We say it all the time: Small business owners “wear a lot of hats.” But what does that actually look like day to day?
Let’s say you have a client who runs a winery. It’s a smaller, newer winery, and between the vineyard workers and bar managers, they don’t have the bandwidth to hire all the staff they’d like to just yet. As a result they, inevitably, wear a lot of hats. Today, they’re wearing their HR hat.
The end of the pay period is looming, so instead of walking the sunny vineyards or telling customers about their latest varietals over glasses of wine, they’re stuck in the back office crunching numbers to get paychecks out on time. It takes longer than anticipated because keeping up with payroll tax rates while accurately calculating liabilities is no walk in the park — and they really don’t want the mess of a payroll mistake on their hands.
Mid-calculation, there’s a knock at the door. It’s a tasting room employee asking for time off next week to go see grandma … which leaves an unfillable hole in the schedule. They badly need to hire another sommelier as soon as possible, but how to go about finding (and attracting) a great candidate? Yet, another problem to add to the pile.
Oh, and did we mention the filing deadline for tax season is just around the corner?
Tired yet? Your client probably is.
Just because small businesses don’t have full, dedicated HR departments like larger corporations doesn’t mean they don’t deal with payroll and HR tasks. They’re woven into the course of everyday work — and they can take up an immense amount of time, especially when done in-house.
Read on to find out why HR is one hat your clients (maybe) shouldn’t wear. We’ll cover:
- Payroll and HR responsibilities
- Benefits of an integrated payroll and HR solution
- When your clients should consider investing in payroll and HR software
- Finding the right provider
What responsibilities do payroll and HR include?
The full scope is bigger than you might realize. Payroll and HR play a vital role in the employee experience from the first interview to the exit interview, impacting employee engagement, retention and so much more along the way. It’s a heavy responsibility. And the HR manager (who may be the small business owner wearing the HR manager hat) usually takes on all of it. Here are the main tasks that fall under the payroll/HR umbrella:
Payroll and compliance
First up, we have the core duties you likely think of as traditional payroll and HR. From navigating complex tax codes to keeping up with ever-changing federal, state and local labor law requirements, managing payroll and benefits while staying in compliance requires significant cost, time and effort. And the more employees your clients have, the more complicated it gets.
Payroll processing and tax management
Paying employees might sound simple enough, but there’s a lot that goes into processing payroll and payroll taxes in a timely, accurate and compliant manner, including:
- Determining how much employees should be paid each pay period, considering hourly rates, salaries and overtime
- Setting and maintaining pay schedules
- Complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) tip credit minimum wage requirements
- Running reports for payroll history, bank transactions, contractor payments, paid time off, tax payments and more
- Issuing, filing and sending W-2 and 1099 forms to employees
- Calculating, filing and paying federal, state and local payroll taxes on time to the appropriate agencies
While crucial to maintaining a roster of healthy and happy employees, managing employee benefits can be a tedious, year-round process that consists of quite a few tasks:
- Overseeing open enrollment, enrollment for new hires and for employees who experienced mid-year qualifying life events
- Keeping track of eligible employees, eligibility waiting periods, rules and effective dates — and sending employees reminders about their enrollment deadline
- Managing employee elections, helping employees understand their benefit options and alerting them to benefit changes year-to-year
- Working with 401(k), health insurance, dental and vision providers and transferring enrollment data to plan carriers
- Calculating contribution amounts for individual employees and dependent costs to make the proper payroll deductions
Documentation and compliance
Small business HR functions also extend to maintaining employee records required by law, like I-9 forms, in case of a dispute or audit. Further, your clients need to stay compliant with local, state and federal employment laws and regulations at all times. Here are just a handful of federal laws from the US Department of Labor (DOL):
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Affordable Care Act (ACA)
- Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
- National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
- Equal Pay Act (EPA)
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act (CRA)
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
Recruiting and onboarding
Next, your clients will most likely hit a point where they need to grow their team. And when they do, payroll and HR operations will be a central part of the process from the first job post to first day.
Job posting and hiring
Not being able to fill an open role quickly can be a real setback, costing your clients time and money. That’s why casting an effective net is so important. But doing so requires constant maintenance, including:
- Creating job descriptions and distributing posts to job boards and social media
- Managing applications and resumes, ranking top candidates and removing unqualified applicants from the pile
- Scheduling and conducting interviews with candidates and leadership
- Sending offer letters and rejection notices
Reference and background checks
If your clients think they’ve found a winner, they’re not out of the woods until they’ve properly screened the candidate. This process includes:
- Initiating a background check and drug testing
- Maintaining a legal workforce by verifying employment eligibility
- Confirming an employee’s identity, address, licenses, and past work and education history
- Scanning the national criminal database, sex offender registry and terrorist watchlist
After your clients have made sure their candidate of choice checks out, their next HR duty is properly onboarding the new hire to their business. As you might guess, this calls for quite a bit of paperwork:
- Sending new hires onboarding packets with I-9 and W-4 forms, direct deposit info, employee handbook, signatures for policy documents and more
- Reporting new hires and independent contractors to the government
- Transferring data from the onboarding process to the payroll system
- Complying with recordkeeping requirements for new employees
- Screening for Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) eligibility and completing and filing forms 8850 and 9061 with state workforce agencies to claim the credit
Employee and time management
Once your clients have their teams in place, then comes the work of managing each member of that employee base, individually and in relation to each other.
Tracking employees’ time on the clock and off — and transferring that data into the payroll system — is essential to preventing time theft and running accurate payrolls. Here’s what’s included:
- Building and publishing new schedules, editing existing ones, posting open shifts and managing shift swaps
- Calculating estimated payroll and overtime expenses
- Tracking labor by cost centers, departments, jobs or projects
- Managing employees’ current, used and available family leave, vacation, personal, state-mandated sick and other time off programs, while handling requests
Aside from accurately tracking employees’ time, it’s also important to stay on top of their performance management — not only to ensure they’re doing their best work for the business but also to ensure they feel valued and invested in. This includes:
- Evaluating employees’ work at regular intervals
- Establishing a system of measurement for employee performance
- Giving employees markers for what they can improve on
- Developing a plan and working with employees to help them grow
Resolving employee issues
Although business owners hope their team will get along 100% of the time, employees are only human. Humans who are often working in high-stress environments. Disagreements are bound to arise, and occasionally they’ll require a formal dispute resolution process, which can include:
- Discussing the issue with the employee’s supervisor
- Processing a formal written complaint from the employee
- Facilitating a meeting with the parties involved to come to a decision
- Handling decision appeals
- Ensuring the entire process follows the business’ policies and procedures
While never a fun part of the job, circumstances sometimes make it necessary to terminate an employee. But just because your client lets an employee go, doesn’t mean they can let go of their responsibilities to that employee just yet. Offboarding includes:
- Drawing up necessary legal documents and retrieving business equipment
- Ensuring terminated employees know when to expect their last paycheck
- Explaining options for post-employment continuation of health coverage, such as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
- Conducting confidential exit interviews
What benefits does an integrated payroll and HR solution provide?
As you can see, payroll and HR come with a long list of tasks that are critical to a business’ ability to operate from day to day. For business owners, taking care of it all on their own can be more than just time consuming and burnout inducing. It can be risky.
But if your clients are still on the fence about adding a payroll and HR software solution to their business, you’ll want to tell them about the benefits of integrated tech that manages HR and payroll from the same database. Read on to discover five of the best:
1. Worry-free compliance
Compliance was created to ensure anti-discrimination, health and safety for employees. So it’s a big deal, and falling out of it due to simple errors can really cost your clients. Depending on the violation, consequences could include reputational harm, hefty fines, backpay, legal fees if the employee files a lawsuit against the employer, audits and court decisions to shut down their business.
Payroll and HR software can help your clients stay on the right side of labor laws. A modern solution will keep up to date with any changes in the law, manage and digitize required employee documentation, store records securely in the cloud and even supply annual required federal and state labor law posters.
2. Automated processes
As we just mentioned, even small errors can have serious fallout in the world of payroll and HR. And the more time your clients spend on manual processes (like processing payroll), the easier it is for them to get overwhelmed and make a mistake. Automating recurring processes with software solutions is a great way to eliminate manual work, save time and reduce human error.
Do your clients need to hire a new server fast? Access a quick way to build schedules? Get help sticking to a pay schedule? They can automate processes for everything from recruiting to onboarding, time tracking, payroll processing and more.
3. Integrated systems
Speaking of time sucks, your clients shouldn’t let disconnected systems steal precious hours from their day. If they currently have separate solutions for payroll, HR, time tracking and hiring that don’t work well together, it can quickly become a slippery slope of data integration problems, usage challenges, reporting issues and ultimately more time and money down the drain.
They can eliminate friction and speed up their whole operation with integrated payroll and HR tech. Essentially, it’ll allow them to stay on top of people management tasks without spending too much time or money on it. The right software means freedom from the back office and getting back to the important stuff, like growing their business.
4. Enhanced insights
If your clients are currently struggling to make informed business decisions due to a lack of insight into their business and employee base, it could be because their current payroll and HR solutions don’t provide ample access to data.
The right tech won’t leave your clients in the dark. They can improve their employee data collection with a cloud-based system of employee records that produces rich profiles of each employee’s personal data, certifications, trainings, reviews, time cards, payroll and more.
5. Support to rely on
No one wants to feel alone — especially when wading through the high-stakes waters of tax rates and labor laws. Up until now, your clients may have been doing it all on their own or settling for generic call center support. But they don’t have to.
From resource hubs filled with HR tools and templates, to live one-on-one support, to a dedicated partner, modern solutions have so much more to offer when it comes to support. Encourage your clients to access a solution that’s backed by a team of payroll and HR professionals who have the training and know-how to answer tough questions, field compliance issues and help protect their business from fines.
When should your clients consider investing in payroll and HR software?
We’ve gone over the basics and the benefits. But how do you know if it’s the right time for your clients to invest in payroll and HR software? Here are a few scenarios to look out for:
- They don’t have a software solution and have been doing things manually — the overwhelmed HR manager needs support to keep the business safe
- They’re working with a provider that doesn’t meet all of their business needs
- They have a piecemeal provider or bought separate people management solutions that don’t integrate well
- They’re a growing business with locations in multiple states or plans to expand to other states in the near future
- They’re struggling with high turnover rates and looking to hire quickly and efficiently
- They have a high level of tip calculations and different, complex shift types
- They’ve learned the dangers of handling payroll and HR on their own the hard way through a labor dispute, lawsuit or fine
Ready to connect your clients with an all-in-one provider?
Baseball, fedora or bucket — whichever kinds of hats your clients wear, HR manager shouldn’t have to be one of them.
Whether it’s the end-of-year scramble to get their house in order, fast-approaching tax filing deadline, a really busy Tuesday or that awesome talk you just had with them about the merits of integrated HR and payroll software, whenever your clients get the itch to find a payroll provider, you want to be ready.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered.
Global Payments Integrated is working with Heartland, another Global Payments company, to bring you a secure, online, all-in-one payroll and HR solution: Payroll+. Our solution is specifically designed with people in mind, offering easy access to support, transparent pricing and flexible plans to cover your clients’ people management needs now and into the future. Payroll+ includes:
- Payroll processing and tax management
- Applicant tracking and onboarding
- Time tracking
- HR support
With Payroll+, your clients can handle tasks with ease and confidence, reduce errors and stay compliant, make informed decisions based on valuable insights and grow without limitations with a solution that scales with their business. Most importantly, they can get out of the back office and back to leading their business.
Our solution is backed by VIP customer service at whatever level they need and is supported by a self-service mobile app that gives employees and managers on-the-go access to their personal info, schedules, time off and more.
Contact us today to learn about our solution and find out which Payroll+ plan is right for your clients.