The Power of a Single Platform: An Interview with Meg Poccia
Meg Poccia still retains an unmistakable passion for small business payroll after working at Paychex for 35 years.
She started in 1981 as a payroll specialist, then moved into sales, support, and a number of product management roles. Today, as a Senior Product Manager for Paychex Payroll & Time Labor Services, she oversees product managers in tax compliance, electronic network services (ENS), and payroll.
We spoke with Meg recently about some of the ways Paychex has evolved over time to meet the demands of today’s complex small business environment.
How do you see Paychex Flex® from the perspective of small business owners today, and in the future?
I feel like Paychex is one of those companies that stays true to its unchanging core values, while continually evolving to meet the demands of a changing market.
In terms of core values, I would say these include integrity, service, innovation, partnership, accountability, and respect. These are constants at Paychex.
Another constant is change. We can’t bury our heads in the sand and say, “well, something worked 10 years ago.”
So, while the basics of payroll remain the same, we strive to be forward-thinking in terms of how busy small companies want to interact with us.
We still retain the traditional dedicated payroll specialist model, via telephone; however, we offer mobile options, self-service, and dedicated 24/7 service options. Basically, we have retooled our entire service model to fit the preferences of our clients versus the other way around.
Can you talk a little more about Paychex Flex® in particular?
Sure. It’s a single platform that clients use regardless of their size or number of Paychex solutions. On one end, you could have three employees and only need our basic payroll processing. On the other end, you could have hundreds of employees and “turn on” our full portfolio of solutions. These include recruiting, onboarding, health and benefits, time and attendance, and retirement.
Here’s why the single platform is so powerful: It’s built off of a single employee record, so there is no need to rekey data into different HR systems. Employee data is shared between the various solutions within the same platform. That means greater accuracy and time savings!
However, I think there’s something much more important and often missed by many small employers. With other payroll providers, employers often “outgrow” a particular platform … as they expand, and their requirements become more complex. When this happens, they have to switch to a new platform, which is both disruptive and usually means lost time and the need to learn a new system.
The beauty of Paychex Flex is that a business can stay on the same system indefinitely. As their needs change, they can simply add new features as they go.
Is integrated technology really important to small businesses?
At Paychex, we actually get much of our direction from direct feedback from our clients. So, I can tell you, even though businesses may not always use the term “integrated technology,” the benefits of a platform like this are incredibly important.
Take, for example, something as small as single sign-on. It can be cumbersome for owners and managers to have multiple systems, with multiple login credentials. Many businesses have five or more different systems and logins.
Or, let’s take a real world example of entering a new employee into the payroll system. Once all the data is entered, it automatically flows into other systems like time and attendance and 401(k). There is no need to re-type the same data across multiple systems.
Now, you asked about importance and I want to make sure that we highlight what businesses really benefit from. The integrated single platform, which Paychex has built from the ground up, results in less time, less work, and fewer potential errors from repetitively rekeying data across disparate systems.
But the system, also called SaaS, or software-as-a-service, also includes automatic updates. So, unlike traditional software, and the need to download new release patches, our system updates automatically.
Beyond technology, are there other factors buyers should consider in a provider?
You can have the best technology in the world, but without matching service, ethics, and some of the other Paychex values we touched on earlier, you’re really not giving businesses that full partner experience.
Other critical, and often overlooked, factors are business continuity services and security. In the case of a natural disaster, or even local service outage, Paychex offices share the load to make sure no payrolls are missed.
And, another benefit of Paychex is the scheduled, redundant, backup systems, and stringent data security protections that keep data safe for businesses in a way that many local or regional providers simply can’t compete with.
All this adds peace of mind to the other features and services, giving clients a feeling of security that Paychex is a trusted partner.