Is cultural fit important in payroll?

Is cultural fit important in payroll?

You know a payroll operation is doing a good job when the phones don’t ring.

Conversely, if a pay office is getting a significant amount of calls or emails following a payroll day, perhaps this is an indication as to the inefficiencies, errors or other problems in the payroll process. 

However, the reality is that no matter how efficient or compliant your payroll operation is, the best payroll teams are in regular proactive communication with their customers, the employees and managers of the organisation.

So how important is culture in a payroll team? In my view, it is extremely important. 

The payroll department is often a litmus test of the morale of the organisation. So when you are looking for people in your payroll team, it’s important to consider both skills and cultural fit in the mix.

Interview questions around cultural alignment are the most frequently overlooked part of most hiring processes. The majority of interview processes focus on the immediate skills match and deliverables when, in fact, any successful long-term hire is equally dependable on the right cultural fit.

The other thing to consider carefully is that people tend not to reveal their ‘true personality’ in a formal interview situation, so that in itself can produce an obstacle when deciding if someone is the right fit for your organisation.

In addressing interview questions, we suggest to our clients they look very carefully at both their company values and the value proposition of working there. To ensure a good fit, make sure you ask the candidate for examples or their opinions that might relate to those values. Perhaps ask about a previous company culture that they really enjoyed working in. Ensure that you drill into detailed questions around what made that business such an enjoyable one to work for.

In terms of creating the best interview environment, my advice is to break down everything that is perceived to be the ‘traditional interview’ if you can. Try and meet the person at their local café or somewhere (they suggest) that is not perceived as a traditional work environment. They are much more likely to get a true sense of someone’s personality where they are in their own environment.

No matter how you conduct your recruitment campaign for your next payroll professional, just ensure that cultural fit isn’t overlooked. Payroll customers, after all, are the biggest asset in your organisation. We need to ensure we provide great service to them so they can spend their time focusing on doing the best job they can in a great environment too.

Tracy Angwin is the founder and managing director of the Australian Payroll Association.


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