Do you recruit for skills or character?
The payroll industry is fundamentally no different to any other in that success is typically delivered relevant to the quality of the individuals providing a service. As such, attracting and retaining the right people is critical. The job market has changed significantly over the last twenty years and the pace of change continues to be even faster. People displaying the right attitude and aptitude is appearing to be more important than those with just job skills and experience.
Customer & supplier relationships
The relationship between a customer and a supplier looks very different to how it has in the past, expectations of service continue to be higher and the relationship needs to be ever closer and stronger. Historically, in an outsourcing business the relationship was much of the customer/supplier style, however it is becoming more important for the supplier to understand the challenges facing their customers and working with them to provide services to meet those challenges.
Performing in a B2B environment is no longer, on its own, sufficient. The needs of the customer’s employees have become front and centre of the service provider’s thinking and this requires them to operate more in terms of a B2C relationship. Understanding that the employees of the customer are the ultimate recipients of the service drives a different behaviour, and knowing that paying them incorrectly could severely impact them on a personal level to help create a new level of focus.
What SD Worx is doing
SD Worx have started to think about recruitment in a different way. The introduction of a Trainee Payroll Executive (TPE) role has allowed the business to hire based on individual attitudes and the desire to learn. The skills required to run a payroll, whilst critically important, can be taught over time. However, changing behaviours and being considerate of the needs of a customers is much more difficult. The TPE is supported by a fully developed training plan with measurable objectives assessed at regular intervals. The two-year training plan allows the individual and their manager to monitor progress. Regular milestones allow the progression through the training plan with financial rewards being awarded six monthly if appropriate. On successful completion of the training plan, the TPE is fully competent and is promoted into the role of a full Payroll Executive (PE).
The scheme has been running for several years now and has been a huge success. Progression and retention of trainees has been high which helps the business from a cost of recruitment point of view and from a colleague morale aspect. Many of the original trainees have progressed to Payroll Executives with quite a number going further and taking on different roles in the business in either our Consultancy or Sales/Solutions divisions.
It is crucial to interview with attitude in mind rather than just payroll skills, developing and following a well-structured training plan allows for monitoring progress and enables the colleague to remain enthusiastic and motivated. The business has identified many benefits from this approach and would recommend others to consider a similar way forward.