May 12, 2020

Payroll delivery: Five ways to modernize your approach

The last few months have revealed opportunities for companies to adjust their processes and practices in order to minimize business disruption, adhere to health and safety guidelines, and better support a distributed or remote workforce. Here’s how streamlining your payroll printing and delivery strategy fits in.

As the world adjusts to a new standard, organizations have had to continuously evaluate how they can help promote health and safety for themselves and their employees.

In this time, minimizing the contact between people is of utmost importance, and any actions that can be taken to uphold that can have a positive influence on both your organization, and the communities in which you live and work.

Even seemingly minor processes such as check printing can have a huge impact on your health and safety practices, and your global footprint.

The need for business continuity has also revealed opportunities for companies to adjust practices to be better suited to the new workplace reality – for example, the need to digitize certain processes to minimize business disruption.

Reducing paper printing by offering employees the choice of an automated, digital process for check distribution and pay statements can help you not only minimize health risks for your organization and your people, but also reduce costs, improve organizational efficiency, and streamline your payroll delivery processes.

Organizations have several alternative options that they can consider, including electronic funds delivery, direct-to-home check delivery, and elimination of unnecessary print notices. Here are the benefits of each.

Alternative options to check printing

The process of delivering printed checks to employees every payday can be time-consuming and inconvenient for both employees and HR and payroll managers. Some of these pain points were only magnified during the COVID-19 pandemic, while new ones were highlighted.

For example, the mass shift to remote work resulted in some companies scrambling to redirect checks normally distributed to employees at the office to their homes. Many employees may have also had to contend with mail delivery service delays or interruptions as a result of the pandemic, compounding the disruption further.

Digitization enables organizations to operate more efficiently, cost-effectively, and competitively. To better prepare for the future of work, which could see business operations further moving into the cloud and towards eliminating paper-based records and processes, it makes sense to be a forward-thinking organization that doesn’t rely so heavily on paper checks. Shifting to this approach now could put less of a burden on your organization later.

Electronic funds delivery via digital solutions

Direct deposit

From an employee perspective, a key benefit of payroll direct deposit is fast, convenient access to their pay, and the ability to see their balances, transaction history, and other personal information online or via self-service.

From an employer perspective, by offering direct deposit, simplifying the delivery chain means there’s minimal risk of disruption to the payment process if unexpected circumstances arise. As well, reducing manual check distribution means less administrative burden on payroll teams. Plus, you’re reducing costs from cutting fewer paper checks, while minimizing your ecological footprint.

On-demand pay solution

In recent years, the payroll landscape has been evolving. New work structures, the fluidity of today’s workforce, and financial stress across the majority of workers (almost 80% of full-time workers in the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck) have contributed to employers increasingly considering more flexible ways to pay their people, outside of the traditional pay cycle. As part of this, we’ve seen the rise of on-demand pay solutions.

With an on-demand pay solution, employees can access their earned wages at any point during the pay period through a digital account on their mobile device.

Consider the statistic that 40% of Americans are unable to cover an unexpected $400 expense. The norm for most workers today if unexpected expenses come up is to turn to traditional solutions like payday or credit card loans, which lead to a revolving credit balance or recurring debt. The COVID-19 pandemic has only brought worker fluidity and financial woes into sharper focus.

For employees, the flexibility in being able to access their earned wages ahead of the next payday with an on-demand pay solution means they can better respond to unexpected circumstances, reduce their reliance on loans, and give them more control and oversight over their personal finances. This can lead to reduced financial stress, reduced absenteeism, and increased productivity.

For employers, an on-demand pay solution creates minimal disruption within the existing payroll process and cash flow. From an employee experience perspective, supporting employee financial wellness can result in better engagement and retention, and improved brand perception.

Pay card

Pay cards are an alternate option for employees who don’t have bank accounts. Each payday, an employee’s wages for that pay period are loaded on to a card, and employees can use that card as a debit card, or to withdraw funds.

Pay cards allow for many of the same benefits as direct deposit. That includes no delays in employees receiving their earnings on payday, no disruption to the payment process for payroll teams, and a more positive environmental impact.

Direct-to-home check delivery

In the event that some employees aren’t comfortable with direct deposit, or don’t want to switch, HR and payroll leaders can still streamline the distribution process with direct-to-home check delivery.

Particularly as companies implement return to work plans in the coming months, health and safety will be top of mind. Direct-to-home check delivery helps minimize person-to-person handoffs and lowers exposure risks.

Self-service and digitizing deposit advices

The conversation about the benefits of digitizing processes and going paperless isn’t a new one. However, the pandemic has accelerated the need for many organizations to consider going paperless to further mitigate impact on their operations, and better support a long-term remote work infrastructure.

Printed paper statements and deposit advice – printed materials that are just notifying employees that they’ve been paid – can be considered non-value-added printing costs that can be automated to reduce overall costs to employers.

For legally mandated notices, access to online statements via mobile applications and self-service tools for employees, with the ability to print on-demand, helps to facilitate compliance with these requirements.

Top benefits of digitizing your payroll printing and delivery processes

It’s a greener and more health-conscious option: Not only are you reducing your overall ecological footprint, but you’re also helping to reduce contact between individuals in your organization by minimizing unnecessary interaction for distributing checks and paper statements.

Up the convenience factor: With direct deposit or on-demand pay, employees can access their pay without delays due to check distribution, inclement weather, having to pick up their check on an off day, having to deposit a physical check, or being unable to pick it up due to illness. Electronic statements save time for both employees and payroll administrators, reducing manual processes, and helping to minimize human errors such as losing a check.

Reduce costs: Check printing itself can be an expensive process that might not be bringing value to your organization. The manual nature of printed checks can also be a cost to work time and productivity, whether due to HR and payroll teams managing the distribution, or employees collecting and depositing checks on work time.

Minimize errors: Automated processes help to reduce human errors, and make fixing them simpler and faster than paper-based processes and statements. Doing this digitally also removes the need to reprint or redistribute statements.

Build a modern culture and brand perception: In a world where more than 80% of Americans own a smartphone, and in which over 60% of the global GDP will be digitized by 2022, employees and potential candidates alike look for an easy, seamless experience that is accessible across devices, particularly when it comes to getting paid. And for candidates and employees alike, sustainability and eco-conscious practices matter. In fact, some workers would even take a pay cut to work at an environmentally responsible company. Millennials, who make up the largest cohort in the workforce, are most likely to choose a company with a strong environmental agenda. 

Maximize real estate: Electronic records can free up physical space in your offices and may provide better accessibility in the event of an emergency. With off-site data centers and backup locations, your organization is less likely to lose critical records.

Keep your records in order: It’s typically much easier to collect, track, and organize electronic records than paper ones. If you’re audited or need to provide your records for tax filing, electronic pay statements are often easier and faster to access and deliver than paper forms. Digital record-keeping is also beneficial for employee verification, allowing employees to have immediate access to documents they may need for proof of employment and to respond to financial verifications and background checks.

Todd Simmons

Todd Simmons is SVP of Operations and Head of Practice Management within Ceridian’s Global Customer Office. He leads Fulfillment Services comprised of Ceridian’s Tax Filing Services and Print Production capabilities. Todd has been with Ceridian for 18+ years and has held a progressive series of leadership positions in operations and service across multiple Ceridian product environments.

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