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Our Predictions for Global Payroll and HR in 2021

Ursula Dempsey
Ursula Dempsey

Content and Customer Marketing Manager, Immedis

Jan 7, 2021 3 mins

We asked customers, our executive team, our Payroll Operations team, and partners to give us their take on global payroll in 2021.

Here are their answers.

#1 A digitalization of HR

We see a priority being given to realizing the business benefits from investing in digitalization. One of the main reasons for this is that organizations now require their HR technology to support the new situation of physical distance and the need to focus on elevating the employee experience, while also needing change more quickly than ever before due to the dramatic world shifts of this year. — Nolan DoesburgConsultantSHAPEiN

#2 A focus on reacting to the impact of WFH on HR

COVID-19 has and will be forcing a lot of companies to review their HR-admin setup. While a strong focus on core competencies is getting more and more important to secure their business, the necessity of payroll has become more complex: people are working from home, travel less, are moved to short-time work (“Kurzarbeit”). Taking both into consideration, we do see a trend to outsource payroll, which then challenges digital workflows. How to exchange data between employer and payroll-provider? How to enable employees to manage their data (core data, working hours) while working from home? A lot of new questions need to be solved, and even if a vaccine will be available, the work environment has drastically changed and will most likely not go back to the status it came from. – Tim Schuette, General Manager, Paychex Germany GmbH

#3 Global Payments will get more service orientated

I see a massive transformation in the way global payments are processed. We will see a shift towards a fully integrated payment solution that enables businesses to optimize their HCM and get the systems in synch fully.

The ultimate goal of these process changes is that we see a greater emphasis on service. No longer is it sufficient to simply process multiple global payments, but you must do so efficiently and strategically. – Michael Zachary, Director of Global Payments, Immedis

#4 Major focus on taxation

I think the area of tax will take up a lot of payroll focus as organizations deal with the implications of tax implications of COVID-19 and the gig economy. – Christine Keily, Chief Operating Officer, Immedis

#5 Managing the way COVID-19 changes will impact the future

2020 has been a year unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, and the one commonality is that this is a global issue, not specific to a country or culture. Everyone has pivoted to accommodate the changes required by COVID in a reactive rather than proactive manner out of necessity. In 2021, we expect to see companies reflecting on what changes they implemented in 2020 and how to grow, enhance, improve these in preparation for the future. All of these changes should be up for re-evaluation; we assume companies will be re-evaluating and optimizing their existing HCM systems to ensure they have robust, scalable systems in place to meet the demands of a remote global workforce. – Karen Volkert, VP of Corporate Strategy and Initiatives, PayTech

#6 Sharp increase in the demand for data

Data is going to be critical in 2021. The focus will be on reporting on global payroll and delivering at the right time and accurately. This means that CFOs, CHROs can get real-time reporting and analytics, helping to produce actionable insights. The days of payroll reports taking 6 weeks will be over in 2020.

Kevin Gannon, Chief Strategy Officer, Immedis

#7 Even more HR and payroll tech innovations

The technology that enables payroll to move away from Excel is getting better and growing in popularity. We will see a slew of industry-first innovations around touchless payroll. Our platform has already enabled employees to update, add, and change their bank details. Designs this year will be all about enhancing the employee payroll experience.

Richard Limpkin, Chief Product Officer, Immedis

#8 A shifting of people to the center

Culture will be way more important with people working from home. The strongest link we have with people is through the payslip, so we need to use it more. We need to find ways to reflect company culture in a virtual world, where people work from their kitchen table. – Ruairi Kelleher, Chief Executive Officer, Immedis

#9 Elevation of payroll

Payroll will have a seat at the top table – supported by us. The data and reports that we can create in real-time for our customers mean that global payroll data is front and center when making business decisions. ­–

Mark Graham, Chief Commercial Officer, Immedis

#10 Greater flexibility around working arrangements

With the lessons learned from 2020 during this year of the pandemic, HR and business leaders will want to ensure future team members have the agility, capability, and technology to allow flexible working as a norm, building on short-term interventions made this year.

– Bob Rehill, Change Consultant, Bob Rehill Associate Network

#11 A shift towards empathy and compassion

2021 will be a year of celebrating our resilience and perseverance as a team to overcome one of the most challenging years in our lives. It will be a year in which creation and transformation seem effortless compared to the uphill battle of 2020. It will be a year of appreciation for the co-worker on Zoom and a year of anticipation for when you share a cup of coffee in person and reminisce while also looking ahead. 2021 will be a year in which heart-led leaders will implement transformational change and drive positive shifts in corporate culture by leaning in, listening, and reacting with empathy and compassion by understanding we can learn from our hearts as much as from our minds.

– Anna Oberto, Director of Talent Deployment, AbbVie