Survey exposes divisions between HR and payroll

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Tensions between HR and payroll managers are affecting the operations of a fifth of UK businesses, according to HR software house Snowdrop.

The study, which questioned 345 managers found, that 61% of payroll professionals thought HR did not provide accurate information and 54% said HR did not keep them in the loop.

A third of the payroll managers thought HR was too slow in responding to their requests, and the same proportion felt that HR did value their role.

Warning that UK businesses could lose out if these core functions refuse to collaborate, Snowdrop chief executive Michael Richards commented: "Our research findings show that there are still a number of areas of concern within HR and payroll's relationship. Significant disparities in the way they see one another and the indication of prevailing discontent, particularly from payroll, should be a warning that if they do not work on their relationship in the right way, niggling problems could escalate."

The survey came up with a number of illuminating responses, including:

  • HR is happy with its relationship with payroll - but payroll is not.
  • Nearly a quarter agree there is tension between the departments.
  • 86% of HR think payroll always gives accurate information.
  • The majority of respondents believe the departments need to work more closely (96% payroll, 85% HR), yet over half do not have integrated software: 56% payroll, 50% HR
  • More than a quarter (28%) of HR professionals think payroll should use its initiative more.

    Despite the reported tensions, HR and Payroll found each other easy to get on with (88% Payroll, 90% HR) and valued the other team highly (84% Payroll, 91% HR). While problems clearly exist which need to be overcome, the relationship between them has strong foundations that can be built upon.

    Richards commented that organisational and software changes made it likely that the the two functions had to consider the possibility of linking with each another in the future.

    "It is no longer about simply getting on well together; proper consolidation of information and a more unified approach needs to happen so that both teams can make a more significant contribution to the company as a whole," he said.

    "HR and Payroll teams should take heart that the problems they are experiencing are not so fundamental that they cannot be overcome. They are specific business concerns that can be tackled through a realistic assessment of why these problems exist and how best to address them."

    The full Snowdrop survey report, The HR and Payroll Divide can be downloaded from HR Zone's Document Library.

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