Our Payroll Services Director's tips to keep operations running smoothly

24 March 2020 - Reading time: 4 Minutes

Workforce Management

With so much uncertainty in the world, it’s good to keep a level head. We’re sharing tips and advice from the SD Worx team who are helping our customers during COVID-19. By sharing their experiences and challenges, we hope to inspire and help you through this time.

Paul Thickett is the Payroll Services Director for SD Worx offices delivering Managed Payroll Services in the UK and Ireland, as well in France, the Netherlands & Mauritius, and International Markets supported from Antwerp and Glasgow. Paul eats, sleeps and breathes payroll operations; he won’t sleep a wink if people aren’t getting paid. Paul’s job is to make sure our services are kept up and running, so that our customers’ employees continue to get paid. This is even more critical in the challenging times brought on by COVID-19.

Q: What’s your experience of business continuity? 

“I’ve been involved in testing business continuity plans for years; business continuity really means looking for what will cause an inconvenience or a major issue. For payrollers, even if one person doesn’t get paid it’s a major issue because we’re dealing with people’s livelihoods. In that respect everything we do is mission critical to keep our customers’ employees paid.

Once you’ve tested your products and solutions, checked your IT and proved that it can work outside normal circumstances, you must check in with your people. In my experience, people have a natural resilience in tough times, but they need to be encouraged and motivated from the outset. It’s no good suddenly trying to engage people during a crisis if you’ve previously ignored them, because they won’t respond.”

Q: What’s the most important part of business continuity?

“Our people. Although our systems are vital, without our people we wouldn’t be able to deliver the services to help our customers. A good business continuity plan looks after the people. Unfortunately, this element of business continuity often gets overlooked because the plans are all focused on systems but it’s just as important to look after your people, check in on them, keep on interacting normally and let them know how important they are to the business.

Many SD Worx staff already work remotely all over the world, whether they’re regular home workers or they are office based but choose flexitime, so we’re more prepared for this level of change compared to some companies. Our teams have learnt how to work collaboratively, but they’ve also grown individually and are happy to process payroll independently at home. Our homeworkers have helped us understand challenges, such as feeling isolated or lonely, and helped us come up with our own solutions to address these.

A solution that tracks information is useful during times like these, because having access to historic information helps you spot trends, identify challenges and ultimately allows you to plan for the future.”

Q: How can businesses help staff work remotely?

“Be more patient with employees; we’re all adapting to a new way of working. There’s lots of background noise, as people get used to taking conference calls in their home, and we’re seeing kids running into the room, or pets jumping up, but the really positive outcome is that colleagues are learning to be more understanding to these changing circumstances and ultimately that will lead to a stronger workforce. Businesses should try and adapt and think of the human element– this is a human challenge after all, so keep it human and the rest will come. We all need to work together.

My one piece of advice is to create a structure for your day, so you’re following a routine. Most payroll people work from lists, so stick to that. This will help you stay focused and motivated. And remember to take plenty of breaks and switch off at the end of the day.”

Q: What’s one thing you want our customers to know?

“That the staff at SD Worx really cares about continuing to deliver services to the best of our ability. We care about our customers’ people and getting things right for them. We are all human after all, and we want to do right by our customers and help their businesses succeed.”

Keep checking back for more #KeepItHuman interviews coming soon.

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