Breaking new boundaries

Digital transformation has been part of many organisations’ strategy, but the events of the last few months have seen a rapid acceleration in the adoption of such technologies by businesses and individuals.

“We’ve probably seen a couple of years of digital transformation take place in three months, all driven by necessity in the coronavirus crisis,” says Marko Perisic, chief technology officer at human resources and payroll provider Zellis. Both the depth and breadth of services now accessed over digital channels has increased, he adds, as people have been forced to find new ways of living and working.

This has seen organisations finally overcome their reluctance to invest in digital programmes for back-office functions and to make use of public cloud computing systems. “We’ve moved from companies not wanting to do things to having to do them because they haven’t a choice and we’re now seeing them making rational choices around embracing digital as a transformative investment for their business,” says Perisic.

In HR, embracing digital technologies is having a significant impact. Greater use of automation means less reliance on manual processes, leading to greater efficiency and the elimination of human errors that have the potential to impact negatively on the experience of employees, such as around furlough pay and minimum wage calculations.

The use of data and predictive analytics, meanwhile, is helping transform the function from one seen as a back-office, operational function into a strategic partner, enabling more informed decisions about staff.

The use of data is helping transform the payroll and HR function from one seen as back-office into a strategic partner

Data gleaned from payroll is a good example. “Having access to more accurate and insightful data, broken down into different pay elements, brings a completely new level of insight,” says Perisic. He gives the example of being able to access data around historic pay rises and identifying how this correlates with how people have been hired, educated or trained, or the impact of the people they work with.

HR and payroll professionals could also explore the relationship between factors such as length of service, hours worked, age, gender and historic pay rises with rates of employee absenteeism and attrition. This could indicate whether those who work a certain number of overtime hours have a greater chance of leaving the business or taking more sick days. Such insight can then be used to determine policy, with the aim of improving retention or reducing absence.

Effective use of such information can not only help HR and the wider business make better decisions around its people, but can also improve the employee experience, something that will be vital as organisations look to rebuild after the COVID-19 crisis. Up to now, this has often been the neglected part of the digital experience.

“We all think about our shopping experience, our social media experience or even the experience with the software we use to do our work. But what is our experience with our employer? People need a single pane of glass through which they can look at everything that relates to their experience with their employer,” says Perisic. From a business point of view, engaged employees are likely to be more productive and loyal, and ultimately deliver a better service for customers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined just how important it is for businesses to have access to technologies that can help them respond to unforeseen events. “Using those insights to establish where the world and organisations are moving, the HR function can make better long-term decisions on where to place resources, what kind of skills to hire and which employee benefits are likely to incentivise and motivate staff,” says Perisic. “Having accurate and reliable people and payroll information is an essential part of that.”

To find out more about how Zellis can help your business digitally transform its HR and payroll functions please visit