No country is truly an island. The purpose of payroll is universal, but often the application is unique. International organisations need payroll systems that can adapt across borders, whilst being nuanced to the varying compliance requirements, legislations, and privacy laws in the local market.

It’s no surprise that maintaining payroll that is compliant to each country’s laws can be challenging and confusing to say the least.

Choosing an outsourced payroll provider that has both global and local solutions is the answer to these challenges, but what are the tricks of the trade when it comes to achieving and maintaining successful global payroll? Here are the top five tips.

Put payroll in pole position        

Payroll is an important part of any organisation, and the data that HR and payroll departments gather is essential for wider business decisions. To help business leaders and employers understand the necessity of global payroll, these teams should emphasise the need for geographic consistency, visibility, and a combination of both global and local service levels. Putting together a clear business case, aimed squarely at board level, will help organisations reap the rewards.

Get digital

Digitalization is transforming HR and payroll departments at an impressive rate. Digital tools can help automate the manual and, let’s be honest, more mundane tasks.

During busy periods amending or entering data can be a time intensive affair. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) helps streamline the repetitive and data heavy tasks, working round the clock to manage payroll checks as well as detecting any data anomalies and opportunities for saving money and improving processes.

That doesn’t mean that the human aspect in HR will disappear, on the contrary: automation allows you to spend more time focusing on the need of your employees, helping them with complex tasks. Furthermore, it will help you improve efficiency – boosting your business across all its markets.

Get to grips with GDPR

Every company that handles the data of EU citizens will be responsible for complying with the new GDPR guidelines by the end of May.

Under GDPR, companies are required to maintain a data register detailing why a company is processing specific data. Correctly managing this will ensure that both legal obligations and additional organisational information is included in the register and is available to HR and payroll teams.

Employees will have several new rights under GDPR, including the visibility of their data and right of erasure. HR and payroll professionals will need to understand the data rights of both their employees and clients to maintain compliance.

Think global, act local   

To be successful it is essential that HR and payroll teams understand both local and global needs, roles and expectations. The first step is to use local payroll services—operated by expert, in-country teams— alongside an overarching global service and governance.

Additionally, a global partnership between HR and payroll organisations is needed to ensure successful international payroll processes, as well as strong global service delivery. Analytics tools also enable organisations to identify in real time how regional HR departments are performing relative to each other, all through dynamic and simple reporting apps. Armed with this information, business can identify any issues quickly and ensure they’re corrected before any negative business impact occurs.

By thinking global and acting local, organisations can stay close to their customers with in-depth knowledge of the requirements and needs in each and every market.

Improve engagement

It may come as a shock, but payroll has a direct impact on employee engagement. Getting paid accurately and on-time is a basic expectation. If you get it right no one is likely to say thank you, but if you get it wrong it can have a major impact on your workforce’s view of your business. Due to social networking and employer review sites such as Glassdoor, any slip ups could also damage your long term employee brand.

The payroll team is therefore the front line of employee engagement, and not just responsible for simply paying employees each month.

A global payroll service can provide HR and payroll teams improved clarity over processes, a clear view of pay deductions and better integration with national tax and social security authorities. This helps build employee trust in the accuracy of payroll, contributing to a happier and more motivated workforce which can then have a major impact on your customer’s experience.

Going global

By partnering with a global provider, and taking the necessary steps to become and remain compliant, global payroll can be managed efficiently and effectively. This brings many direct business benefits such as cost savings, a clearer view of international HR and payroll via one single online dashboard, as well as a single point of contact for your customers.

With global legislations changing throughout 2018, HR and payroll departments will need systems that can cater to all these in real time and in one single view; helping the teams get on with doing what they do best, being the front line of employee engagement.