Why data is key to payroll change management

Data already plays an integral role in shaping companies’ global growth strategies and informing business-critical decisions. So when it comes to weighing changes to payroll and HCM systems, data should be a key consideration—after all, payroll and HR yield as much or more data than any other area of business.

But where do you begin when assessing your company’s payroll and HR data for change?

First, it’s important to remember that your payroll and HR infrastructures hold not just quantitative data, but qualitative data as well. When we think about data, especially in regard to payroll, we tend to think pure numbers. But people are the foundation to payroll and HR, so your data troves will also include information that can’t necessarily be measured. This data is just as valuable to your change management evaluations.

Let’s look at some of the data areas—both quantitative and qualitative—to consider before embarking on a change to your payroll or HCM systems.

How ready your data is for transition.

Take stock of your current systems to understand what data currently exists within your HCM and whether it matches the data being used by your payroll teams. Is there alignment between the two, or would a change to your payroll or HCM systems require substantial work to reconcile your various data sets?

Some data to scrutinize include:

  • Employee information (name, address, birthdate, etc.)
  • Salaries and bonuses
  • Benefits
  • Tax information
  • Banking details
  • Organizational structures

The status of your in-country payroll and HR partnerships.

As a multinational organization, having local payroll and HR partners within the different countries you operate may be necessary to doing business. If the payroll and HCM changes you’re exploring include system consolidation, it’s important to review how that would affect those in-country relationships.

Some information to gather includes:

  • Expiration dates of your in-country partner contracts
  • Contract terms, including possible penalties for exiting the relationship
  • Special conditions in the agreements that would hamper change

The depth of your current staff’s institutional knowledge.

Institutional knowledge is an example of the important qualitative data held within your payroll and HR organizations. This is the type of information that can provide valuable understanding of how changes to payroll and HCM systems would affect your company. But it can only be obtained by talking to people—not by analyzing results from a report.

Conduct interviews to learn about:

  • Specialized, country-specific knowledge your current staff has, and what information would be lost with a system change
  • The unique workflows that have evolved among your payroll or HR teams that may not be part of the existing documented processes
  • The impact processes and workflows have on your HR, payroll and finance teams

Using data to inform next steps to change management.

When it comes to payroll and HCM change, data isn’t the be-all and end-all—but it does have a role in each step of the process, particularly, as described above, at the start. As change management progresses, data should have a role in your efforts to inform and sell to stakeholders, prepare for cutover, and evaluate post-launch successes.

Learn more about how you can streamline the change process in our Payroll & Change Management: A Step-by-Step Guide.


The Safeguard Team
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