Paymaster Magazine

Hat 2 Why the payroll department should be appreciated

The interpreter of company  policy ( my heart says yes but my brain says no)

We need to understand the process. Government passes legislation (we implement that). Management agree company policy and create procedures to implement that policy.

It is the responsibility of the payroll department (among others) to bring those policies and procedures to life. We are the ones that take the rules and make them work. We do the explaining and the education. We do the implementing of the policy and making sure that the policy is adhered to. We say NO to the exceptions

From my many years of experience I can confidently say that I have felt the most pressurised when saying NO. Management understand we can’t break the law when it comes to payroll but they do think that in certain circumstances that it is ok bend company policy for a certain individuals. This is very difficult because their arguments can be so persuasive and they are management after all. The real issue here is once you have bent the rules once, it becomes easier and easier to bend the rules for other things. Have you noticed that it is more tempting to bend the rules for some employees and managers, while for others NO comes easily and quickly. We are unbiased aren’t we ?
I am trying to think of a example where bending the policies can be justified. I am finding it very difficult to come up with anything but here are two that may prove point.
* We can’t give the employee more leave , but we can approve leave and process the leave outside of policy.
* We can’t change the rule on advancing an employee money from next week’s salary, but we can bend that rule, depending on the circumstances.

Tell us about the time you bent the rule, or the time you stood firm. What happened.


How to avoid this:
1) let’s make sure we understand the policy that management wants implemented or managed. We are the people who interpret what needs to be done. So read it, talk it and make sure everyone in the department understands it. look for what could be the exception and work out in advance reasons why you can’t compromise.
2) Make sure that we all agree (including the management team) that there will be no exceptions. You need to know that you’re standing firm on this issue will be supported by Management.
3) Build up a reputation for sticking to the rules. While you need to be empathetic  to the issues, policy is policy, and the firmer you are, the less you will be challenged. You want to hear “don’t ask payroll to deviate from policy, they won’t do it ”
4) On the rare occasion you need to make an exception, be sure that is for a very good reason and only with managements authority. Be sure you have something in writing allowing you to deviate. You do not want to end up the scapegoat
5) Education, education, education is the key. Do everything you can to make sure line managers understand what the policy and procedures are. Use books, diagrams, videos and blogs to keep managers up to date. They need to become your friends, your first line of defence and your supporter when you implement policy.

ext week The gatekeeper of compliance (stand firm – it will be done the right way)

Adrian Baillie-Stewart

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.