Eurovision Song Contest and Global Payroll

The crazy similarities between an annual international song competition and Global Payroll solutions

With a powerful but low-key ballad, the Netherlands won the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. With 41 participating countries, the contest was held this year in Tel Aviv. Duncan Laurence ended a 44-year wait for a fifth Eurovision Song Contest victory for the Netherlands. This automatically means that the Netherlands will be hosting 2020’s Eurovision Song Contest and we couldn’t help but notice all the similarities of the contest and what goes into hosting it, and (choosing) a Global Payroll solution. Far-fetched? Not at all! Read on to understand our train of thoughts.

Eurovision Song ContestGlobal Payroll Business


Okay, this one’s a bit obvious but a big connection nonetheless. Since the first edition in 1956 up to and including the 64th edition in 2019, 1564 entries have been heard at the Eurovision Song Contest. In this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, 41 countries participated. All of these countries, with their different backgrounds and languages, need to be accommodated and taken into consideration when presented into one contest.

The same goes for Global Payroll, a high-end tool will be required for your Global Payroll solution, something to connect your global HR Platform with the 10, 20, or even 100+ country payroll engines. The Eurovision brings lots of countries together, and so does a Global Payroll Solution!


The hosting city of the Eurovision should be flexible in terms of infrastructure and accommodation. The venue should accommodate around 10,000 spectators and the city should be within easy reach of an international airport. In addition, the location must also have enough hotel accommodation for at least 2,000 delegates, journalists and spectators. If this flexibility is not met initially, this is no disaster, it just means that the hosting city will need to invest in one of the aspects. For instance, better infrastructure. However, as long as the base is right, this is the most important part.

Flexibility is critical and must be in the DNA of your global payroll partner. Global Payroll is not about throwing away every payroll engine you have today. It should be about recycling the platforms that are mature and stable. It should not simply be rip and replace. Therefore, with the example of infrastructure; the base should be there but it’s okay if you need to do some renovations or slight adjustments.

Infrastructure Global Payroll


This year in Tel Aviv, there was some controversy surrounding Israel hosting the event.

Michael Segalov, writer at The Guardian, was an audience member and explains how: ‘loud boos came from the audience when the Icelandic entrants waved Palestinian scarves solemnly to the cameras as their results rolled in.’ The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises the contest, sent out the statement: “This directly contradicts the rules … the consequences of this action will be discussed.” As we can tell from this statement, certain rules were in place for the contest and should have been respected.

The same goes for Global Payroll, there are many ‘rules’ and maintaining legislative awareness and compliance in every country in which your company operates is now more important than ever. Above all, Security and Safety should be a number one concern. Therefore, Global Payroll requires a dedicated team from the vendor with significant global investment to support its research operations.

Client management

This is a part where the Eurovision Song Contest can actually learn something from Global Payroll Solutions.

Some Eurovision artists have catapulted to international fame, including Abba, the Swedish quartet that won in 1974 with “Waterloo,” and the French-Canadian Celine Dion, who won the contest for Switzerland in 1988. For the most part, though, contestants have faded into relative obscurity outside their home countries.

Because we don’t want your Global Payroll to fade into obscurity, client management is introduced.

Global Payroll is complex, challenging and requires a dedicated client management team from the vendor. What is mandatory for success are senior, highly experienced Service Delivery team members and regardless of where they are located, they are not cheap. However, they are critical for the long term success and will turn your Payroll into an Abba or Celine.

Dare to Dream!

We’ve just taken into account a few values of what to look at when choosing a Global Payroll Provider. If you wish to learn more and understand all the points in detail, I suggest reading this article.

To end this suitably: Dare to Dream! This was the tagline of Eurovision 2019. According to Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, it represents and symbolises everything that the Eurovision Song Contest is about: ‘it’s about inclusion. It’s about diversity. It’s about unity.’

To sum that up for Payroll: include every country that needs to be included, understand the different legislations and differences and create a uniform Global Payroll Process.

Eurovision Winner Duncan Laurence

(Source: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)