One of the important developments in HR technology over the past 10 years or so has been the continuing development of employee-centric software that has put more and more information and control over so many aspects of HR into the hands of individual employees. From the beginning, employee self-service helped employees better understand, maintain and validate important data like residence, banking details, benefits and retirement plan participation and contributions, beneficiaries and much more. I’ve seen firsthand the evolution of these self-service solutions and how they have increasingly provided more value and valuable services to employees by giving them more control over their own data, while also helping HR and payroll professionals to spend less time simply maintaining records and more time on higher value-added programs and services for their employees.
But one critical area of HR information that has essentially always been outside direct employee access, inquiry and understanding is perhaps the one that matters most to a given employee: details about and insights into their next paycheck. Certainly, even the early and definitely the second and third generations of employee self-service applications provided employees with visibility into their prior paychecks and pay advice, but this access was, by its nature, always backward-facing. An employee could only see and react to their next paycheck after payroll processing was complete, all known adjustments were made, the check run and direct deposit processes executed by payroll. And while having online — or later, mobile-based — access to completed paychecks was a great step forward for most organizations, the retrospective nature of these applications didn’t address many common employee concerns. Mainly, the ability to notice and attempt to remedy any errors that might lead to incorrect payroll amounts; furthermore, for hourly or workers with forms of variable pay like commissions, the ability to “see” their upcoming net pay amount in advance of payday was unavailable. Having early awareness and insight into net pay allows employees much greater flexibility and assurance in planning for their upcoming expenses: bills, savings and even a fun night out with their families.
These gaps in employee insight, awareness and control over their own HR and payroll data are why the release of Paycom’s Beti™ payroll experience is so important and, I think, the next important step in the evolution of employee self-service capabilities. With Beti, now employees are doing their own payroll. To elaborate further, employees gain the ability to view their upcoming paycheck — including net pay — in advance, review the details of the payroll calculations, raise any potential issues or concerns to HR and payroll prior to payday through Paycom’s Ask Here™, and use this information to plan their next few days and weeks of budgeting, spending and saving. Oh, and I almost forgot the best part of the Beti capability: Employees are empowered to approve their own paycheck prior to payroll actually being finalized. And since the entire world lives on their mobile phones, the process is supported by alerts, notifications and a powerful and intuitive employee self-service application. According to one early client adopter, “Beti gives us a great opportunity to put the accountability on the employee and fix things in advance of payroll so that it is correct. We’re excited to offer this to our employees.”
While the benefit to individual employees from Beti is clear and significant, the organization and the payroll department will see some important process improvements as well. With all employees reviewing their paycheck information in advance, errors, adjustments and updates can largely be made prior to completion of the payroll — thus greatly reducing the number of post-payroll adjustments, check reversals, ledger corrections and more. And I think, over time and with increased active employee participation in the process and the enhanced level of transparency the Beti provides, the true value, image and reputation of the HR and payroll function will be augmented.
Congratulations to the team at Paycom for innovating in an area that many industry observers feel is one that is devoid of opportunities to actually innovate: how we engage our employees with their paychecks. This is an important and needed next step in empowering employees, giving them more agency with their HR and payroll data, and driving better and more meaningful levels of adoption and engagement with their organizations.