10 years I have learnt just how difficult payroll is to get right but also how important it is to an organisation. The employee value proposition and employee well-being drive many HR discussions today. Whilst there is lots of research out there that shows salary isn’t always the key motivator for employees to join or stay, it is also easy to forget that being paid on time and correctly is a fundamental pillar of both.

I’ve also learnt just how much it can influence the day-to-day operation of a business.  So when there is a fundamental change to the payroll application or the way in which it is administered, the change can be difficult to land successfully.

I’m a huge supporter of change but so many organisations overlook the importance of the right approach or under-estimate the impact change can have within a business. My experience of working on all sorts of payroll-related projects provides good insight into this. The impact of upgrading or replacing a payroll system will have a knock-on impact throughout the business – processes, people, reporting, payslips, pay cycle, etc. In some cases the change might be small but because payroll impacts every single individual working within the organisation, it has to be right.

As with any business change or transformation, I believe the first question to ask yourself is “Is the business ready for this change?

Have you considered every aspect? Do you know what really happens today in all the areas affected – to know what impact the changes will have in the future? At i-Realise we call this Business Readiness. Readying people for change takes time but if it is done correctly people will embrace it and be a supporter instead of a resistor. Taking time upfront to understand its significance and the level of impact is so vitally important for any business leader. That one manual workaround that you didn’t know about or that one critical person being on holiday, could be the difference between success and failure.

The final thing I’ve learnt along the way: every change is different because every business is different. After 25 years of working with organisations to land change successfully, we respect that.

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