Magazine article Personnel Journal

Integrate HRIS and Payroll

Magazine article Personnel Journal

Integrate HRIS and Payroll

Article excerpt

Territorial skirmishes have erupted sporadically throughout corporate America in the aftermath of the installation of integrated payroll and human resources computer-based HR systems. During the approximately four years since combined systems were embraced by human resources professionals, achieving full, smooth integration hasn't always been easy. The problem isn't with the technology; it's with the people.

Although the friction often is rooted in historical rivalries, perceptive executives can and have negotiated peaceful settlements through diplomatic initiatives. Some individuals who have succeeded say that management attitude, organizational culture and a strong commitment can set a positive tone for the introduction of any type of change.

Once senior management support is won, the functions involved can turn their attention to other issues that could hamper inter-departmental cooperation.

Representing a diverse range of American business, Cushman & Wakefeld, Payco American Corp., Jefferson Pilot Communications, Homeowners Federal Savings Rank and Standard Motors Products found similar successful strategies for integrating departmental data. There was common ground, in solutions to common problems and in the issues they chose to address -- human and functional behind human resources and payroll integration.

For most of them, identifying responsibilities for each task performed was at the top of the list. One potential obstacle hindering the logical distribution of responsibilities is related to system use, All five companies have local area networks (LANs), a factor in the integration process that gives them greater flexibility for distributing the work load.

Because data-entry responsibilities for a human resources management system can be divided among multiple departments through LANs, control has become a less important issue.

A few of the people interviewed, however, have observed that when the two departments share a single copy of software, one (depending on which group initiated the drive to purchase) will have limited access, less time to enter data and, ultimately, less control. Beyond the potential physical limitations imposed, payroll departments in most of the companies featured initially resisted integration because they feared either a loss or an increase in work load and responsibility.

For Cushman and Wakefeld, a nation-wide business real estate firm based in New York City, identifying responsibilities was and still is an evolving process. Carolyn Sessa, assistant vice president and corporate manager of benefits and compensation, says, "Human resources shouldn't accept responsibility for paying people and that include those who enter the data for W-4 information. On the other hand, I don't want payroll to handle birth dates."

Shifting responsibilities could mean job changes, better use of clerical and professional staff and job consolidation. As a result of installing an integrated payroll/ human resources system, the national accounts receivable management company, Payco American Corp., headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin, will be able to assign two data processing professionals to other business areas that need systems and programming assistance.

Pete Pugal, vice president of human resources for the company, explained that integration streamlines the information handling for three departments: payroll, human resources and data processing. "Under consideration is assisting payroll and the responsibility for auditing and transmitting the payroll, while set-up and input duties will be handled by the human resources staff. It will result in more work for the human resources department, but the benefits to the corporation outweigh the work load," says Pugal.

The reassignment of duties allows greater efficienty and operating effectiveness for payroll, human resources and data processing. Although the new system may require employee transfers, management wholeheartedly agrees that staff size is far less important than improving the quality of service performed by the departments. …

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