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10 Hats Worn by Payroll Professionals: Hat 3 — Gatekeeper of compliance

10 Hats Worn by Payroll Professionals: Hat 3 — Gatekeeper of compliance

This is part 3 in the 10-part series entitled 10 Hats Worn by Payroll Professionals. Click to read part 1 and part 2

In my previous article dealing with the issue of record keeping, I explained that payroll professionals have to ensure that employees in an organisation know where everything is kept. In this follow-on article, I highlight the importance of educating our employees and clients on the importance of compliance and its positive impact on the organisation when compliance is being met. It’s critical that everyone understands what their company’s standards of compliance are, and how they are to be held accountable towards fulfilling their role in maintaining high standards of compliance in the organisation.

In the company context—Compliance is two-fold

Business team present. Professional investor working new startup project. Finance meeting.

For starters: A popular online dictionary definition of the word ‘compliance’ (noun) reads as follows: “the action or fact of complying with a wish or command.”

As payroll professionals, before we demand that compliance be met, we must make sure that everyone understands what is to be complied with. In the company context, usually compliance is two-fold:

  1. Compliance with company laws and policies
  2. Compliance with company procedures

Educating the employee is key to getting everybody on the same page about all matters compliance-related. It’s best not to be reactive when it comes to training your staff about compliance.

Be proactive when it comes to compliance

When it comes to compliance, it’s a good idea to be proactive by going out of your way to keep your employees up to date. It is not good enough to merely rely on other people or departments to do this for you. In fact, consider adopting this motto: the education of your line managers and staff promotes high standards of compliance, leading to the reduction of deviation requests.

7 Suggestions to educate line managers and staff

Here are 7 suggestions to educate your line managers and staff on compliance-related matters:

  1. Training sessions: Training sessions do not have to be unduly long and drawn-out. Short, precise training sessions can be very effective. These can be arranged on a monthly basis or on an ad-hoc basis when there are changes—just to update line managers and staff. Teach your staff to complete documentation accurately and timeously. Line management and staff need to understand the consequences of non-compliance in the workplace.
  2. Booklets, flyers and notices: The company policy and procedure manual should be your primary guide. The payroll professional ought to take due responsibility by offering to assist with the writing and routine revision of important company policy and procedure documents. Publishing flyers that deal with critical aspects of compliance is an excellent way to generate awareness. Additionally, consider using infographics to visually communicate what levels of compliance are needed in key areas of an employee’s workplace. Similarly, example forms and screenshots are also a novel way of communicating compliance essentials too.
  3. One-on-one sessions: Sometimes it is very powerful to go and have a cup of coffee with the serial transgressors and try and understand why they cannot, or simply will not comply. Such sessions afford an ideal opportunity for you to explain the reasons underlying the need for workplace compliance and the consequences of non-compliance. Warn individuals that, in some cases, continuous non-compliance might lead to disciplinary action.
  4. Host a payroll webpage: nowadays creating a webpage is easy. It takes a few minutes and can easily be hosted on a company intranet or secure server. A payroll webpage affords your employees the chance to access information on demand, on an as-needed basis. Content that is well-suited to company payroll websites include how-to videos, easy-to-read PDFs and Policy & Procedure updates.
  5. Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media: Everybody has a cell phone and most people have access to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and a host of other popular social media tools. We need to use these social media apps to communicate—For example, WhatsApp groups work really well for specific information topics and smaller groups within an organisation. We can have a Twitter account that is there just to help your employees by providing them with specific answers to specific questions. Facebook can be used to create discussions and keep people informed. The more avenues you create for learning, the more easily you’ll able to educate your staff—and the natural outflow thereof is the certain improvement in compliance levels within your organisation.
  6. Publish a monthly newsletter: A monthly company newsletter (or merely a sub-section within an already existing company newsletter) dealing specifically with compliance-related issues and topics might also be a good idea.
  7. Remuneration contracts: Managing expectations goes a long way to fostering increased compliance in the organisation. Once a new set of conditions of employment has been agreed, it might be a good idea to print pro-forma payslips for signature by the employee. An updated contract should accompany this too.

In summary, be sure to educate and inform employees as best you can. This may well be the most productive and sustainable approach to foster lasting compliance with an organisation’s policies and procedures—which  in turn is bound to positively impact the organisation when compliance is being met by all.

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Previous articles in this series:

  1. 10 Hats Worn by Payroll Professionals: Hat 1 — The payroll professional as implementer of legislation
  2. 10 Hats Worn by Payroll Professionals: Hat 2 — The payroll professional as accurate keeper of records

Talk to Paymaster People Solutions to help you with understanding the management of compliance in your organisation. Paymaster already does this for more than 500 satisfied clients. Contact us today!

Ian Hurst

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