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When it comes to Big Data for HR, payroll is massively undervalued

  • The benefits of digital transformation in HR came into sharp focus during the pandemic. What was once seen as a purely functional part of an organisation dominated by paperwork (albeit mostly in a digital form) and manual processes is now revealed to be a vital resource in the battle to find, keep, and nurture its most precious resource, people.

    Of course, that last sentiment is a cliché. But like most clichés it denotes deep truth: no organisation can flourish if its people do not feel supported, engaged, or valued. HR has been using digital technologies and tools for a number of years to free its professionals from repetitive, manual tasks, so they can focus on the ‘human’ in HR.

    But what is being missed, perhaps, is the other side of the coin: the fact that HR deals with enormous amounts of valuable data. And the one place where most of that data resides is on the payroll. As we digitalise payroll so that it’s more efficient, secure, and accurate (cutting error rates substantially), we’ve been able to get closer to the people on that payroll (including everyone in HR, of course).

    Fujitsu NI Client Director, David Clements discusses the role Fujitsu has in helping digitally transform HR services in Northern Ireland.

    ‘Fujitsu works closely for example with the Northern Ireland Civil Service to deliver HR services, including payroll to 20,000+ civil servants. Throughout the pandemic, we also helped ensure the recruitment process was maintained, using remote technologies and virtual interview processes through secure networks to ensure continuation of operations across the various teams.’

    In the recent Fujitsu Insight Guide the importance of payroll to HR is discussed, and how organisations can make the most of digital tools and cloud-based processes including automation via Oracle Payroll but there’s one area that deserves more focus, the opportunity to leverage the power of payroll data to not only keep all staff happy as they get paid the right amounts each month, but also to drive the effort to close both the gender and ethnic pay gaps.

    Through the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the UK government requires all organisations including in the public sector to report gender pay gap data. Payroll data plus employment and personnel records make up the bulk of that data. Naturally, the crucial data comes from the payslips.

    The ethnicity pay gap isn’t a formal requirement – yet, though many organisations however consider it good practice to reveal the data voluntarily and use this to drive activities and initiatives.

    Whether the law demands it or not, making the most of this rich resource of data is valuable. Not only can organisations understand who gets paid what and why, they can also see where inherent biases are at play. That could be in hiring practices, or assumptions regarding which kinds of people will – and can – do certain jobs. Data can reveal unconscious bias in all kinds of situations and once you know it’s there you can do something to correct it.

    That’s why payroll data is such a valuable resource; when it comes to unlocking new sources of talent, supporting existing employees to do their best and reach their full potential, payroll data is the key to seeing through the numbers to the real people behind them.

    So, payroll data helps you drive strategy, innovation, diversity, and inclusion and open up opportunities for all. That’s the kind of information every organisation is after. Now, you can use payroll to find it.

    Visit the Fujitsu blog for more insight about digital transformation in HR from Sarah Wadsworth.  

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