The lockdown may have compromised delivery of a host of services but payroll is something that cannot be jeopardized. No matter the state of economic activity in the country, if you have a workforce that you need to pay, it is important that you pay them on time, regardless of the restrictions in your environment. 

Ever since the lockdown last year, all businesses in Malaysia saw a stark change in operations overnight. At Propay Partners, payroll was remotely carried out by syncing all departments to function together in the same rhythm. Our clients, during all the stages of the Covid wave, were given full payroll and HR support despite several unforeseen circumstances. 

This is how we did it:

Switching IT infrastructure to Remote Mode
With office luxuries disappearing in the wink of an eye due to the lockdown, it took us a few days to restructure our IT infrastructure. The team was supplemented with additional laptops, secure WiFi and risk management firewalls to ensure payroll processes happened seamlessly. End point protections were installed virtually on all systems as well as the remote server.

Cloud-based Payroll Outsourcing for Anytime Access
Our payroll processes have been powered by cloud platforms operating on SaaS models from a very long time. Therefore, the lockdown didn’t have an adverse impact on the continuity of our payroll function. Even off-cycle payments in the Employee Mobility Solutions segment were met at the desired timelines. Even during situations where payments had to be released immediately and timesheets were procured only the following week, we managed to meet our Service Level Agreements (SLAs) smoothly. 

Keeping Communication Lines Open
Finance and Operations are the two most important departments of any payroll outsourcing company. The shift to remote working meant no more exchange of paper cheques or photocopies of payment documents. Team leaders ensured that these two teams aligned their communication channels to stay up-to-date on live transactions and payment releases.

Keeping a Look Out for Payroll Discrepancies
The pandemic led to retrenchment in a big way in almost every sector. During this time, our team kept a keen eye on discrepancies in payroll so that our numbers were accurate every pay cycle. As most of our clients are global MNCs, retrenchment decisions were informed well in advance before it reflected on our systems. 

Toolbox meetings on Zoom & WhatsApp
As a team, one of the first things we ensured was timely communication so that everyone was aware of everything that was happening around us. We held meetings three times a week on Zoom and countless times on WhatsApp so that teams could get instant responses to payroll approvals. 

Getting Clients to Go Paperless
One of the most challenging problems was getting traditional clients to opt for e-payslips and go digital as far as payroll information was concerned. There was a learning curve when a client requested for paper payslips and they were delivered by a personnel who had contracted Covid but didn’t know it at the time. When symptoms came to light, reams of payslip had to be destroyed and several people in the chain had to undergo compulsory Covid testing. 

Keeping Track of Compliance
Our software automatically updates compliance laws and regulations as and when the government makes announcements. This helps us stay in check with swiftly-changing labour laws, tax exemptions and relief packages. 

Never-Say-No Attitude
The pandemic was an uncertain and unprecedented time for everyone. It’s wasn’t just our clients but humanity all over that was affected by day-to-day changes. During this time, our clients approached us several times at short notice to help them out deliver their payroll outside the usual schedule. Our team had to work round-the-clock most weeks so that we could ensure the clients’ workforce was not affected by lack of pay or delayed pay. In the event of frequent requests, we always initiated discussions with our clients for smoother delivery of payroll. 

Payroll continuity has become an important requirement even during a crisis such as this. The first step is always about finding the right partner. Propay Partners is a payroll outsourcing firm that helps multinational companies in Malaysia manage and execute payroll. We also help companies manage their expatriate staff and ensure employees stay compliant in the face of changing regulatory landscape.

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