What a crazy 18 months it's been for payroll!
Since March 2021, businesses and payroll providers have scrambled to adapt to the almost daily legislative changes against a backdrop of pandemic-driven uncertainty. And yet...payroll staff persisted.. ..ensuring that payroll continued unabated and workers got paid on time.
Heroic and Sisyphean, to say the least!
These were the heroes we wanted to hear about and celebrate during National Payroll Week - at a time when payroll is celebrated and recognised. So we launched the Payroll Superstar of the Year awards as a way to publicly recognise and reward those who went above and beyond the call of duty during this unprecedented time.
Entrants were encouraged to nominate a friend, colleague, peer (or themselves!) into one, or all, of the following categories:
1. Payroll Technology superstar
2. Payroll Change Management superstar
3. Payroll Furlough superstar
4. Payroll Above & Beyond superstar
5. Payroll Influencer superstar
Suffice it to say, it was a close competition and therefore very difficult to choose winners. As a result, one category - the Above & Beyond category - had two! Winners received a bottle of Moet champagne, and a 12-month Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) membership.
Here they are, with a brief synopsis of why each were the winners in their category:
1. Payroll Technology superstar - Rob Hamer, Regional Process Expert, Hilti
With a background working in data and data processing, Rob joined the payroll team at Hilti to improve the handling and quality of their data.
Without a formal background in payroll, Rob created and built a data management tool, saving the Hilti team around 20 hours per month checking the payroll provider’s data.
As a direct result of his input and expertise, the payroll team have saved significant time, ensured greater accuracy across processes, and solidified their team’s reputation throughout the organisation as one that is skilled and knowledgeable.
2. Payroll Change Management superstar - Adrian Axtell, Principal Consultant, i-Realise
During a year like no other, Adrian worked tirelessly to develop a strategic KPI model, after realising that unlike other business functions, i-Realise's payroll did not have a measurement tool for their large clients to gauge success and identify their strengths and weaknesses.
Adrian identified a need for a strategic measurement tool within the payroll and reward sector, securing the necessary buy-in for its development. The tool, called ‘PROCESS’ has been developed for the benefit of the payroll profession, and will greatly overhaul and improve payroll processes in both small and large firms.
Alongside other global payroll change projects that he’s overseen, Adrian’s development and rollout of this tool will facilitate better change for payroll and reward functions for many years to come.
3. Payroll Furlough superstar - Rachel Hey, Accounts & Tax Assistant, Hodgson Hey
During the height of the pandemic, Hodgson Hey's clients needed a lot of furlough support – all 200 of them, in fact! To provide this support, Rachael had to learn a new system while taking on the furlough claims and calculations for all 200 clients. She developed her knowledge around the furlough scheme in such a way that she was able to provide concise, easy to understand information to their clients about the scheme.
Taking sole responsibility for the furlough scheme freed up her colleagues to take on other important tasks and meet their other deadlines. Without Rachael’s help and commitment, furlough would have been an absolute nightmare for the team at Hodgson Hey.
4. Payroll Above & Beyond superstar(1) - Lindsay Walsh, Senior Payroll Advisor, EY
Lindsay took on full ownership of account coordination for a global client, which was her first experience in this area. Not only did she build a strong relationship with the client, but she did so with other EY teams across the globe.
Lindsay was also instrumental in getting the Payroll Book of Business project off the ground, which the team and Partners at EY have been able to fully utilise. Her role with EY began in January 2020, yet she wasted no time in owning technical pieces of work around the furlough scheme, which helped the firm navigate some very difficult circumstances during this time.
Her colleagues appreciate her for being dependable and positive, and for her continued hard work across the organisation.
4. Payroll Above & Beyond superstar(2) - Liz Beaven, HR Administrator, Banner
Liz returned to work in the middle of the pandemic after an 8-month hiatus supporting a poorly family member and recovering from a serious illness herself.
In her absence, Banner's payroll had doubled and become more complex - not to mention the addition of furlough! Liz got stuck right in right away- managing processes, educating colleagues, and ensuring everyone got paid on time.
When things outside her remit hit her desk, she persevered and went above the call of duty to get it all done. Without Liz’s commitment and resilience, her colleagues would have developed sleepless nights and suffered premature ageing!
5. Payroll Influencer superstar - Joanna Harris, Payroll Manager, BDO
Jo is an influential and encouraging team member at BDO, working hard to ensure processes are effective and involving the team in all business decisions. Her testing and project management of RPA payslip and report upload processes have improved efficiencies, saved time, and increased productivity across the team.
Jo’s influence has created a motivated, educated workforce that takes pride in their work. She is a role model and a driver of change within the organisation.
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