Whether you’re transitioning between payroll providers, scaling up, or moving from an in-house to outsourced payroll model, payroll change management is essential.
In a world where change is the only constant thanks to rapid advances in technology, the ability to manage change within your organisation is not only ideal, but necessary.
Imagine restructuring your organisation with no standardised communication and no roadmap. What is the likely outcome? Chaos and confusion are our bet.
So if you’re frustrated with your current payroll system or service and are desperate for something better, make sure you chart a roadmap before plunging your business headfirst into change.
What is Change Management?
Change management refers to a strategic and structured approach toward transitioning an organisation from its current state to a desired future state, often in alignment with business goals.
Some aspects of the business that may be affected by change are processes, systems, policies, job roles and organisational structure.
Before you implement change in your business, some fundamental things to find out are who this change is going to affect and how.
The Process of Change
This eight-step method for managing change outlined by Harvard Business School’s Professor John Kotter provides a good jumping-off point to kick start your change management journey.
- Create a Sense of Urgency – Provide impetus to get buy-in from internal and/or external stakeholders by demonstrating that there is a pressing need for this change. Highlight opportunities that come with the proposed change.
- Build a Coalition – Seek out influential people in your company to be part of your transition team. Think outside of the traditional company hierarchy too. Gina the receptionist –through whom news spreads fast – could be the perfect addition to your team.
- Create a Vision for Change – Define the scope of change, and clarify how the future will be different from the past. Develop a short summary of it before communicating it to your coalition. Make sure they understand this vision and that any confusion is resolved.
- Enlist a Volunteer Army – It’s time to communicate your vision beyond your coalition team to convince key stakeholders to buy in and come on board for this change journey.
- Remove Barriers to Action – Identify barriers that prevent cooperation among teams for the benefit of the project. Recognise and reward people for being proactive about fulfilling this new vision.
- Create Short-term Wins – Create short term targets that are achievable to motivate people to stay on board. These small early wins deter naysayers from derailing progress too.
- Sustain Acceleration – Now that you’ve had a few wins, don’t lose focus. Leverage your momentum to tackle the next phases of your change project instead.
- Anchor the Change in Company Culture – Institute the change and reiterate it until it replaces old habits and processes. Remember, it takes a while for every member in your organisation to adjust to change.
The above model provides a sound framework for change within an organisation, which can definitely be applied to payroll change management.
Keep in mind that your payroll provider is a partner in the change process too and should be included in your change management strategy early on when you are building your coalition team.
If your payroll partner has been in the industry for a while, even better. They would also have a wealth of knowledge and tips for you to leverage on, especially from an implementation perspective.
Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits all approach to how change should be implemented in your organisation. Kotter provides a useful structure to follow, but it is up to you and your dream team to fill in the blanks.