How to maintain efficient payroll in unstable times

How to maintain efficient payroll in unstable times

The repercussions of the coronavirus outbreak are testing every area of business, and payroll could be no exception if the spread continues.

Employees need to rely on being paid consistently without delay – and this is particularly vital for morale during volatile or unforeseen situations.  

The smooth management of payroll is essential to keep a workforce operational, upbeat and motivated throughout a potential crisis.  

Those responsible for maintaining this function can take advice from MHR’s Payroll Manager Kelly Pygott. MHR’s experience and expertise in payroll is unparalleled as an HR and payroll provider processing hundreds of thousands of payments throughout the UK and around the globe every day, being at the forefront of payroll technology for over 36 years.

Kelly’s top tips for payroll managers during the changing circumstances brought about by the current epidemic include:

  1. Ensure your organisation’s business continuity plan covers payroll and is up to date, with payroll processing guidance notes made available for all members of the payroll team. This will allow them to pick up any task as and when required.
  2. Prepare as much of the workload as early in the month as possible. This will reduce the amount of data processing during the busiest period within a month. This could mean preparing a “ready to go” data file that can be moved to a 3rd party if required. This could be based on the last payroll run, whilst not absolutely accurate could be a part of your contingency plan.
  3. Hold daily update meetings to ascertain workloads that are due to come in, and assign team members to assist with each piece of work
  4. Communicate to the wider business what is required of them. The payroll department is reliant on other departments to ensure they submit expense and overtime data within the cut off period. Clear communications about when these dates fall is key to employees, and if individuals understand they have missed deadlines this will reduce the number of queries on pay day.
  5. Stay calm and focused. The payroll department can be a fast-moving environment on a month by month, and sometimes week by week basis. Having a plan in place that is constantly reviewed will reduce the tension within the team during this time.
  6. Speak to an expert like MHR to help you with creating your contingency payroll plans.

Kelly has more than 18 years’ experience running payrolls at MHR – an organisation whose expertise in HR and payroll is unrivalled. For information about transforming payroll processes with both outsourced and hosted cutting-edge software visit

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