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Payroll Management and HCM: A Leadership Opportunity


In paying employees, you may be tasked with monitoring and applying payroll controls, payroll scheduling, and reporting. These critical activities can take a great deal of time and labor, and as result, they can keep you from dedicating time to being a strategic and influential contributor in your organization.

Fortunately, advances in HR technology have empowered payroll managers to streamline these tasks, ultimately driving efficiency and boosting productivity. Automation grants payroll managers the time to focus on more strategic work. Integrated human capital management (HCM) solutions make this possible, connecting functions like payroll, time and attendance, HR, and reporting in one platform.

Organizations with a strong HCM strategy often allow the payroll manager role to evolve beyond time-card data entry, recording of deductions and exemptions, or cutting checks. The demands of business today, as well as the possibilities opened by automation, have elevated payroll management from a rote, transactional role to a valuable strategic asset in many firms.

With the right tools and strategies in place, you can enhance department operations, increase return on investment, and influence transformative activities in your organization.

Transitioning Payroll to a Leadership Activity

A key component to driving positive change in your company resides in how you influence decisions. With HCM technology, you can expand your strategic influence by:

  • Reducing costs through automation,
  • Using HR data insights to guide decisions on a company level, and
  • Driving employee engagement through simple, easy-to-use self-service options.

Reducing costs with automation

Pushing paper is expensive and inefficient. Most companies, regardless of size, are adopting some form of automation in the payroll process to save time, reduce laborious data entry, improve accuracy, and decrease redundancy.

An HCM solution that integrates payroll with other human resources functions — such as recruiting, applicant tracking, and hiring; employee demographics; time and attendance; benefits administration; 401(k) recordkeeping; expense management; and performance management — is an enormously powerful tool. By automating these areas, you can demonstrate measurable improvements in accuracy, processing times, and data protection.

Technology provides the luxury of time — something we could all use more of. Without automation, payroll managers are often faced with piles of paperwork, employee oversight, and repetitive manual tasks that limit their ability to stop and inspect processes and results. With automation, you can strive for a more strategic role, making contributions with an eye on the firm’s long-term direction.

Using HR data insights to guide decisions at the company level

HCM solutions offer powerful reporting and data analytics capabilities. Payroll costs typically represent a company’s largest expense line item, and you’re in the best position to identify and correct abnormal cost trends. Using simple yet powerful reporting tools, you can answer key questions, e.g., Where do we spend the most money? Where are my labor costs allocated? Making these queries at regular intervals can keep your firm’s costs in line.

Reporting features, such as real-time, function-focused, and customizable analytics tools, can enable you to uncover patterns in business operations, such as inefficiencies or productivity gaps.

Driving employee engagement through simple, easy-to-use self-service options

Employees are engaged when they see the big picture and how they align with the overall company strategy. Cumbersome, labor-intensive processes can make for a frustrating employee experience and potentially limit your company’s ability to engage and retain your most promising talent. Employees today are no longer interested in meeting with the HR department to accomplish simple tasks like filling out forms or requesting status information. Rather, they expect an experience that empowers them to update their own demographic information, enter time and attendance data, view available vacation and sick time balances, or find answers to benefit questions online, anytime and anywhere, and also on their mobile devices.

Assume the role of HCM thought leader for your company

With the capabilities of an integrated HCM solution, you can deliver insights that empower your HR department and the rest of the organization – and perhaps more importantly, demonstrate to the C-suite how payroll functions have significance beyond employee paychecks. For example:

  • Align payroll costs with company goals;
  • Track overtime trends;
  • Become proactive and monitor your audit log;
  • Develop “What if” scenarios; and
  • Compare payrolls to spot errors.

Make your leadership goals a priority. A good first step toward achieving this is studying industry and technology trends, keeping yourself and other leaders on top of appropriate applications for your firm. Additionally, identify areas for improvement — inside your department and for employees directly.

Demonstrate positive return on investment by using HCM data analytics. Connect with your peers in HR and finance to mine company information, study industry trends, and apply new strategies for growth and efficiency. By positioning yourself as the HCM expert, you become the go-to authority. When it’s time to evaluate your HR technology, you’ll be the key adviser the company relies on for guidance.

Ultimately, be strategic. Drive change through your organization by proving the value of your ideas. Use the HCM solution to develop managerial efficiencies, provide data-driven business insights, and position yourself as a leading change-agent within your organization.



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Janet Moore Klamm is the director of product management for Paychex. A 24-year Paychex veteran, Janet oversees payroll and time and labor services for the company.

This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.
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