Singaporean companies should focus on the strategic aspects of HR and leave the day-to-day functions to professional managed services providers, who can drive efficiency, reduce costs and improve security.
All businesses strive to achieve operational efficiency and keep costs tightly under control. This can be particularly difficult in Singapore, where recruitment - and retention - is seen as a major challenge for businesses operating amidst evolving regulation. HR professionals are key to attracting and retaining talent and establishing policies for employee’s growth and development, but they get stuck doing payroll, office management and reactive tasks, which massively restricts the more strategic elements of the role. It is time to consider moving your payroll operations to trusted HR service providers to undertake the regular, but vital, basic HR functions. Here are three ways in which this approach benefits your business.
It helps you to focus on strategic HR activities
The role of HR is changing. It is no longer just an administrative function with a focus on payroll, statutory compliance and maintaining personnel records, but rather has evolved to supporting long-term business growth within organisations.
Whilst payroll doesn’t contribute to revenue, it is, of course, a crucial function. If payroll is carried out poorly, it will adversely impact an organisation. Handling payroll effectively requires significant time and a deep knowledge of wide-ranging statutory requirements – and this is the core skillset of a professional managed services provider.
Such providers can reduce the risk of HR resource crunch due to employee turnover and failing to comply with local regulations, allowing you to focus on truly transformative HR projects. They can give you the time to build your brand and build an employee value proposition.
It harnesses the full power of technology
Advances in technology are helping businesses to scale and provide a better employee experience. A single portal to access HR and payroll data will be more convenient for the company and their employees as everything is under one platform.
As businesses grow, they require access to more data for analysis and have increased reporting demands. HR professionals can plan the activities in advance when they have complete visibility of payroll processes and operations. Employees also want technology that can offer self-service access to their payroll information such as payslips, leave applications, expense claims and timesheet data. Payroll processes will certainly be more efficient when the data collection is changed from manual to electronic.
Working with a specialist external provider and their online tools allows you to improve efficiency and enhance the employee experience.
It reduces costs whilst increasing security
Payroll providers offer a cost-effective and secure option by being a one-stop shop for payroll processes and technology. The alternative is for organisations to engage with and manage multiple providers, separately offering payroll services or payroll software, and paying for the software licence cost and maintenance cost, which increases the total cost of processing significantly. You will receive the latest technology from a professional payroll services provider, and their experts will also provide local compliance and data security to minimise risk.
It is critical to select a managed services provider with relevant security certification and standards to protect sensitive payroll data and personal information. International standards such as International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3402, ISO 27001 should form part of your assessment criteria when you select a payroll servicer provider.
There are significant benefits, both financially and operationally, when moving your HR administration and payroll to a professional managed services provider that has a large, local team of administrative and specialist staff.
Your own HR team can then be more involved with driving strategy for the core business to help deliver future growth. A specialist provider has the expertise and focused functions to manage regulatory change and to provide a consistent and efficient service encompassing the latest technology. The incorporation of automated services improves the employee experience and safeguards your employees’ information.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Shin Ee Gwee is the Head of HR & Payroll at TMF Singapore. She joined TMF Group in 2016 as Operations Associate Director. She was also the Local Security Officer and Data Protection Officer at TMF Singapore before moving to HR & Payroll in 2018.
Shin Ee spent over a decade as a management consultant, working with organisation across industries in APAC on business process improvement, shared services design and implementation, project management and organisation re-design.
Shin Ee holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Economics and Finance from University of Bristol, UK.