Millions of people across the UK are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. Wages are not keeping pace as rising inflation rates push up the price of everyday groceries, with many unable to meet basic needs. Britons are in fact more worried about cost-of-living than Covid.

The time has never been more important for employees to be paid the right amount, on time.

However, worryingly, our research reveals that one in 10 retail and hospitality staff across the UK are concerned their salary won’t appear in their account on payday. The same number also don’t trust their employer will pay them the right amount each month.

HR teams have duty of care to ensure payroll processes and systems are up-to-date, so pay cheques are one less thing their employees have to worry about.

The price of poor payroll

As well as retail and hospitality feeling the impact of poor payroll, the same also goes for those working in health services. Our study found 16%, around 480,000 workers in the UK worry that the contents of their pay packet might not be what they’re expecting. In addition, 69,000 teachers also don’t trust they will be paid the right salary on time each month.

For many, personal finances have been seriously stretched over the last 18 months. The fear and stress of not being paid the right amount, or on time, can negatively impact workers’ mental health and their ability to manage personal finances.

Overwhelmingly, 77% UK workers now expect to receive digital payslips from their employer. Yet one in five UK workers said anxiety over poor communication around pay makes them feel like looking for a new job. This rises to 22% in the medical and health services, and hospitality and leisure sectors.

It’s clear that the price of poor payroll is too high for businesses to get wrong. What’s more, on top of payroll woes, new research from Deloitte reveals the cost of bad mental health has increased to £56bn in 2020-21, compared to £45bn in 2019. This is a clear indicator HR teams need to update processes, including payroll, to eliminate any risk of bad mental health.

Getting payroll right, on time, every time

One easy way to get payroll right is to digitise payslips and payroll documents. Not only are digital documents more sought after by employees – as our research suggests – but they’re also far more efficient for those who manage payroll each month. By ditching paper-based payroll, HR and payroll teams will save an enormous amount of time and cost each month while simultaneously improving employee experience.

Adopting cloud functionally from companies such as IRIS is also recommended. If the past couple of years has showcased anything, it’s that people can do their jobs effectively while working remotely. What this means for payroll is that employees want – and need – to be able to access key information about their pay from any location at any time, on their own terms. Employees don’t want to email someone and wait every time they need to change a detail or find an old payslip.

Not only can cloud-based payroll help meet the demands of an ever-evolving workforce, it also adds a layer of convenience for employees that will help put an end to payroll stress.

All the above leads to a more productive and efficient workforce – whatever the industry – as it guarantees employees’ wages will land in their bank accounts correctly and when they are expecting it to, with fewer delays. Also, for HR teams, having effective HR processes in place provides them with far more flexibility and time, so they can actively respond to the needs of their people and focus on the work they love.

Time to make payroll simple

HR teams need to re-think payroll to combat these stark figures. This starts with taking a new approach that not only meets modern-day expectations, but also the changing economic landscape, so no employee is left with bad mental health due to fears of being left out of pocket.

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