September 22, 2017

Going Global With Payroll: What Guardian Industries Learned

Paul Landgraf

Paul is the Director of Projects at Guardian Industries, a leading manufacturer of float glass, mirror, and automotive supplies, employing 18,000 worldwide.

In the last few years, and as businesses scale and expand, I have noticed a spike in conversations around going global, and the challenges involved with that process. It is indeed challenging to manage complexities across an organization while attempting to grow your market share in other regions. We recently undertook a big organizational shift to globalize our payroll processes. We learned many things through this process, and here are my two key takeaways.

Streamlining your systems means you can be more strategic

Picture this: Guardian had 17 different payroll systems in 19 countries, just a tremendously fragmented approach to payroll. Within the business, this meant that there was a lack of consolidated financial data, as well as lack of visibility and control.

As well, our infrastructure wasn’t built to support growth. Our system functionality was limited; maintenance of locally hosted systems was inefficient and not standardized; and compliance was assumed and left to individual locations.

From a time and attendance perspective, we were using paper timesheets and timecards, managing spreadsheets around the world. I wouldn’t call it abuse, exactly, but manual entry from paper timesheets wastes time and increases the likelihood of incorrect or inaccurate tracking – all at a financial cost to the business.

A global system of record with a single user experience, along with a real-time view of our data, has been game-changing – both from a control and financial savings perspective. Consolidating our processes has made us a more standardized and efficient business.

Increased visibility also allows us to make data-driven, strategic decisions about labor. For example, we can now forecast five years into the future and shift our approach from managing headcount to managing FTEs, which is a change from a business ops perspective, and something we previously wouldn’t have been able to do.

Learn how Dayforce ConnectedPay streamlines international payroll processing

Prepare your workforce for change

It’s extremely important to set expectations for your global implementations within the organization. Your regional leadership needs to be aligned on priorities, and be able to commit the local resources required. They need to know what’s coming and what to expect. For example, people may have different ideas about how the new system is going to work; they may expect that it is going to exactly match the legacy system you’re currently working with. So, communicate clear outcomes – for example, “Our goal is a guarantee of accurate and timely payroll.”

Building on that, understand that payroll is not only an operational issue; it’s an emotional issue. Payroll affects every single employee and it is not relegated to HR and finance. Every single person checks their pay slip. A fundamental shift in the way people get paid shouldn’t be treated like a side or background system or project. The Ceridian mobile app has been a tremendous way for every employee to touch and experience Ceridian Dayforce personally.

Interested in hearing more lessons and learnings from Guardian's global implementation experience? Check out Going Global with HCM at INSIGHTS 2017 to continue to the discussion.

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