The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

Why Payroll Hates HR

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Generally, I find that any time payroll reports to Finance and not HR, there is a pretty strained relationship.  After all, these are organizations that work closely together because of their relationship with the employee data, but these are organizations that have a very different focus for their core jobs.

HR likes to be service oriented.  This is a nice spin on “HR doesn’t understand why payroll couldn’t get an entry in after the gross to net has been executed.”  One of the main points of contention here is that payroll is extraordinarily schedule driven.  If you want a paycheck on Friday, you better have run payroll gross to net by Tuesday or Wednesday.  That means you better have all the pay data from timekeeping in by say Friday, and all employee transactions should be complete at about that time as well.  You see, HR doesn’t get that there is this thing call control totals and balancing the numbers.  If this doesn’t happen, at the end of the week, they are just going to have more work trying to figure out what went wrong, and then cutting manual checks to correct everything that was an error because they decided to do things in a hurry.

HR doesn’t understand all the data hooks that need to happen for payroll to work.  In some systems, putting the employee in a terminated status code does not necessarily mean that the employee is terminated in payroll.  So 3 years later, when you want to get all upset with payroll that they have been direct depositing $2K into the non-employee’s checking account every other week, remember that you were the one on to follow the payroll processing handbook they gave you 4 years ago.  It’s sort of like when the employee gets mad at payroll when they don’t have the right vacation accrual balance, but nobody ever told payroll that the employee had become a manager.  All too often, HR conveniently forgot to send the paper “downstairs.”

The real core of the problem is that payroll lives in a pretty high stress environment.  They are cranking numbers all day, and the only time they ever hear anything from an employee or manager is when they paycheck has gone mightily wrong somewhere.  These are not usually good phone calls.  Payroll knows that many of these problems can be quite easily fixed if the communication between HR and payroll were just a bit better.  However, HR doesn’t see payroll as a priority.  Rightly so, payroll is a commodity transaction, and we in HR see ourselves as strategic.

Whether or not this is all true is rather unimportant.  What is true is that this continuously strained relationship doesn’t need to be so.  At the end of the day, payroll controls the largest expense in the company.  At the end of the day, the quality of payroll does more to engage or dissatisfy employees than anything we in HR do.  Our overall effectiveness can be brought all the way down the more contentious our relationship is with payroll, so spend some time and fix it.  Payroll and HR hating each other has gone on for just too long.

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2 responses to “Why Payroll Hates HR”

  1. to a strained relationship between payroll and HR. Payroll feels HR doesn’t doesn’t understand that they need to get the data in soon enough for the payroll run; HR feels payroll doesn’t understand how much data they’re dealing with. systematicHR also wrote

  2. Why Payroll Hates HR Extraits choisis : (…) Payroll sait que beaucoup de problèmes seront réglés si la communication entre HR et Payroll fonctionne un peu mieux. Cependant HR ne voit pas Payroll comme un priorité. Payroll est une commodité et HR se voit comme