People & Leadership

How to manage HR, payroll and employee benefits processes with ease

In a competitive job market, creating a great employee experience is key. Discover how to do this and see how software can help you succeed.

In a competitive job market, offering a great employee experience—powered by effective and modern HR and payroll processes—will give your business a great opportunity to win and retain the best talent.

Not only will that result in a happy workforce, it will mean you also have an effective and productive one.

When it comes to that employee experience, offering candidates a high salary and a wealth of benefits might spring to mind, especially when it comes to competing with larger organisations.

But you’ll find that actually, employees are looking for a workplace where they can do their best work, be supported, get paid on time and have the autonomy (and flexibility) to succeed.

And nowadays, when it comes to employee benefits, there are opportunities for smaller businesses to offer great packages that attract (and retain) talent.

So just how can you manage your HR, payroll and employee benefits processes with ease in order to offer a great employee experience? Read on to find out.

Here’s what we cover:

The basics—calculate payroll and pensions accurately

Good HR processes can result in a productive workforce

Offering employee benefits can support your people

Why getting HR, payroll and benefits right can result in a great employee experience

How HR and payroll software can help employers

6 tips for creating a great employee experience

Final thoughts on creating an engaged workforce

The basics—calculate payroll and pensions accurately

Let’s begin with the basics.

Your business must get benefits right when providing them through HR and payroll processes.

Let’s talk about a benefit you must give all employees by law—pension contributions.

Ever since the UK government introduced auto-enrolment in 2012, you have to offer workplace pensions and contribute to a pension pot, even if you only have one employee.

Currently, your minimum employer contribution is 3%, while employees must contribute 5%, which equals a minimum pension contribution of 8%.

That varies depending on the pension schemes used or tax relief applied.

Getting pension contributions right is just as important as paying your employees accurately and on time. Get it wrong and you’ll leave employees short, and your business could possibly get fined.

Cloud payroll software can help you make the correct calculations and allocate the right money for salaries.

But pensions can be complicated.

Therefore, there’s no shame in looking for outside help in the form of an accountant or payroll expert, who has expertise in managing payroll and pensions and can help you comply with any necessary rules.

Good HR processes can result in a productive workforce

While managing payroll and pensions properly is a minimum requirement, it’ll undoubtedly help if you can make HR interactions a pleasure rather than a chore.

Cloud HR and payroll software can benefit your business by showing you real-time, comprehensive insights into your workforce.

This will put you and your team into a stronger position to improve productivity by offering relevant employee engagement and satisfaction tactics (think getting feedback from your employees and actioning changes—while also communicating on them).

Remember, those managing your people processes (it might be you, an HR manager, or you may have an HR team in place) have a central role in driving workplace productivity.

Your business can offer the best technology and tools in the world, but you won’t make the best out of them if you don’t have productive humans at the core.

The business’s ability to succeed will depend on the ability of your people to execute strategy, plans and processes.

They will bring your vision to life with their talent and skills.

Ultimately, productive employees are happy in their job—and it’s essential to recognise the role of a decent rewards package.

Offering employee benefits can support your people

Employee benefits could prove the deciding factor in tough negotiations.

Now’s the time to take stock of what your business offers and compare it to your competitors.

Sure, you may have tight budgets to play with.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t offer competitive benefit packages that will keep your people happy, motivated and loyal.

Scour your competitors’ job postings to learn more about the kinds of perks and benefits they offer.

Remember, many employees now are or want to work remotely. Today, you’ll need to think ‘outside the office’ when choosing new employee benefits.

It’s essential to focus on what matters.

We’re past the days when employees saw ping-pong tables and Friday drinks after work as perks.

Consider what your employees need to make their jobs easier and their lives more enriched working for you.

Think about benefits such as:

  • A hybrid or remote working business model
  • Childcare support
  • Longer annual leave entitlement
  • Paid sabbaticals
  • More investment in development and skills training
  • Health insurance and on-demand GPs
  • Commuting and wellness benefits such as the Cycle to Work scheme, discounted gym memberships and counselling sessions.

Why getting HR, payroll and benefits right can result in a great employee experience

As you can see, offering a great employee experience involves getting a series of processes to work in tandem.

If you can pay your people on time, support them so they can perform well in their roles, provide the right working experience so they can thrive and offer a series of benefits that can help them, your employees will have the space to help your business succeed.

Imagine you get some of these things wrong or don’t provide the support your employees need. For example, your employees:

  • Are paid late
  • Receive the incorrect salary
  • Can’t fulfil childcare duties (such as pick their kids up from school) because there’s no flexible working opportunities
  • Aren’t getting regular feedback with their work performance then get frustrated that there aren’t any promotion opportunities at annual review time
  • Can’t easily update their HR records with their new address as they’ve recently moved house
  • Are struggling with their mental health and don’t have easy access to a counsellor.

This all equates to a poor employee experience and could see some of your people leaving for pastures new.

Getting your HR, payroll and benefits processes right will help you provide your people with that great employee experience.

And it’ll also work as a great tactic for encouraging new talent to join your ranks.

How HR and payroll software can help employers

There’s no ignoring the fact technology plays a big part in getting your employee experience right.

Take cloud payroll software, for example.

By using this, you can ensure your pay run happens smoothly and your employees get paid on time. What more, your employees can securely access their payslips and P60s via an online portal or a mobile app.

Plus, if you use HMRC-compliant software, you can ensure you’re complying with new and existing legislation.

When it comes to managing your people processes, using cloud HR software means you can do so with ease.

Rather than using different systems, multiple apps and tiresome manual processes such as paper and spreadsheets, you can use the software to make good business decisions, track progress, and benefit from insights into the workforce and performance.

And if your employees need to access health, dental and pension documents, for example, they can get it quickly and easily, via a laptop, desktop or an HR mobile app.

Self-serving employees results in you saving time—time that can be spent on creating great employee experiences and adding more value for the business.

After all, your employees can serve themselves in their day-to-day interactions with businesses in their personal lives (think online banking and shopping), so why not allow them to do the same with you?

6 tips for creating a great employee experience

Want to deliver a great employee experience to your people? Here are some things to put into practice.

1. Make onboarding memorable and useful

Make a great first impression and you’ll provide a positive experience for new starters. That could make a big difference in them staying long term.

You hired people for their skills, but they might need fine-tuning before settling. Effective training is a critical factor in successful onboarding, so put the time in to deliver it.

Integrate new employees with the team—this is especially important if they work remotely.

Set up sessions (in person or online) for new starters to meet and get to know their new teammates.

As well as helping them become part of the team, this will allow them to better understanding the business—around its vision, goals and dynamics.

2. Connect with tailored communications

Look closely at how you communicate with your employees and check whether your messages are hitting home.

Experiment with personalisation and language for online portal and email communication, while you could try videos or interactive gamification to get more engagement, too.

3. Support employees out of the office

Employees working remotely (either full time or in a hybrid working capacity) need the right technology and collaboration tools to do their jobs successfully.

Also, ensure they have access to regular two-way communication channels, so they can easily get in touch or raise any issues if they occur.

4. Develop your people

You need more than annual appraisals to get the best out of your people. Continuous performance processes and conversations tailored for each employee go a long way.

Create space and structure for regular and ad hoc reviews, match individual goals to broader company objectives, and track employee performance to link comprehensive succession and reward planning.

Help your employees recognise their peers for good work by using a portal or online recognition board (or by dedicating time in team meetings).

5. Listen, understand and respond to your people

Listen to your people and look at where you can acquire more personal, emotional and real-time feedback.

Act on the information and keep your employees updated on how you’ve resolved any highlighted problems.

6. Use employee data to drive decisions

You might know the business, but gut and intuition aren’t always right in understanding what makes employees tick.

Data is your friend.

Dig down into the numbers, look at employee data and use that to make intelligent decisions.

Final thoughts on creating an engaged workforce

Providing powerful market-leading benefits alongside a great employee experience will reward you through higher performance and productivity, and commitment beyond the call of duty.

The result will be an engaged workforce who get health, happiness, and the fulfilment only good work can bring.