Organizational inefficiencies, particularly in global payroll, could be concealing data that help inform strategic decisions
Business processes at multinational companies are inherently complex, thanks to the sheer breadth of operations. With business units and functions traversing languages, cultures and time zones, it can be difficult to identify where in the organization to streamline processes.
But no matter how complex the business, streamlining is key to staying competitive and meeting changing customer needs in today’s increasingly global economy.
Given how entrenched data is within business processes—in today’s digital landscape, it’s essentially everywhere—streamlining any processes involving data helps improve accuracy and uncover insights to better inform strategic decisions. Additionally, streamlining processes helps the bottom line: It’s been widely cited that companies lose 20% to 30% in revenue every year due to inefficiencies.
We’ll take a look at what steps companies can take to see more data benefits from streamlined processes—and how global payroll is a prime area to start.
Evaluate functional silos to find overlap or connections between groups and systems
Business activity rarely happens in a vacuum, with processes often crossing organizational and functional boundaries. However, many businesses operate with multiple separate silos, each with their own data, leadership, processes, cultures and goals.
This system of silos adds to the organization’s overall complexity, making global priorities and objectives difficult to manage. It’s bad enough when there is division, but at some organizations, there’s also a lack of communication between the silos, data and the systems within them. In fact, 81% of business leaders say problems arise because they have different internal systems and applications that don’t “talk” to each other across the organization.
When the company attempts to introduce new organization-wide initiatives, silos can have a negative impact on the programs’ success because information is slowed from a lack of communication.
A lack of communication and an increase in complexity can also lead to data inconsistencies and errors, duplication of effort, and internal process confusion.
Imagine how much more could be accomplished in an organization if knowledge workers didn’t waste up to 50% of their time hunting for data and identifying and correcting errors.
In addition to hampering organization-wide initiatives, data errors and inconsistencies can also introduce a host of new problems, including:
- Risk and compliance issues
- Production slowdowns
- Lower quality of services
A good example of where companies can find functional overlap across silos is in payroll. For many organizations, payroll data and functions fall within both HR and finance departments, yet they’re often split between the two, with each unit claiming “ownership” of payroll—and sometimes performing duplicate work.
Payroll discord across silos is such a widespread issue that in a recent global survey of business leaders, 82% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that integrating HR and finance data is a top priority.
As it should be.
If payroll data within each department doesn’t match the other, the company is exposed to all kinds of noncompliance and other potentially damaging repercussions.
And beyond guarding against risk, payroll data accuracy that comes from departmental cooperation gives the company the ability to perform predictive or prescriptive analytics to better inform strategic business decisions.
Migrate from manual processes to technology-enabled integrated workflows
A company’s manual processes are another area that organizations can evaluate for efficiency gains. Especially if they overlap silos, manual processes can put data and other important company functions at risk of security breaches, duplication through uncontrolled versioning, and problems with data integrity.
A way to improve manual processes is to implement technology-enabled workflows. The more comprehensive the technology, the more benefits the company can gain from transparency and streamlined communication across the organization.
When manual processes are integrated into digital solutions, the organization can gain better access to and insight from data. Many technological solutions can act as a “single system of record” for the company, providing:
- Access to real-time data
- Enhanced reporting tools
- Integrated global operations
Having a global view into company processes and data means leadership can use insights to make better decisions and become more effective in strategic markets. Streamlined, technology-enabled processes also help prevent mistakes that are prevalent in manual workflows, and thus, help prevent security and compliance issues.
These benefits make it hard to argue for the status quo of manual processes, and more organizations are opting to go digital—49% of decision-makers say becoming a digital business gives them the advantage of better managing business performance through data availability and visibility.
Just like with silos, payroll is a good example of where companies can improve outcomes through technology-enabled workflows.
Especially for global organizations, moving from manual payroll processes to a technology-based managed payroll solution not only provides valuable intelligence, but also gives the company a level of agility to be able to respond to the data and have a positive impact on the business’ strategic direction.
Address challenges with a careful approach to change management
Whether it’s finding ways to break down barriers across functional silos or modernizing manual processes, it’s important to remember that organizational change is never without challenges. It’s an often reported statistic that 70% of all organizational change projects fail.
But just because change isn’t easy doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.
The benefits that come from carefully planned, successful change almost always outweigh the barriers—real or perceived—facing the project.
First, any organizational change must have a purpose—and that purpose shouldn’t ever be, “change for the sake of change.” What are the current internal systems, infrastructure or processes that need improvement? Or what external forces will bring challenges to the organization that will require internal response?
In addition to a clearly defined purpose, there needs to be a careful plan for the organizational change, one that includes action steps and accountability for completing them. An important consideration in this planning stage is how communication across the business units, leadership and employees will be achieved.
Communication is important because employees not only will be affected, but they will also play a crucial role in any change program’s success.
And although the purpose and plan for change might seem obvious to a company’s leaders, if management is not clearly communicating them to employees, it’s hard to get organizational buy-in. Unfortunately, this is a common misstep, and nearly two-thirds of leaders aren’t openly sharing the challenges to the organization that are prompting the change.
In the case of payroll, where we’ve already discussed the overlap between HR and finance data and departments, and how a technology-enabled solution can improve outcomes, there’s also a strong requirement for careful change management. Especially in cases where there is friction between HR and finance teams, a clearly communicated change strategy could also help promote buy-in and collaboration between the two.
Yes, the organization can see significant gains from changes to the global payroll function, but if they are not executed properly, there’s risk: of errors, of noncompliance, and worst of all, of employees not being paid correctly or on time. Communication and support from all involved, as well as defined checks and processes, are critical.
Look to payroll as you prioritize processes to streamline
As the examples show, payroll is an area ripe for opportunity when it comes to streamlining business processes at multinational organizations. A streamlined global payroll solution can ease the friction between HR and finance silos and their data and can remove the risks involved with manual payroll processes.
And perhaps most importantly, streamlined global payroll can provide comprehensive data and reporting insights about workforce spend to better inform strategic business decisions.
To learn more about the advantages of a global payroll solution, including compliance across borders, integration with HCM software and improved processes and at multinational organizations, contact us now.