How payroll impacts the global employee experience

March 30, 2022

Finding, recruiting and retaining top talent has become a crucial part of a company's global business strategy. 

The key to winning the so-called war on talent is providing a meaningful global employee experienceand payroll is a big part of that equation.  

What is employee experience—and why should you care? 

There’s no hidden meaning or ambiguous buzzwords here. The employee experience literally refers to how your employees feel about your company and their role in it. 

Views on work and employment have changed in big ways over the past few decades. Millennials are now the largest demographic in the global workforce, with Gen X coming up behind them. These workers have traded in the blind loyalty characteristic of those before them and are looking for meaningful employee experiences.  

According to McKinsey & Company, when it comes to work, workers want: 

  • Connection 

  • Collaboration 

  • Inclusion 

  • Support 

  • Flexibility 

  • Growth 

  • Purpose 

  • Technology 

  • Trust 

If you want to attract and retain talent, your global business has to deliver on these wants. 

How does payroll affect employee experience? 

While money is surprisingly not at the top of most employees’ wish lists, it’s one perk of working—but there’s more to it that impacts overall employee satisfaction.  

Your company’s global payroll strategy is directly linked to: 

  • Brand reputation 

  • Employee engagement 

  • Communication  

  • Flexibility 

  • Trust 

A strong reputation attracts (and keeps) strong talent 

Your brand’s reputation has many moving parts. The quality of your services, responsiveness to customers, diversity and social inclusion all come into play—as well as employee experience.  

Word gets around fast when the math doesn’t add up on payday. It only takes two payroll errors to hurt your reputation. Nearly half (49%) of workers report they would head for the door after that second mistake. 

Engaged employees work harder, faster, better 

Engagement is the measure of satisfaction with the employee experience. When it’s high, employees are productive. When it’s not, they’re one foot out the door.  

When it comes to managing the employee experience, your payroll department can generate goodwill simply by making it easy for employees to get paid. 

This means: 

  • Processing an error-free payroll with appropriate tax withholdings. 

  • Embracing technology integrations for timekeeping and attendance that fit the flow of work. 

  • Ensuring accurate leave and benefits tracking. 

  • Providing accessible payroll information through dedicated lines or self-service options. 

Communication is vital to the global employee experience  

Next to getting paid correctly for their time, employees also need appropriate communication and access to payroll information. Unanswered questions can quickly turn to frustration, anger and disengagement—especially when they’re about money. 

Your global employee experience should take into consideration how you share payroll information and how employees can access it. If you’re using a centralized payroll approach, consider designating a local point of contact for employees. Offer self-service technology like mobile apps when possible.  

If your payroll is processed locally, make sure your employees know their point person for all things payroll (questions, tax forms, pay slips, benefits, etc.).  

Employees are accustomed to new levels of flexibility  

The pandemic-era transition to remote work set new expectations for the global workforce. And it’s turning out to be a win-win, providing employers with a bigger talent pool and employees with more options.  

Offering the flexibility for employees to work in any way can be a big win for employee experience—whether it be working remotely, working the hours that work best for them, and/or even getting paid in a specific currency or cadence in which they prefer.  

Trust is paramount in the employee experience (with payroll as the gatekeeper) 

Building trust with employees is multifaceted. You must address respect, inclusion, safety and mental health needs that directly impact the global employee experience. But you may overlook other significant factors—like technology and data privacy. 

Your payroll department collects a lot of personally identifying information (PII) your employees must be able to trust you with (e.g. names, addresses, social security IDs, driver's license numbers, and ethnic and political affiliations). 

Adopting new technologies and introducing third-party outsourcing can add to the security risk. While both can be helpful and improve the employee experience, payroll needs to be vigilant about protecting employee data. 

Your global payroll data is an inherent privacy risk. At a minimum, you should employ safeguards like: 

  • Encryption for sensitive payroll data transmissions 

  • Strict ‘need to know’ protocols for email communications 

  • Regular cybersecurity threats training for payroll employees 

  • Secure data storage infrastructure with regular backups 

  • Partner with vendors that adhere to appropriate security protocols 

A final word on global payroll and employee experience 

Nearly everybody is talking about amping up their diversity and inclusion programs and creating a culture of learning. But global payroll is typically an afterthought in the employee experience.  

It’s generally considered a ‘given’ that payroll data and processes are accurate, convenient and secure. But if you fail to deliver on this, the tables can quickly turn. It’s important to do your due diligence to keep your global payroll strategy contributing positively to your employee experience. 

A centralized vendor can help ensure your employees get paid accurately and on time.  Learn more about Global Managed Payrollor please contact us with any questions you may have.  


Previous blog
The difference between HR and payroll (what global employers need to know)
The difference between HR and payroll (what global employers need to know)

HR and payroll often work closely together but are very different functions. Learn more about their differe...

Next blog
How to manage global payroll during M&A activity
How to manage global payroll during M&A activity

Staying on top of global payroll management during M&A is critical for success. Here’s what you need to kno...


Request a consultation with a global payroll expert

First Name
Last Name
Number of Employees
Company Name
Canadian Province
Thank you! You will be contacted shortly
Error - something went wrong!