European organisations and the power of payroll

A recent survey by HR and payroll service provider, SD Worx, revealed that out of 1,500 respondents from nine European countries, 87% of business leaders are now asking for employee data to inform business decisions. Whereas payroll data has previously been seen as only an administrative function, HR and payroll data is now being regularly used by business leaders.

This is great news for HR and payroll teams, and for the business as a whole. By using payroll insights in the boardroom, organisations can gain a better understanding of employee engagement, retention, and churn. Payroll data can undoubtedly be more than just static data, as it can be used to provide useful, strategic insights that can affect the progression of the business and its employees.

Out of the surveyed countries (the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Luxembourg and Belgium), business leaders in the Netherlands are most likely to use payroll data to inform business decisions (94%), with Ireland (93%) and the UK (89%) close behind. It’s reassuring that business leaders and payroll departments seem to be taking a more collaborative approach when it comes to payroll, rather than working in silos.

In terms of the frequency that payroll data is being used by business leaders, over half of surveyed organisations had used payroll data within the last month, and a quarter in the last seven days. By collating and analysing payroll data frequently, organisations can stay up to date with the trends and requirements of the organisation, and will consequently have a better insight into the business.

However, how easy is it for HR and payroll teams to provide data to business leaders? The survey found that 40% of HR and payroll professionals find it ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’ to provide the data. This difficulty can be due to a variety of reasons, whether due to problems with internal communication, or whether collating the data into a report is challenging.

The survey also revealed that the biggest challenges in international payroll are multiple systems (45%) and compliance (40%), followed by confusing data (31%). With so much valuable and sensitive data in the HR and payroll department, it is unsurprising that challenges are still present in organisations, but this needs to be addressed to allow the collaboration to continue and flourish.

Although these challenges still exist, technology will likely be used to minimise them. The survey found that 61% of respondents think that blockchain will be either important or critical in the HR and payroll industry, and 63% predict that artificial intelligence and automation will also be either important or critical. The advancement of technology will only continue to grow in coming years, and the HR and payroll department will be ready to embrace it.

It’s encouraging to see that the power of payroll is being understood and embraced in businesses around Europe. Rather than dismissing payroll data as useless and static data, business leaders need to continue to see the value of payroll, and ensure that the challenges in the HR and payroll department are minimised and addressed.