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Managing the challenge of employee support, HR and payroll as a new start-up

18 April 2019

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In the early stages of a new venture often times the employee support services can be overlooked and viewed as not necessarily a high priority. The focus on growing the business and thriving in new markets can be all consuming with little time left to consider the more back-office support needs, so it is not uncommon for start-ups to avoid the administrative employee support tasks for fear of being bogged down in the minutiae. So how can start-ups ensure they support their employees and are compliant with local employment legislation whilst also focusing on their core talent strategy?

Intertrust, a global leader in providing expert administrative services to clients operating and investing in the international business environment, hosted a consultation day at a global co-working office in Hong Kong. Engaging in direct conversations with start-up businesses, we discussed the difficulties they face specifically around employee support and payroll requirements, in order to better understand their needs and share our perspectives on best practices. This article outlines some of the common themes discussed.

Lack of automated HR and payroll management process

Nearly all start-ups highlighted that their payroll processes are carried out manually without the support of an automated task management system. As a result, payroll execution and HR compliance, (such as submitting notifications to inland revenues departments), is time-consuming, inefficient and inflexible. To address these issues, a professional services provider can be the most cost-effective solution, whilst not replacing the personal approach that a good, in-house team can provide, outsourcing administrative functions often makes good business sense. Introduction of employee self-service (ESS) technology can automate the administrative processes and provide a range of benefits including employee profile setup, processing of expenses, in addition to other HR-related reporting and analysis. Latest ESS technology is also mobile platform friendly, enabling employers to have full visibility and control over their payroll mandates and putting employees in charge of their HR issues.

Potential non-compliance with employment

Most start-ups have ambitious plans to expand their businesses both locally and internationally. Many companies shared plans to double or triple their headcounts in a short period of time, growth that could out-pace the capacity of their in-house HR team. More often than not, these growing companies will need external assistance to keep abreast of local employment regulations and to align local contracts in order to remain compliant.

Lack of integrated regional HR approach hindering business expansion

Some of those we spoke to described a situation where they are using multiple service providers for duplicate services across different locations. This raises concerns around the consistency of system application and data management. In particular, this is an issue for start-ups who are typically entering into new markets, they can encounter problems with system integration and compatibility, whilst duplicated communications leading to extra costs and efforts in setup.

Sound HR and payroll solutions help attract talent

A robust HR function provides confidence for employees, especially in newly established companies, and in return helps to attract and retain talent. In particular, an operational and structured payroll system gives employees the peace of mind and comfort of knowing that they will be paid on time and accurately, meaning they can focus on what they signed up for – to grow with the company. To support business growth, in-house HR teams play an important role in talent acquisition and retention, whilst more and more companies tend to outsource the routine administration of compensation and benefits, e.g. processing of payment and related general support to external service providers so to free up their resources to foster talent.

How we can help

Whether your organisation is thinking of outsourcing its complete payroll process or just looking for an extra pair of hands at business-critical times, we can offer you a full suite of services tailored to your needs. By combining our extensive experience with the latest technology, we provide a variety of employee and payroll solutions on a local, regional or global scale. If you’re interested or would like to find out more about how we can support you, please do get in touch with our experts.

Download our Payroll services brochure for more details

Read related article: Why HR teams need a robust digital management system