Joining us for this episode of the 3Sixty Insights #HRTechChat is Richard Limpkin, chief product officer at Dublin, Ireland-based global payroll provider Immedis. Richard and I spoke at length a couple times prior this. The insights we unearthed in those conversations were intriguing and, fortunately, the podcast captured the gist of these ideas as we reiterated previously covered ground.
When you think about it, payroll is perhaps the most concrete and most abstract aspect of human capital management. On the one hand, it’s an indisputable number of outgoing money every one or two weeks (for some organizations, once monthly). Mess with that number or its delivery, and an organization can very quickly have a mutiny on its hands as job satisfaction suffers an acute, palpable blow.
Above all, what must payroll be, without fail? It absolutely has to be timely and accurate, Richard says. He’s right, of course, and this applies to all payroll situations. Get payroll wrong or produce it late, and an organization immediately experiences the aforementioned potentially disastrous crisis of employee sentiment. Exacerbating matters is a strict regulatory environment reflecting the basic importance of payroll and governing how the organization must proceed to rectify the situation, whatever it is.
Here is where concrete and abstract HCM really come into play, and this gets us to the other two things payroll must do, in Richard’s sage estimation: Be fully compliant with all applicable laws and fully protect the security and privacy of employees’ data (for which some of that regulatory framework also applies).
Notably, as an organization’s payroll becomes global, the complexities of all these factors behind payroll intensify. In a way, global payroll is the ultimate point solution, and there’s essentially no way to implement that solution for global payroll until the moment you need one. We got into all that too, and I encourage readers to view this episode of the podcast. It was a pleasure to speak again with Richard, who brought deep expertise to this discussion.
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Brent Skinner 00:03
Well welcome everybody, to the latest episode of HR tech chat. Very excited today to have Richard Limpkin, who is the Chief Product Officer of Immedis , which is a Dublin, Ireland based global payroll provider. Welcome, Richard. Hi, Ryan, nice to be talking to you again. Yeah, yeah, we’ve and yeah, we’ve had a couple of really interesting conversations. in the not too, not too distant past. And in both times, I don’t know about you. But I really wish that I had the record button running because we have some, we cover some really interesting ground. And I know that we’ve been talking about this for a while, just various ideas around global payroll, what is what is the road to global payroll? How does an organization when is an organization realize that it needs global payroll? There’s kind of stumble into it? Or, you know, is there some sort of a of a, you know, a little bit more of a plan there, these sorts of things. And we thought that this would just be a fantastic, this be fantastic subject matter area of discussion for the podcast. So thank you so much for joining us. And why don’t we dive right in? What are some of the pain points for global organizations when it comes to their payroll? What? What are? What is some of that the headaches, the frustrations? What are some of these things that just can really get out of hand?
Richard Limpkin 01:36
Yeah, it’s a great question. There’s, there’s a myriad of different answers, depending on the customer organization. And I suppose if you if first of all, we love to try and simplify everywhere we can. And that’s probably at the core of what we try and do in a meter spread. The two most fundamental things really, with payroll at the outset are timeliness and accuracy. And without either of those, then then payroll is not really worth anything. That’s the key fundamental. And then you can kind of layer on to other things that are really important to that in terms of compliance. And ultimately, even more so in the environment we’re in now and in in the technologically led environment, and the globalization aspect of that security, and an absolute concrete sense of security around protecting the privacy of your employees data. So they’re kind of furrows dead for really fundamental things, and to have them at the absolute core of it, though.
Brent Skinner 02:34
Interesting, interesting, timeliness and accuracy. This is imagine if your payroll were not timely or accurate. Both of those are just an absolute disaster. I remember reading a statistic and I, I keep meaning to look it up again, and find out exactly where it’s origins. But it’s, and I don’t remember the actual number either, but it’s a very, very high percentage of employees that are, they’re willing to willing to tolerate just one mistake. You know, hey, well, and if, you know, after that, all bets are off, you’re dealing with a retention problem, you’re dealing with employee sentiment, problem, all these sorts of things. I mean, what’s your what’s your take on that? I mean,
Richard Limpkin 03:32
yeah, it’s like, it’s actually interesting, a lot of the material actually, that you would have published previously, as well. But, you know, you would talk a lot about the abstract and concrete aspects of PCM. A guy, I’m a massive fan of the kind of original theorists in HR theory, if you go back to things like hygiene factors, and ultimately, those basic needs as human beings, they haven’t really changed, people haven’t changed in 1000s of years. So that that need for safety, psychological safety, physical safety, and the ability to kind of food and to feed and shelter yourself. Well, that’s really what PE is, at the core of, that’s what pay is enabling. So they the kind of original hygiene factor theorists would say that without that being right, nothing else really matters, you’re nowhere even close to kind of self actualization or anything else. So that’s really kind of, in my opinion, that’s why it’s so fundamentally important still, and I don’t think that’s likely to change. It’s you know, we live very much in a society driven by need and driven by the mechanics of finance to fund the various aspects of life. So your payroll and payroll being right and to expectation and timely that’s really the core of it.
Brent Skinner 04:46
You know, that’s really interesting. I’m so glad you brought up these sort of, you know, these fundamental theories around you know, psychological safety, physical safety, these sorts of things. Because it and thank you bigging up abstract and concrete HCM because it’s something I want to get into today, pay is the most concrete aspect of HCM. I mean, we work for all sorts of reasons, you know, for, for, you know, to to, you know, grow in our careers to feel like we’ve done something that matters or that we feel that we’ve accomplished something, all these sorts of things. But, at the base of it, you know, before any of that happens, just like you said, you have to put it differently. If there is one common denominator among all people they are getting, they’re working to get paid, and no matter where they’re working, you know, you could say something, if you’re not working to get paid, or if you are, if you’re working for subpar pay and you still love your job, then you could say that maybe you’re smaller, like you’re volunteering, right. And you have Yeah, you have some you’ve able, you’ve been able to secure some sort of semblance of, of safety for yourself, by other means, right? So, but let’s setting that aside, right? That, that pay really is just that, that that fundamental, it is the reason people are working so it’s interesting that, that it also translates to a very, it’s a number. I mean, it is it is an indisputable number that, that, uh, that that goes into the GL, every one two weeks, some places a month, you know, every month. And that’s indisputable. And that that’s true, that’s the most measurable sosus you could say some most measurable thing about HCM as well, right? And that’s what we mean by concrete HCM is you know financially quantifiable things that we can, we can that we can influence in a way that’s very readily recognized by accounting for instance, right. But then the fact that it is so caulk some window open up on my computer for no reason, but if we’re okay, now, sorry, if I look, distracted, you know, this is this is reality podcasting. Anyway. There’s no legislating for anything that could happen here. So don’t worry. That’s alright, that’s alright. Well, we’ll leave it in or be good candidate moment. So what’s interesting to me is that payroll is the most concrete aspect of HCM for the reasons we just said. And yet for that reason, you could make the argument that is actually the most abstract aspect of HCM as well, I mean by abstract HCM. We mean, you know, employee sentiment, well, how does it affect your employee sentiment, which is so, so essential and critical and fundamental to organizational success?
Richard Limpkin 07:53
Yeah, 100%. And what’s interesting when you when you put it in those terms, Brandon, I feel very aligned with them. If you think about payroll, like, ultimately is a process, right? And like, no, I came from a, I came from a very science lab background a long time before I ever kind of entered into ACM 20 plus years ago. So I kind of look at these things quite by narrowly sometimes to a fault, but like payroll loads? You’re absolutely right. It is it is quite concrete in that in most jurisdictions in the world, there is an absolutely correct way to calculate it, and anything else is wrong. Now, there are a couple of jurisdictions where there’s variances and nuances that you can you know, you can you can take benefit of, if you feel it’s appropriate, that’s all fine. But they’re ultimately some of the more abstract aspects of HCM ultimately funnel and filter down into the payroll process. If you move from comp and banner reward theory into what the actual tangible results of those are, and how that then manifests, it ultimately filters into that concrete, binary process of calculating payroll. And you’re right, it generates a number, and that number gets paid to the individual. So it’s, it goes from being potentially quite abstract into being absolutely binary. And that’s, that’s a key aspect of it. And then if you link that on to that binary number, again, back to the kind of basic management theorists stuff motivational theory, if, if that’s wrong, then you’re disabling everything else. It that’s, that’s the fundamental part. I know, you start to think about financial well being and the stress factors, our finance challenges, then that can layer into it. So it can all really compound you can go from maybe very abstract to very binary to very abstract again, all through the same process.
Brent Skinner 09:37
Yeah, that’s really interesting. It makes you wonder, Well, I think we’re essentially saying this, right, you know, that there are so many rules, and there’s so much exactness around pay. Because it’s concrete. But it is so concrete because it’s so abstract. It’s kind of interesting, right? Because there’s so much employee sentiments behind it, right? It is that thing that you absolutely have to get right? Not just because of it being a number for the GL, but because there’s so much, you know, psychological and emotional need associated with it. That that’s just facet. That’s a rabbit hole. We could, we could we could keep going down all day long, I think bringing it back to global payroll though, talking about some of the pain points around global payroll, you know, there’s timeliness and accuracy, obviously, which is, which is shared with any payroll even in just within one country, right? Or within region, maybe Canada than us. But, data security? And I’m guessing also data, maybe data visibility? I mean, can you just dive into this a little bit? What are some of the ways that? Well, maybe you could paint a picture for us? A, for instance, there are many possibilities here, potential realities. But if you could paint for us a picture of an example of, for instance, of an organization that that has sort of stumbled into needing global payroll, and maybe you could speak to the security and the data visibility piece of it, and how, how that might trigger that organization say, oh, gosh, we need to, we need to bring order to this.
Richard Limpkin 11:29
Yeah, totally in, it’s a great example, because there’s not a lot of organizations that kind of, from a startup stage would set out to say, right, we’re going to start up in 20 countries, and we’re going to have a global requirement from day one. In majority of cases, what typically happens in the trajectory, Now, obviously, each customer is on a different point to the trajectory. But they start out with a relatively manageable domestic payroll process, which is well within the bounds of the capability of their teams and the resources they have. But over time, as the as businesses grow and expand, whether that’s through mergers and acquisitions, whether it’s through organic growth, all those different dimensions, they start to have requirements in multiple jurisdictions, and then managing the complexity of those jurisdictions. And you know, go back to that previous point of every one of them being very exact, and very precise, but potentially quite different to each other, it becomes an increasingly complex kind of conundrum of how you manage that. So you’ve got to provide data from a central core to all these different processes and systems globally. And that becomes quite challenging. And the key thing with securing anything is knowing where it is, if you don’t know where something is, it’s very difficult to secure it. So one of the things we’ve really focused on, particularly with the media platform is the concept of not having those legacy processes where somebody, for example, is running an extract from one system, to then securely encrypt that and send it to another system to unpack that and import it somewhere else, the whole drive towards web services and having that kind of stateless data concept. So things only things exist in the point of origin, or the point of purpose, you start to eliminate some of those weaknesses in the process. And in any process is only as good as its weakest link. So we’re really focused on that.
Brent Skinner 13:18
So the point of origin being point A and the poor and the purpose being point B, the, the pay actually being delivered to the employee. Yeah,
Richard Limpkin 13:27
so you’re typically in global you’re, depending on the maturity of the organization, you’re kind of point A your yorigin will typically be. And it’s been through massive consolidation in the PCM technology space, you will have typically a aacn core system, which is in most situations, and again, there’s little local nuances on data protection, and what can and can’t be done like Russia is an example of high complexity for that. And but you’ll have a centralized system for managing HR processes and the vast majority of the employee lifecycle, a lot of which can be relatively homogeneously, managed, the will, of course, be nuances to each process in each jurisdiction, but relatively homogeneous for a global based organization, then you’re right down into the mechanics of the calculation in country and having to then separate our data out to each of the jurisdictions to process and execute in a payroll engine. And that’s really where you’re going to the point be, how do you go from that centralized core, and not necessarily even one core it might be, it might be a HCM platform, plus potentially an external benefits global platform retirement workforce management system, and getting those into the right place securely. To be able to have every data point you need to calculate payroll, even though each of the data points may be different in each jurisdiction. So it’s that kind of almost spiderweb of getting things aligned and consolidated without losing control of where they’re going. And without that becoming a hugely manual process for it for a team to have to manage that centrally. How much of that So so that that’s very much a technological process, correct? Yeah, it’s, it’s, it is very much tech enabled. But there is there is a sort of master service aspect to that, as well. And in terms of good HR business process, globalized design, those types of aspects that can really drive good behavior. So we, you know, we would often consider is, is a customer really ready for global? Are they actually looking for lots of local and domestic situations? Or are they on a truly global journey, and ready to engage in a globalized model. So that is a big piece of it as well, that process engineering from an HR perspective, data readiness, they’re all key components of enabling good global payroll. So in other words, and so in other words, an organization could have a global footprint, but not necessarily be ready. Not or not necessarily need just yet. A full fledged, you know, consolidated, global payroll solution, it could be that they just need some, some assistance at the local regional level, where ever their locations are two, just to help facilitate the proper processing of payroll each period. Is that is that what you’re getting at? Yeah, and you can absolutely, you can absolutely enable that through technology. But maybe an example would be, if you look at some of the not to name anybody, if you look at leading kind of professional service firms, they would classically have grown up as a much smaller number, and globally distributed limited liability partnerships. So they were almost isolated practices, and they came under a single banner, and they grew and they consolidate some processes. And but not all of them were consolidated things like HR finance payroll into a common core. And so they could still be operating at a country level, potentially, maybe a regional level. And part of executing really good global solutions for HR and payroll is around alignment of that. It doesn’t mean everything has to be identical by any means. But it does mean that you should be operating relatively similar processes and get the overall global outcome and efficiency from that.
Brent Skinner 17:21
Let’s, let’s take a look at this. This might be this might be too vague. So stop me if it is. But let’s take a global organization that, uh, well, let me ask you this. What size in terms of number of employees is is an organization typically when it’s become, you know, objectively speaking, a global organization, if it is a global organization? So are we talking, you know, let’s say you have an organization that’s 500 plays that is, like, ask it this way, this is a better way to ask, let’s say if an organization is it’s this 500 employees, that’s, that’s kind of on the high end of a small business, right? Is it possible for an organization of that size to be global and actually need a global outsource global payroll solution? Or are we are we talking about just every possible permutation p here is there’s so many idiosyncrasy idiosyncrasies that that there’s just too many possibilities to, to really tax on a mushroom?
Richard Limpkin 18:28
Yeah. And there’s no, there’s no right or wrong answer to it when it’s a very good question. And really, it depends on the circumstance of the organization. So if you take your example of the 500, headcount, if that’s 500, let’s say for example, that’s 250 in the US, and 250, in Canada, would you consider that to be a global organization, or if that was 250 in the US, and then let’s say 25 per country in 10 other countries scattered globally, you get a very different answer with the same number of people. So it’s very much around the complexity of what’s been executed, whether they’re a global organization or not, I get I guess, the right answer is that once you’re in more than one jurisdiction, you’re started starting to head that way. But in terms of the requirement for the solution, and what you’d get benefit from, it’s really once you get into that multiple jurisdiction scenario, that really you can potentially, as a business, you can outgrow the capability or even the economic model of servicing that yourself internally, and actually being able to provide coherence solutions. If you’ve got, you know, 25 people in 10 different countries. Does it make sense to have a payroll manager in each of those countries? If, if there’s no alignment? Maybe the answer is different if two or three of the countries have very similar jurisdictions, and you can have a regional center. And so that’s really where the complexity comes in. And what we see a huge amount of in global is what’s referred to as kind of big head and long tail. So you don’t you quite often have that that home jurisdiction which would be very strong and that’s where a great business This may well have grown up originally. And but they’re not disbursement as they continue to grow. And at the very tip of the long tail is quite often somebody who’s been putting country to help set up in a new jurisdiction, or maybe the first wave of sales staff in that jurisdiction. So they’re all equally important in terms of shashtri of the organization,
Brent Skinner 20:19
you know, and sales, that that particular scenario just painted, right? I imagine that’s, that’s a common scenario. And sales staff obviously have complex remuneration sort of makeup, right? So, so I would imagine that that would be almost right at the get go. A very complex global payroll scenario for the head of the of that organization,
Richard Limpkin 20:47
to manage spot on bredon. And quite often with those lead individuals moving into new jurisdictions, you’re quite often dealing with potentially an ex parte scenario as well, you take your you take your best people from, from established jurisdictions, and you, you let those individuals help you grow in another jurisdiction as well. And many organizations would grow that way. And it’s quite often the best way of building offshore centers as well, that you take a combination of local and centralized resource and put them together for a period of time to establish and build. So all those complexities come into a single payroll in that chosen jurisdiction. And you’ve got to take all that into account you’re spot on that can be sometimes more at some of the more complicated stuff. It’s not necessarily the scale, it’s the opposite.
Brent Skinner 21:34
Yeah. And that’s interesting to me, you know, what’s sort of what seems to be sort of forming right now is this idea that, that, um, it’s not necessarily how large the organization is, but, but more so how many locations it’s in, and the types of employees in the various locations. So you could have, let’s, let’s go back to that professional services organization fail, it may be a fairly homogenous type of, of, of employee, you know, and across, spread across many countries, you know, that that is going to be complex, but not as complex as what we were just describing, which, you know, could be a much smaller organization, but with all sorts of different types of employees with different pay related needs. Eat, you know, this is actually a might be a good segue into, because I want to get into this compliance. I mean, we have, there’s, there’s as many, if not more compliance scenarios, as there are regions and localities globally. Can you just speak to that a little bit? How does how does a global payroll provider sort of solve for that? Yeah, it’s
Richard Limpkin 22:51
a great question. And you’re absolutely right. If you think about take even a single jurisdiction, in isolation, you will have components of local government, centralized government and us is a great example of a highly sophisticated diagnosis, something like 18,000 different permutations of attacks and social and everything else in the US alone. So that that level of sophistication is actually increasing all the time. And if you then layer on to that, technological advancements in the jurisdiction, and government starting to drive, digital transformation, as well in terms of how tax and payroll and filings are returned, and the immediacy of that we’ve seen that in the UK, we see it in Ireland and other jurisdictions where real time information is brought into play Australia have done the same. And that level of sophistication of technology is increasing all the time. And now what it does mean is that the compliance regime is getting stronger and stronger. So there’s an almost immediate and absolute understanding of how and how and when things are filed. And that kind of almost instantaneous receipting, particularly with real time information and web service, read tax returns and filings of payroll, there’s a requirement as soon as payroll is executed to file with government, and you will literally milliseconds later getting a receipt so that you know that that’s happened, and you’ve got confirmation. So that’s really changing things in that way. But that’s not everywhere. And that, you know, if you think about a typical customer, for us would be operating in 40 plus countries, not all of those countries would have that level of sophistication in the tax jurisdiction and systems. So you do need to make sure that you can cope and legislate for even the least sophisticated jurisdictions, even if that’s actually retaining the confirmation of tax filings and receipts and payments and actually being able to digitize and control where they’re stored. So that when that customer is audited, that information is available and you have the control process around us. So that’s actually I guess that’s kind of it’s synonymous with a lot of global payroll, you have a real spectrum of levels of sophistication across different countries in what’s actually possible, but you can’t lower the bar to the lowest you have to push for the highest in every single individual one of them.
Brent Skinner 25:08
Yeah, I’m thinking of, of a of an analogy here with the engineering of a vehicle, for instance, some vehicles, you know, they’re the components are, you know, they’re there. And like, let’s say the, the, the electric window regulator is engineered to the same level of, of failure as, say, the transmission, which is engineered to last, you know, 300,000 miles or whatever. Right. So, so, I might be stretching this analogy, but I love automobile analogy. But I think you see what I’m saying, I hope you see what I’m saying, right? You have a, you have a region that that has these, this high level of, of compliance. mandated, right, required, right. And so you would engineer, you would operate all regions, to, to comply to that standard. So as to to make the audit process as I don’t know, as straightforward and and, and easy as possible for the users. This is essentially what you’re saying.
Richard Limpkin 26:16
Yeah, that’s what you’re really striving for. Obviously, the there are kind of slow moving parts in that in some jurisdictions, it’s extremely challenging, particularly developing world jurisdictions very challenging to get some of those components in play. But ultimately, what you’re trying to do is centralize that back into the customer. So regardless of the downstream process, the material they’re dealing with the certainty and the compliance aspect that then can be audited is the same. And so that’s a really big part of it. And again, that’s, that’s an important part of global across the whole spectrum, from inputs into the global payroll process to the results of best and even posting information into finance systems actually being able to align that globally, even though every payroll across the 40 for a typical customer is calculated differently. Ultimately, you’re slotting that all back into the same finance system centrally with the same debit and credit and chart of account structure and nominal accounting, all those pieces. So it’s just making sure that no one piece doesn’t conform. But at the same time, not making it so homogenous, you can’t actually execute what you need to in country.
Brent Skinner 27:22
Yeah, absolutely. It also occurred to me that it’s probably more efficient from the global payroll providers part to engineer for that, that greatest complexity, and apply that across the board, then to engineer or to solve, excuse me solve for every single locality to the level that this needs to be. Because the other thing is if any locality starts to regulate more, well, you’re, you’re already all set. Interestingly enough,
Richard Limpkin 27:54
Yeah, totally. And that’s all part of good product engineering. It’s always it’s a little bit of a paradox of like, do you do you go for the low hanging fruit? Do you get the quick wins? Do you get something that you can solve? That isn’t the biggest business challenge, but does prove a business case? Or do you do solve the most complex thing on the understanding that that will then unlock all the rest? It’s a little bit of both. And what really you’re trying to do is solve with reusability. So whatever you build should never be for the specific case in point in your car analogy is a very good one. You don’t build a car that can drive between, I don’t know, New York and Boston. And that’s the only thing it can do. You build a car that can drive anywhere you want to drivers. And of course, you have to do different things, you put a different amount of fuel in it, you change the direction, you take different routes. We The point is you built it in a way that solves all of those different challenges without even necessarily knowing what the challenge for tomorrow might be.
Brent Skinner 28:52
Yeah, I love that. That makes a lot of sense. I there’s a couple things I want to get to in our remaining time. So one of them is and we’ll put us sort of just a placeholder on that for the moment is just a little bit more about concrete and abstract HCM, how it you know, how it you know, how it pertains visa v global payroll for various stakeholders in your organization we can get I think we talked about it from an employee standpoint. Already. In a in a, you know, I’d say pretty, pretty nice way but, but I’d like to get to some other stakeholders. But first, this occurred to me, I think this would be interesting. Can you share with us obviously not sharing actual customers names or anything like that, but can you share an example of maybe a customer that that is that wow, these guys are understanding that global payroll is necessarily is just sort of by design, there’s no way get around getting around it. That is something that you did figure out that you need that you put in place after you’ve gotten to the point where Do you need it versus sort of putting it in place beforehand, right? Is there any customer you’ve had? Where you where you thought yourself, gosh, these folks, they really, I mean, they, they were on it right away. They just this is this I wish we you know, I wish all our customers are like to say they got it nipped it in the bud right away if he had that sort of a scenario.
Richard Limpkin 30:25
Yeah, definitely. Brent, I guess I guess it almost every kind of conceivable area on the spectrum of being ready or not ready for global, we’ve seen, we’ve seen a significant mix of that. There’s a number of the matches that really stand out to me. And I guess they’re the ones that they stand out for lots of reasons. But I think in any kind of project or implementation or a 50 year technology over the last 20 years, there’s a few things that always stand out. And you remember them, sometimes for reasons that were challenging, and sometimes for reasons that were brilliant. So there’s definitely if you were, for me at the brilliant end, in terms of immediate customers, there’s a good number of them. And there’s a couple that really stand out in terms of to your point of being on it and being on it before it began. And part of that is taking a really forward looking approach to how ready you are and being on that journey ready for global. And what does that really mean? Well, it means that when they when they first went to market and implemented HR platform, they did it in a way that they kind of brought everything in centrally rather than implementing a country at a time and doing each one in isolation and pandering to local needs in every regard. They always had the concept of running things that at least at a regional if not a global level. So they’d gone through the exercise of consolidating the comp and ban. They’d looked at how people were remunerated globally, the underlying things that were similar and cause slightly different things, but actually amounts to the same thing. All those kinds of things that are a lot of hard work to do, are really important to the outcome and the efficiency of the organization. They are the ones that are at the top end of that spectrum, were the ones that have already done that work. So when it came to actually executing a bank, you know, back to a really important point about concrete versus abstract, they’d really moved from abstract to as close to concrete as they could on the HR business processes and data and everything else. So the when it came to the absolute binary of running payroll, they were much closer to that. You still have the little weird things in certain jurisdictions where, let’s say, for example, there’s a particular type of employee reward you want to give for high performers. But in one or two jurisdictions, it’s just not legally allowed to pay it as a tax free benefit. It has to be dealt with differently. Even those types of complexities, they’ve started to take into consideration today, the really high performance organizations that can drive through global payroll at an incredible rate.
Brent Skinner 32:51
That’s interesting. Yeah. So it’s almost as if they read the right books, right. Okay. Read all the right articles, okay. But let’s make sure we do, because there’s so many things to bear in mind for across enterprise, not just an HCM, right, or, obviously payroll that to have a straight as streamlined as straightforward of a, an enterprise software ecosystem is possible as you grow. And it’s always occurred to me, gosh, it would be great if every organization could, you know, you think about, you know, small, you know, SMBs, you try to get them thinking about some of these things at the very outset. And it, I think that’s a good exercise, but so many of them are just, you know, they’re, they’re focused on, you know, their immediate, and often it’s very concrete, HR related needs. And, and you can’t really, you can’t really blame them, it’s not as if they’re, they’re just being irresponsible or anything like that. No, that’s just the nature of what it’s all about, at that at those beginning stages, you know, most organizations when they’re small, when they grow to the point where they need some sort of an HCM solution in place, is because all of that, that, that ultimately automatable stuff is has just become too much to handle from a manual standpoint. So, yeah, so many parallels. Eric, have you have you ever encountered an organization that? Or, you know, a situation where you thought, oh, wow, they let that go? A long time? We can fix this, but, it’s gonna take something.
Richard Limpkin 34:35
Yeah, absolutely. And, and I suppose that the first thing I’d say is, would you be surprised by that? I guess not because they part of the need, and part of the reason to go into market for any kind of consolidate solution, particularly global payroll is you’ve potentially gotten to a point where you’re struggling to manage the process, and struggling to manage the complexity. So quite often These things, and particularly payroll has been super under invested in terms of technology. Historically, payroll was always the piece, you know, it’s the real thing of if it’s not broken, don’t try and fix it, you know, back to the earlier points if you if you make a mistake in the transition of a payroll, that can be damaging, so let’s just leave it, leave it alone. And that’s been the kind of premise around payroll for, I guess, for the last 3040 years. But we’re at a critical point now where globalization is driving the need to change that. And businesses just simply cannot continue to scale without addressing that global payroll challenge. And so quite often, customers are in that situation, that we’re actually not sure what the path is from here, you know, we’ve gotten to this point. And that’s part of maturing as a business as well as you go through those different stages of growth, you know, potentially from early domestic business to business doing globalized international business, but from small number jurisdictions to having presence globally. And it’s not the same path for any organization by any stretch, but it’s all part of growing up as a business and your requirements change. So they need to facilitate those and to accommodate your workforce and add even you know, the piece you spoke to earlier around the employee becoming more and more centric to that we think of employee centricity as a key part of our roadmap and with everything we do is around trying to deliver to the employee, the customer of our customers, as we think of them, that’s what’s really changing in the marketplace as well, people’s right to understand their data, where it’s held, how it’s managed, what it’s used for. And that’s really driving out of HR and into payroll as well.
Brent Skinner 36:39
If people taking just sort of a, you can make an argument for it. We could we could discuss this, you know, for hours, but this is just the evolution of the ploys understanding of the relationship to their employer. You know, it’s, it has moved on, I think, just in terms of where we are, today versus say, 100 years ago. I’d be hard pressed to imagine, ploys most employees, asking, you know, what, am I getting out of work aside from, you know, my pay, right. You know, obviously, there were professionals back then, too, but that that was also a career for them. Let’s switch gears here. In the remaining few minutes, we have. Let’s talk about abstract and concrete HCM or where it doesn’t even have to necessarily be abstract and concrete. But what are some of the some of the, challenges that let’s say, the CIO or the CTO? encounters, specifically in HCM? And then and then if we have time, maybe a little bit about, you know, what’s, what’s sort of what’s, what’s the domain of the CFO? What is the CFO concerned about? What are the potential pitfalls for financing the CFO when it comes to global payroll being? You know, maybe not, you know,
Brent Skinner 38:08
Richard Limpkin 38:09
Yeah, yeah, totally. And there’s a, there’s a big breadth of things there. And they are, I guess, the hats they wear are very different. Some of the concerns are very similar. But I suppose ultimately, for me, if I take the CIO first, generally speaking, in most organizations, the protection of and security of all aspects of the corporate information, including the employee aspects of that would fall in that remit. So typically, in that role, the absolute certainty around how data is managed and secured. And increasingly, so the reason it’s even held, and what it’s used for, become really quite Central. So that certainty around how any SaaS provider, or even internal system provider, how they secure the data, how they manage that, how they comply with an increasing number of local legislations around that, like GDPR and other aspects. Data sharding and whether certain aspects of a record could only be stored in certain jurisdictions, all those pieces are becoming increasingly complex. So they’re very much CIO domain today, they tend to be the primary concerns around the ability to operate a complex landscape, but keep things safe. And a lot of that’s about understanding what is where and why. As they’re probably the simplest way of looking at that piece. So very much, very much a compliance concern. Yeah, data, data compliance, compliance with securing the data, storing the data and ultimately processes around it. And again, back to it, you know, back to any process, where are the weak links? Where are the things that are most likely exposed? And how do we manage and mitigate against those so that’s something we use an organization put an insane level of focus on, for all the right reasons and it’s paramount. We do, and the CTO then interestingly, they tend to be less involved in the other than potentially initial selection, and maybe some, some typically in our customer environments that had less involved in the implementation aspects of a global PCM, or, or parallel solution. And they’d quite often land resource in terms of integration and those types of aspects. But if you then look at the CFO, there’s an increasing demand for data, like every organization should be striving to become much more data LED. And we’re seeing the prevalence of Chief Data officers in many organizations and the need to really use data and in a way that can drive dominant change in a business and making the right decisions proactively for the right reasons. And payroll for a lot of organizations is a substantial not for all, but for most organizations is a substantial chunk of the cost, unless you’re in a manufacturing environment where that’s that can often be less so raw materials can kick in, but that that understanding of where the cost is, how the cost is managed, and how efficient that is in delivering for the business in different areas. So being able to consolidate that data, get access to it, again, to your point brand around compliance, making sure that all the filings are accurate and correct. Making sure that what was integral synergy is absolutely what’s posted through journals when it was rolled up and consolidated across multiple FX rates in a period, all those different things are under control. And the CFO is a key stakeholder for us in most global payroll implementations.
Brent Skinner 41:40
Yeah, whether you’re a manufacturing organization or any other kind of organization, you know, whether the payroll, the that final number for payroll is the largest number or not, it’s going to be significant number for any organization. And just like any other type of cost, it’s going to be very much of interest to the CFO. So in there in that CFO is going to want to have as much insight I like you said into exactly what’s going on with that number. It all conceivably all the time. So yeah, absolutely. And and you know, what the data piece on the data security piece with the CIO, that you mentioned earlier? Obviously, that’s also employee sentiment thing, right? Because,
Richard Limpkin 42:30
yeah, it’s so it’s so key. And you know, we’ve seen a huge amount of that a big, big piece of like, GDPR is a much talked about thing. But a lot of what it really mandated was actually common sense behavior around data. And there was nothing really in it. That didn’t make sense, when you understand legislation and what it was mandating in terms of, really, really what was central in the theme was putting the individual that the data relates to in control of that data. And it was really important step in that direction that ultimately, you as the person Own your identity on all aspects of that. And you’re lending that to other people to use for a purpose, which is really important. So that you’re absolutely right, that sentiment is is fundamentally shifting. And we’re absolutely seeing it in the evening, the employee environment employees being highly demanding, and potentially rightly so as to why you have the data on what it’s used for, how much of it is long term storage versus short term usage, all those types of dimensions are shifting and will continue to shift. Ultimately, I see the trajectory for the PCM market is likely to fragment not in the near term, but into almost a decentralized model where the person owns their record. And that record effectively becomes a HR passport that travels with the individual as they move through their career. And that kind of centralized storage, we’re starting to see it with digital wallets, and certain aspects of the record in terms of maybe certification for education and courses, you’ve sat, but that will propagate. And that’s becoming increasingly important.
Brent Skinner 44:09
I think you’re absolutely correct about that. And we spoke with a fellow on podcast, gosh, about a month and a half ago now, Mitch zanger, who’s the founder of sink tricks, and it’s, it’s nothing to do payroll, but, but it’s, um, it’s this this idea that the employee should own his or her own data, that it does not belong to an organization, you know, we have entire data models that are built around the idea that, you know, that that, that the organization owns the data and that that needs to change. I just leave you with this with this. This idea. You know, it’s so interesting, that we ended up talking about GDPR and, and, and how a person’s individual data belongs to them. This this idea that it should it’s so interesting, because I thought you know, to myself was walking my daughter Down the road and looked at she, she wanted to go some down someone’s driveway. And I said, Well, that’s somebody else’s driveway, we can’t, you know, that’s their private property. And then, and I kind of jokingly talked to her about private property is very important. You know, she’s only She’s not even three yet she doesn’t didn’t notice. Right. I’m primary, but the idea is that
Brent Skinner 45:21
it was kind of a funny thing. But, um, but the same time, right? It did occur to me
Brent Skinner 45:27
in that moment that, you know, we don’t, you know, somebody is not just allowed to walk in your property and just set up a tent or whatever, you know, you get to invite them, they need to be invited, they need permission should be the same with their data online.
Richard Limpkin 45:39
Yeah, 100%, Brendan, and if you if you take it to the next step, as well, like some organizations would fear that in terms of employees being more empowered and in control of the data. But I look at that as a hugely positive step for everyone involved in the process. If you’re looking for good, clean, accurate data, where are you most likely to get that will, the person that it relates to who knows the absolute facts how many dependents they have, what the age of the children are those little simple things that in some jurisdictions influence how you’re paid, put that into self service, which is what a lot of our customers are starting to adopt. And numerous platform is actually pushing that to the employee to self manage. what it also does, then essentially, is it protects you as the employer, because if you don’t have the data, you’re not ever going to have an issue with that being held or why you’re holding it, you’re actually letting the employee drive that themselves for the very distinct purpose. They know why they’re providing it. They know it’s accurate, and everyone wins. So I see those being really positive steps in the industry, and I think they’ll accelerate.
Brent Skinner 46:43
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, that’s another that would be such an interesting cover, maybe, you know, maybe we can make that the subject of our next podcast.
Yeah. Well, thank
Brent Skinner 47:00
you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it. This has been just fascinating.