Payroll is the belly of the corporate world - sorry Operations
As Labor Day approaches, it may be timely to ponder the notion that each department, regardless of size, deems itself the heart of the organization. Perhaps it’s the brain or maybe the heart. Nobody ever picks the belly. The poor stomach. It’s rarely thought about or brought up as a topic of conversation unless...it’s not doing its job. Our hearts beat constantly reminding us of its governance of the system. When we get nervous, our hearts race and then, just as quickly, slow down to a turtle’s pace when we calm down. Our brains never once slip or give up total control of the system. But what about the stomach?. It just does chugs along doing its job, doesn’t ask for much beyond sustenance, and let’s you go about your business.
In other words, the stomach is low maintenance yet high performing. Yes, the brain and heart are high performing as well - but they remind you of it every day. If our body parts were people, I doubt we would enjoy being in the same room as the heart and brain. “Yup, there they go again, telling us how important they are….. Yes, Yes, I know it’s all about you,” But the stomach, however, it does its job without complaint or incident, yet, it’s just as critical as the brain or heart. Don’t believe me? Then do this quick thought experiment: when was the last time you had a stomach ache? Unless it was recent, I bet you can’t remember. Now, think about how you felt when you had the stomach ache. Nothing quite felt right. The day was painful and annoying, but you got through it, and the stomach went back to chuggin’ along.
Years ago it became fashionable for companies, and sometimes their departments, to print out laminated business cards and posters to carry or look at as a reminder of the importance of their function. I’m sure examples exist but we at i2Verify have never personally seen cards or posters from the payroll department, while we have seen examples from nearly all other departments in our careers. This may be due to our lack of looking in the right places or it may simply be due to the humble nature of payroll in general. Either way, I submit that it may be time to at least add an email footer to your emails with a bullet or two that explains the integral nature of payroll. The footer may mention the obvious statements of payroll function of providing paychecks, but it can also mention the critical functions of data collection, financial calculations, keeping employee records up-to-date for benefits eligibility, insurance coverage, exemptions, changes in role/department, promotions, savings deductions, etc.
Of course to do so may not fit the nature of the payroll department, and that’s fine too, because in the corporate world, it’s the payroll department that does its job day in and day out without complaint or incident. It’s never thought of or discussed and lets you go about your business. But if payroll doesn’t function correctly, people may not remember which pay date didn’t work as expected, but they sure will remember how painful and annoying that day was!
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