6 Ways to Ensure Your Global Payroll Project Makes It “Off the Starting Blocks”
Many Global payroll projects with huge potential benefits simply never make it past beginning stages. Reasons can vary, from teams having a poor understanding of what payroll services are actually required, an incorrectly assumed size and structure of the retained organisation, or the misconception of correcting business processes prior to starting a payroll project which are then often compounded with a poorly articulated financial business case.
These challenges are often the result of the inwardly focused teams, a lack of experience in executing transformational global payroll projects, an adversarial procurement processes, the misconception that the vendor is trying to take advantage, and ultimately, the fear of change. All of these can be overcome by considering the following elements during the early stages of a global payroll project.
- Scope out your Services
Before you have written an RFP or are too far into a project, you should ideally be working with your top two potential vendors to understand how your actual business requirements would align to their standard Scope of Services. In a half-day session, it is possible to understand exactly which services are required across payroll, personal administration, benefits, time and attendance, talent management administration and employee support services; and critically, who will be delivering each service line. The resulting understanding of actual requirements will ensure that both you and the vendor will have a much clearer understanding of requirements, and as important, that your cost quotations will ultimately be easier to compare.
- Visit a multi-client Shared Service Centre
It is critical that you spend a day or more in several large-scale payroll outsourcing centres. This is, without a doubt, the most important aspect of the selection process, as it allows you to truly understand the operational elements of payroll outsourcing, compliance, integration and data management. It gives you a first-hand glimpse of what a best practice actually looks like. Be aware that 75% of your time in the centre should be on the floor and not stuck in a boardroom listening to presentations.
- Think about FTE and Retained Organisation
The sharing of FTE numbers – both in the vendor’s proposed model and in the client’s current and retained organisation – (crazily) continue to be a taboo topic. The client doesn’t want to share this data for fear of losing some commercial advantage, and the vendor is worried that their ‘secret recipe for success’ will escape. Rubbish. Only an open and honest dialogue (firstly about Scope of Services and then the actual FTE numbers – current client, proposed vendor and client retained) will result in a sensible, well understood project.
- Define/Refine your Payroll Business Processes
It is impossible and a never-ending story to first refine your payroll business processes, and then undertake a global payroll transformation project that will also include new technology. This is simply a great job for a consultant! What needs to be embraced is a project that considers new technology and new business processes during one implementation, and then aligns these to your outsourcing partner’s proven best practice.
- Build the Business Case
The business case is another worrying element that is often cloaked in a veil of secrecy, often with no direct vendor participation in its creation. This is ultimately why so many potential projects never actually begin – a badly written and ill-conceived business case. Embrace your vendor, accept they will (and need to make) a sensible margin, and then work openly to develop a commercially realistic business case that will deliver the benefit to your organisation.
- Hire a Sourcing Advisor
Hire a sourcing advisor for your project, ideally one who doesn’t also provide the services you are looking to acquire! Look closely for a boutique and proven sourcing advisory partner who is happy to help you successfully deploy your payroll transformation project in a manner relevant to 2015 and not 1985….. some remain rather old fashioned in their approaches.
Designing, developing, launching and successfully delivering a global payroll transformation project requires you to embrace a more open, transparent approach to partnering with your selected vendors. Be open and share your data points, and demand the same from your vendor. This open approach will ensure not only that the project will have a much greater chance of success, but also that key concepts such as ‘Gain Share’ will become a reality. Experience shows that a better outcome for the project will be achieved if you spend twice the amount of time with half the numbers of vendors.