6 Recruiting Strategies to Improve Your Payroll Staffing

By Robert Half on March 15, 2021 at 5:00pm

Paying employees on time and accurately is a mission-critical process for any business. Even small delays or errors in payroll can create big headaches and a lot of stress — for the company and its workers. And during uncertain times, especially, payroll glitches can leave employees wondering about the health of the business. That uncertainty can undermine staff morale and even prompt valued team members to leave.

With so much on the line, you want to do all you can to recruit highly skilled professionals for your payroll team. Of course, you’re not the only employer looking to hire this talent. The Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals notes that payroll managers are one of the most in-demand roles this year. And payroll administrators, who help companies pay staff on time and comply with new regulatory guidelines, are also sought-after by many organizations.

If you want to compete effectively for top payroll pros, you need to make sure your business stands out — and your hiring process is efficient. The following six payroll staffing strategies can help:

1. Set the criteria for your search

Be clear about your hiring criteria from the outset so you can attract the best payroll candidates. That can also help you streamline your hiring process. Taking too long to hire is one big mistake many companies make when hiring, as it can easily lead to missed opportunities to secure top-notch candidates.

When setting criteria for a payroll position, consider technical skills. More than likely, you’re looking for a candidate who has competencies in data entry, payroll processing software and systems. You might also seek Excel expertise. And perhaps experience with multi-state and international payroll processing is a must for your organization as well.

And don’t forget about the value of soft skills: Payroll clerks and payroll managers alike should possess attributes such as a customer service mindset, dependability, a strong attention to detail and integrity.

2. Provide competitive compensation

If you find your business has payroll staffing challenges, compensation could be an issue in hiring, retention or both. Compare what you’re offering with the latest local averages, which you can find using Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide along with our Salary Calculator.

Let’s say you’re a manager in Las Vegas who needs to hire a payroll supervisor. The midpoint salary for that role in your city is $77,010. A candidate with less-than-typical experience may be willing to accept a salary below that figure. And a professional with a rich work history, Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) credential and stellar technical abilities might be aiming for a higher rate of pay.

3. Offer compelling perks and benefits

Benefits and perks can play as significant a role as salary in your ability to attract and retain top talent. So, consider your overall compensation package. What are you offering now, and could you provide more?

According to Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide research, health insurance, dental insurance and paid time off are among the benefits candidates seek most. As for perks, flexible schedules top the list for most workers, followed by remote work options.

Regarding those top perks: Keep in mind that the more flexible your company can be with scheduling and work locations, the more job seekers will be tempted to say “yes” to your job offer. Many payroll functions today are accessible via cloud-based platforms, so staff don’t need to be physically in the office 100% of the time. Even as more businesses start to reopen as pandemic-related, work-from-home mandates ease, it’s likely many professionals will want to continue working remotely.

4. Search on multiple fronts

The rise of remote work has opened the door to hiring candidates from locations outside of your area. To cast the widest net, you’ll want to use a range of recruiting tactics, from posting job openings online to broadening your network of referrals. Also, take advantage of your company’s social media outlets to maximize your employer brand, advertise job openings and form relationships with potential candidates.

Be on the lookout for passive candidates, too. Many top-notch payroll professionals aren’t actively looking for a new job but are open to finding out more about potential opportunities. To find these passive candidates, step up your networking efforts, including through virtual business events. Also, consider working with a staffing specialist. Recruiters often have leads on passive job seekers (as well as candidates located outside of your local market).

You might also try recruiting from within. Who better to serve as your next payroll manager than your super-sharp payroll clerk? When you promote existing staff, you can save significant time and resources otherwise spent on recruiting and training. You’re also creating an environment where excellence and hard work are rewarded, which boosts morale.

5. Move faster with payroll staffing

Most employers take their time when deciding who to bring on board. After all, hiring a candidate who will align well with the job and your organizational culture is important, considering that the cost of a bad hire can be quite high. But again, if you wait too long to make your move, your first choice may lose interest and accept another job offer.

Streamlining the hiring process can help here. Keep the committee on the small side so that you’ll have fewer calendars to coordinate. Try to schedule all video interviews with candidates over one or two days, and then make a decision as quickly as possible.

Also, rather than checking references and backgrounds before making a formal job offer to a promising hire, flip it around: Make the offer contingent upon satisfactory checks.

6. Consider engaging consultants

You need a new payroll clerk, administrator or manager either because someone has left, or the company is growing. Either way, for as long as there is a vacancy, other employees will need to pick up the slack. And taking on extra duties can lead to stress and wear down an otherwise productive team.

A payroll specialist who can provide temporary support to your business, working either remotely or on-site, can help you get through a rough patch. And, if that payroll professional proves to be an invaluable addition to your team, you might even decide to offer them a full-time position.

Recruiting skilled payroll staff can be challenging in any market because what these professionals do is so important to keeping a business running strong. By evaluating and refining your recruiting strategies for payroll staffing, you’ll be well-positioned to stand out as an employer of choice to in-demand candidates.

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