Payroll During a Crisis
3 Key Features to Look for in a Payroll Partner
APR 23, 2020 by PATRICK HOGAN, CEO Handle.com
The payroll function of your human resources department has largely enjoyed a back-office role. When payroll is done right and everybody is paid on time, there will be no complaints or issues that need to be addressed. However, this invisible background role has become pivotal in the midst of the extraordinary times we are in right now. The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear how critical providing compensation and support to employees is amidst the community lockdowns and quarantines.
This health crisis and the resulting economic difficulties have severely impaired the way employees get paid for their work. It has made it challenging for human resources personnel to distribute salaries and wages to employees on time, or at all. As company owners develop and implement their business continuity plans, it may be time to evaluate the impact of the crisis on payroll and determine what changes should be made when this outbreak has passed. Here are some of the key features that businesses should look for in a payroll partner during a crisis.
1. Accessibility through solid digital infrastructure
Something that has been taken for granted by many small and medium businesses is the accessibility of business software. Most of the time, employees use apps in the workplace as they are installed on office computers, and remote accessibility is only a bonus feature that they use on the occasional work-from-home day. The coronavirus outbreak, however, has led to a number of cities, and in worst cases, countries being put on lockdown, and many workers are compelled to stay at home to counter the spread of the virus.
For companies that do not have any remote capabilities, this means a total shutdown of business operations, and along with it, the challenges of distributing payroll amid lockdown. Companies that depend on physical forms and bank checks for distributing payment may have to find other means to issue compensation.
After the pandemic, when it is time to evaluate your payroll function, you should have remote accessibility as one of your priority features. Choose a payroll provider with a solid digital infrastructure to ensure the continuity of your payroll functions during a crisis.
2. Ability to incorporate legislative changes
A global crisis like the COVID pandemic calls for swift action on the part of governments. They may use emergency powers as necessary, especially to conduct mass testings, provide support packages to businesses, and give aid to employees affected by the crisis. As such, there will be legislative changes that will affect how businesses conduct payrolls such as new guidelines in giving compensation due to the work-time reductions or new filing deadlines to account for the lockdown.
The ability to incorporate legislative changes is a crucial feature of a payroll application during a crisis. Not only do you need to pay people right, but you will also need to ensure that the changes in tax and miscellaneous payments are properly reflected. Payment issues are the last things that you want to deal with during a crisis.
3. Stellar customer support
Another important factor you need to consider when looking for a payroll partner is the level of customer service that they provide. In times of crisis where there is a lot of uncertainty, you need to feel confident knowing that the payroll partner will be able to answer your concerns and address your issues. Consider getting a payroll partner that has a dedicated account management team. Ideally, you should be able to contact the support staff via phone, chat, or email where they can answer your complex questions, especially those related to the crisis.
Dealing with the COVID-19 crisis and ensuring the continuity of your business is not an easy task. But you can use this opportunity to reevaluate your business functions and identify the flaws of your operations. Assess the current status of your payroll, evaluate what features will be handy during this crisis, and use them as the criteria for choosing your payroll partner.