Not-for-profit Brightwater Group needed to move from a resource-intense payroll system in a hurry and made the switch to PayGlobal back in 2004. 15 years later, the company’s systems coordinator, Paula Miller, reflects on the changes that opting for a contemporary, online system has wrought.
Brightwater Group is a not-for-profit specialising in aged and disability care. Across their head office, a variety of facilities and at-home services, they can have as many as 2100 people on the payroll each fortnight. The vast majority of those workers are part-time and casual.
“We have about five payroll agreements in place and they’re all different,” said Paula Miller, systems coordinator for people services.
While that never caused the company any issues, it added up to a fair amount of complexity and created unnecessary work – especially since Brightwater’s version of PayGlobal had been running since 2004.
PayGlobal had replaced what Miller calls an “archaic system,” and it’s been “a solid system that’s stood the test of time”.
“We’ve had it for 15 years. Other people in the industry might have had to go out to market once or maybe twice in that time. We just felt we haven’t had to,” said Miller.
But, limited financial resources meant that the system hadn’t been updated regularly.
“We were looking at something that was at 2004 a best-practice build, essentially. We were trying to do 2019 stuff with a 2004 model, and that obviously has its challenges,” said Miller.
Integrations had also been used to deliver additional functionality, which left them with a “three-headed monster” of a system. And up until a couple of years ago, the company was still printing payslips.
“That’s not cheap,” said Miller, “and it’s also time-consuming.”
So, after over a decade and a half of solid service from PayGlobal, Brightwater knew it was time for a complete system health check.
“We had a chat and we had our list of wants and needs. We didn’t want to do something that was patching things up, so we went for the refresh,” said Miller.
She said they didn’t bother looking at competitors – the PayGlobal system worked for Brightwater, and just as importantly, the service and support they’d received over the years was “unmatched”.
“You can have the best product in the world, but if you don’t have the people on the ground and you don’t have the consultants that can deliver and provide that post-go-live support and development, then you know it’s going to be a battle. So thumbs up MYOB!”
Overhauling a system as integral to a company as payroll has the potential to cause headaches that can ripple throughout the entire business. Working with the
PayGlobal team, Brightwater managed to side-step most of those problems. Paula credits that, in large part, to PayGlobal making the effort to put people on the ground.
“With time differences alone it can be difficult when you’re trying to run a project with people in other cities.
“They can’t just say, ‘Hey, come and look at this’, and point to a screen.
“You can’t communicate that, no matter how many emails you write. We’ve been incredibly spoilt and incredibly lucky to have consultants who are not only local, but who have been working with us long-term.”
A huge part of the successful transition can also be attributed to Brightwater’s approach – alongside the implementation they rolled out a change management programme to get people on board and up to speed.
“A lot of our people are not that computer-savvy. We still have people who don’t have mobile phones and don’t have email. So that transition from paper-based to the technical world was a bit of a challenge.
“On the whole, they embraced it, though,” explained Miller.
Miller said the move to digital with PayGlobal’s Employee Self Service portal (ESS) was a “big, big win” for the company.
“Allowing people to actually update their own personal details and do their own leave requests has been great – those are things we didn’t have access to before.
We knew that functionality was around, but we never had the capacity or the budgets to embrace the ESS component. It’s streamlined those processes,” explained Miller.
The new system also makes dealing with legislative changes far simpler. Miller points to Single Touch Payroll as one example. When it came into effect in Australia, Brightwater already had the new PayGlobal system up and running, making it a “relatively easy” process.
“It was always going to be a challenge, but it was a relatively easy process, because we didn’t have to do anything!”
Miller’s final word is, again, about PayGlobal’s exceptional service.
“It’s compliments across the board – I wouldn’t want to change a thing. No one is allowed to go anywhere! Tell them, ‘You are not leaving, ever!’
“Having good product is important, but without great support to back it up, it means nothing.
“You make everyone else look bad because you’re so good.”
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