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how you can become more strategic and productive

Attention HR & payroll managers: learn how you can become more strategic and productive

from  January 25, 2021 | 5 min read

Many Human Resources (HR) practitioners consider their role a balancing act.

They often divide their time between work that can add value to their business, and work that needs to be done. Payroll management is one of these ‘administrative needs’.

Unfortunately, the reality is more time is spent on administrative duties, such as filing paperwork, manually encoding data into systems, and calculating employee hours, rather than driving strategic HR initiatives such as employee retention, development, and engagement activities. HR professionals spend more of their time chasing managers for internal approval applications related to payroll.

This takes away precious time from HR professionals to take on strategic, value-added tasks, such as engaging the workforce or initiating capacity-building workshops. Not to mention, this way of working is prone to human error, which is a significant business risk considering payroll involves a lot of sensitive employee information.

Data breaches involving salary, national Identity numbers, and other sensitive data can be dangerous if they get into the wrong hands. This may expose the company to significant financial and reputational risks if they have breached statutory privacy laws.

In countries such as Singapore and Malaysia where overworking is rampant and employee turnover rates are among the highest in Asia Pacific, payroll management software is essential in automating core, non-essential tasks and optimizing HR managers’ roles within the company to add strategic benefits.

Here are some of the hidden benefits of an enterprise-class payroll software system:

Cultivate trust and reflect a positive company image

Happy employees are key to running a productive business. And one of the fastest ways to cultivate dissatisfaction and mistrust in the workplace is to pay your employees late or pay them incorrectly.

Consistently late or incorrect payments are sure to make employees doubtful about the financial and ethical state of your business, leading them to feel panicked or undervalued. Worryingly, many employers don’t fully grasp that it’s also illegal.

Under Singapore’s Employment Act, employers must pay their employees at least once a month and within seven days after the end of the salary period. Malaysia has a similar stipulation under the Employment Act 1995.
Failure to comply with these obligations can result in serious legal action against the company.

And yet, lapses in salary payments persist. From 2017 to 2018, there were over 15,000 salary claims in Singapore with two-thirds being resolved through private settlements and the other third making its way to court. In Malaysia, many employees still complain in public forums about late salary payments.

Whether it’s an issue of cash flow or simply an “oversight”, companies that habitually pay their employees late will have lower employee morale, higher attrition, and their own reputation as a business will suffer significantly. They also put their employees in a tight spot financially.

A majority of these payroll issues can be mitigated through automation. Automation helps ensure employees are paid on time—and that they’re paid the right amount every time. Payroll software automatically calculates salary deductions from unpaid leaves or additions from overtime work and accurately reflects these numbers in an employee’s monthly salary.

Encourage more strategic decision-making

Through real-time data gathering and report generation, payroll software can accurately support  strategic business decisions.

HR professionals can get an overview of the company’s pay rates and use that as a basis to craft competitive pay structures, based on the employees who are overperforming and those who need a little more nudging.

Benefits, for example, is an area with room for improvement.

A poll conducted by ST Jobs, as reported by Singapore Business Review, revealed that 43% of Singaporeans are content with their present employee package, but feel like the benefits could be more aligned with what they actually want. While annual leaves and medical care are all well and good, they’re also looking for benefits like subsidized trips and activities and individual performance bonuses.

Malaysians, on the other hand, are the most dissatisfied with their current compensation packages in Asia. The recent Hays Asia Salary Guide, as reported by the Global Recruiter, revealed that Malaysians prioritize a higher pay, but also seek benefits that can help encourage work-life-balance.

Payroll software can help address these gaps by determining potential costs for various benefits and helping HR managers see how they can fit into the company’s overall budget. Plus, it will make it easier for HR managers to coordinate salary increases, bonus payments, and benefit deductions when they’re due.

Enable HR to focus on strategic initiatives

Traditionally seen as an administrative function, HR managers are increasingly being recognized for their strategic importance to their business.

HR practitioners are increasingly being seen as “business partners”. While none of HR’s prior responsibilities will go away, payroll technology, among other innovations, has made it possible for HR managers to rewrite the rules. Now, they have the space to redesign talent management programs as well as people development and succession planning to build a compelling employee experience all around.

A report by Forrester showed that 57% of companies felt that automation has helped them better engage their employees, thanks to the newfound time and resources they can now put to better use.

Singapore and Malaysia are home to two of the most overworked populations in the world. Singaporeans take an average of just 14 days of leave per year, and Kuala Lumpur brings in the longest average number of hours worked per week at 46 hours.

HR can do a lot to transform some of the practices in these cities to create work environments that offer more balanced and more productive spaces.

The benefits of digitalization run deep

According to Gartner, only 29% of employees believe HR helps them perform better. But many business leaders believe that digitalizing HR is the top-priority initiative to increase innovation and productivity across the entire organization.

At the end of the day, we all have to head down the path of digital transformation. Investing in a reliable payroll software is necessary for businesses—if not for the increased efficiency and cost-effectiveness that comes with automation, then for the future of work as we know it.

Payroll software has the ability to create a more transparent and trustworthy environment, encouraging better decision-making, and aligning with sustainability goals. The HR practice continues to transform, and payroll software can help it.


Unit4 Prosoft

Unit4 Prosoft have been serving customers in Asia for 30 years and is trusted by over 1,000 businesses across the APAC region in the manufacturing, healthcare, retail, construction, and professional services industries. Unit4 Prosoft HRMS has modules that support every aspect of your HRMS programs and allows you to manage people’s entire hire-to-retire cycle with a central control center and database. Your people get the flexibility and freedom to have what they need—how, when and where they need it.