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10 Trends that will Shape the Future of Payroll Management in 2019

Updated: Aug 28

Chiradeep BasuMallick Contributor, HR Technologist

A well-thought-out payroll management system will make a difference in a highly competitive, candidate-centric job market. We share the top ten trends every payroll manager must keep in mind, in order to make a genuine difference in 2019.

With unemployment levels plummeting and the skills gap widening, employers must go the extra mile to attract top talent and ensure that they stay on with the company. Before perks and engagement plans, streamlining payroll is essential for employers, regardless of industry or size. That’s why we are witnessing a flood of new technologies which aim to transform payroll management in 2019. Not only will it make HR managers’ lives easier, reducing manual efforts at month-end, it will also position digitalized payroll as a value add to retain high-performing employees. Here are ten payroll management trends we can expect to mature this year.


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  1. Automated Payroll will be Entirely GDPR-friendly - Payroll automation is founded on the idea that employee data is seamlessly available across locations and interfaces. The GDPR went into effect in the middle of last year; any new payroll management solution being introduced to the market will now be GDPR-compliant.

  2. Payroll will be Audit-ready from Day One - Instead of scrambling at quarter-end or year-end to collate and reconcile payroll information, employers will adopt automated report generation that allows electronic submission, without any complex bureaucratic formalities.

  3. Gig Workers will Enter your Payroll - The distinction between pay rolled employees and third-party workers will start to fade as companies increasingly rely on gig workers. This goes beyond blue collar jobs, encompassing high-value projects led by experienced consultants and the enlightened ‘digital nomad’.

  4. Bots will Guide Query Resolution - Employees running from one department to the other, trying to get queries answered from HR, finance, or even accounts, is a familiar picture to us all. In 2019 AI-based chatbots (deployed as standalone apps or part of a larger employee service suite) will be a common answer to this problem.

  5. Manual Payroll will Finally become Obsolete - With payroll automation finally becoming extremely cost-effective as well as easy-to-deploy, a larger number of small businesses will abandon manual, paper-driven processes. This will be driven by increasing familiarity with tech and a boom in the payroll solutions market.

Also read: How to Automate Payroll for SMBs: A Complete Guide

  • Weekly or Monthly payroll won’t be the Only Way - Some solutions have already started rolling out flexible payroll systems that align wages to a specific date every month or even support one-time payments as part of a company’s regularized disbursal cycle. Interestingly, this is perfectly in-line with gig worker requirements. “Payroll companies like Gusto are increasingly offering alternatives to bi-weekly or monthly pay periods. For example, Gusto recently launched Flexible Pay, which allows employees on-demand access to funds without having to wait until payday, for little or no cost,” said Rick Chen, Communications Lead at Gusto.

  • Unbanked Employees will be Welcomed - Contrary to popular belief, a huge portion of the global population remains unbanked, even in developed economies. Platforms like Gusto will help bring this workforce segment into the payroll management ambit, easing access to the salaries they have rightfully earned. 

Also read: WiseWage and SOLE Financials Join Hands to Serve the Unbanked Workforce

  • Disbursal will be Instantaneous - Taking off from the widespread popularity of mobile payment applications, payroll management will also explore instant payment options, so that workers do not have to wait for a certain period after their shift/project/seasonal tenue with a company has ended.

  • Financial Wellness will be Part of the Package - By advocating the need for financial wellness, employers can make sure their workforce is equipped to maintain a certain quality of life and correctly utilize their allocated wages. In 2019, financial wellness benefits will be a way to drive employee satisfaction without constant pay hikes.

  • Pay Transparency will be the Norm Everywhere - From ensuring that salary and wage levels are kept private, progressive employers will look at sharing salary levels publicly – from white-collar ranks to part-time workers. This will go a long way in reinforcing employer brand, communicating the values of fair pay and equality.

Also read: 5 Critical Factors to Consider for Evaluating Payroll Technology

These are the top ten payroll management trends we expect to witness over the next few months. Motivated by large scale digitization on one hand, and a push towards more inclusive workplace practices on the other, 2019 will be the year when payroll management technologies are used for positive transformation.

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