Q&A: How Workday and Alight are Partnering to Deliver a Unified Global HR and Payroll System

Running global HR and payroll operations is growing increasingly complex, fuelled by a plethora of internal and external business challenges. Businesses need greater agility and flexibility from their HR and payroll systems to overcome the unrelenting pace of change.

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Here, Workday’s Angelique De Vries-Schipperijn, president, EMEA, discusses the extension of a strategic partnership between Workday and Alight to bring a simplified and unified global payroll experience to HR and payroll professionals across six key regions in EMEA.

Let’s start with the announcement between Workday and Alight to extend the current partnership. What is being announced?

Today, we’re announcing that Workday and Alight are expanding our existing strategic partnership. Together, Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) Alight’s Global Payroll and expertise will offer customers an end-to-end solution that empowers organisations with a multinational workforce to source, manage and pay their workforce via a simplified, unified solution in key regions around the world.

With Workday human capital management capabilities and Alight’s strength in delivering local payroll and compliance, organisations can connect and streamline their global HR and payroll operations, confidently comply with local regulations, and inform strategic initiatives that drive growth and success. The initial focus will be on the Benelux and Nordic regions, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Germany.

Why is this so important and why now?

The reality is that despite HR functions making enormous progress when it comes to digitisation, payroll remains an area of complexity that organisations still struggle with. A study from the Hackett Group found that businesses with operations in multiple countries have, on average, 29 different payroll systems.

Businesses can no longer afford to rely on this kind of tangled, disconnected web of HR and payroll systems that slow things down to a crawl. They need a flexible, unified solution that allows them to manage skills, anticipate change so they can proactively adjust, and handle compliance globally.

When you speak to customers about moving to a global HR and payroll solution, what are they looking for and how will this new partnership address those needs?

Of course these needs vary from customer to customer, but businesses generally want to see global consistency, but with local capability from their HR and payroll provider. In other words they don’t want multiple systems, but a unified solution that is capable of meeting their needs in different markets.

Complexity impacts every HR function, so being able to break down HR and payroll system silos across geographies to operate in real time is something customers want.

Today’s announcement will help customers address these challenges, but it’s also about bringing automation and AI-assisted decision making capabilities to our customers. It’s about helping customers to navigate compliance, risk and security, and empowering HR leaders and their partners with the confidence to navigate what’s next.

“The reality is that despite HR functions making enormous progress when it comes to digitisation, payroll remains an area of complexity that organisations still struggle with."

Angelique De Vries-Schipperijn President EMEA Workday

At a day-to-day level, what functionality will HR leaders and their teams benefit from as a result of the extended partnership?

There are a few key elements that I would focus on. Firstly, the partnership means that customers will be able to accelerate innovation by removing siloed systems and processes and replacing them with a streamlined global solution that allows them to automate manual HR processes. Reducing that inefficiency will free HR leaders up to really drive innovation across their function.

Another important benefit that a lot of leaders are looking for is the ability to get a comprehensive and accurate view of time and attendance, workforce management and payroll information. This is core data for organisations with a global employee base, and having access to a single source of truth to process, review, report and analyse HR and payroll data can be a huge competitive advantage.

Perhaps most importantly from a payroll perspective is the ongoing innovation features that customers will benefit from. Regulations, compliance and other factors can change frequently across geographies and staying up-to-date is a major challenge. Businesses can benefit from ongoing payroll innovation features providing them with expertise and insight to better support their compliance with local regulations.

Learn how Workday and Alight can help organisations to consolidate and simplify HR and payroll globally.

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