Financial Wellness

APA Payroll Congress puts focus on ops, technology, and leadership

At its 2022 Payroll Congress, the American Payroll Association (APA) preps attendees to help their employers with pressing issues like retention and engagement.
abstract image of cylinders topped with checkmarks and dollar sign

Imagine tomorrow your company announces a large investment in employee wellness and financial health. As part of the change, your CEO asks you and your payroll team to:

  • work with HR to launch on‑demand pay and emergency savings;
  • measure the ROI of those benefits via retention and engagement;
  • cut operational costs at least 5% by end of year.

Scenarios like these are becoming more common as technology narrows the gaps between payroll and functions like HR, finance, and IT. Changes like these highlight the importance of the American Payroll Association’s (APA) annual Payroll Congress, an event dedicated to helping payroll leaders keep pace with industry changes.

Three education tracks at Payroll Congress 2022 stand out based on the issues payroll leaders face today — especially those with tens or hundreds of thousands of employees depending on them for fast, accurate pay.

Payroll management and operations track: Remove the roadblocks to moving money

Key workshop sessions:

  • Pay your employees today: How accrued wage access wins over workers
  • Payroll adjustments: The good, the bad, and the ugly
  • Real-time payroll processing: Moving at the speed of employees

Employees want more say over how and when they get paid, and it’s causing recruiting and retention issues employers can’t solve without the help of payroll. But offering new pay options means solving old payroll problems. How can you offer on‑demand pay if you barely have time to process off-cycle payments?

The urgency for a solution keeps building: 87% of hourly employees feel financially stressed. That pushes them to job hop or look at the gig economy to meet their financial needs. UKG found 74% of employees would prefer an employer who offers financial planning, budgeting, and automated savings tools over one who doesn’t.

Payroll leaders like you can get ahead of financial benefits like on‑demand pay — also known as earned wage access or EWA — by walking down the hall to partner with HR and benefits. You’ll identify synergies that mutually benefit your teams and others around the company. For instance, by collaborating to pick the right on-demand pay provider, you pick the one that creates the broadest positive impact:

  • saves payroll time and money by reducing off-cycle payments;
  • supports hiring with a valued benefit to showcase in recruiting and onboarding;
  • gives HR a highly adopted benefit they can use to better understand retention.

Of course, it’s important to understand the technology behind financial benefits like on‑demand pay, so you can confidently speak about it. APA’s next education track helps you do that.

Technology track: Become the tech partner your business needs

Key workshop sessions:

  • It’s more than a paycheck, it’s financial wellbeing
  • Metrics and measures: How to get started with KPIs
  • The strategic role payroll plays in improving employee experience

The more neighboring functions like HR, finance, and IT adopt new software, the more new technology pushes into your payroll team’s world. To be a strong cross-functional collaborator, you now also have to be a strong technology partner. The need for tech-literate payroll leaders is on the rise, too.

The HR technology market is on pace to surpass $35B by 2028 according to Fortune Business Insights. New HR software drives changes elsewhere, including to payroll. If your company buys new recruiting software to accelerate hiring and compete with the gig economy, then it makes sense to offer new benefits that also support those goals, like flexible scheduling and on‑demand pay.

The more you understand the technology behind these financial benefits, the more value you offer you as a cross-functional collaborator. That’ll create opportunities like advising on what payroll KPIs best align with business goals. You could become a highly valued data resource, able to do things like track retention against the use of financial benefits. Imagine having data that shows retention goes up 10% when employees enroll in emergency savings during onboarding.

Professional development track: Go from payroll leader to strategic leader

Key workshop sessions:

  • Breakthrough communication strategies during times of change: Best practices
  • Building and leading payroll teams of the future
  • Strategic payroll: Better benchmarking to drive business success

A changing landscape gives payroll the opportunity to become a growth function. You can advocate for programs like on‑demand pay on the basis of how they’d improve recruiting, retention, and engagement. At the same time, you’d improve payroll operations, since fewer hours would be spent on the manual processes associated with off-cycle payments.

Demand is in your favor, too. Three-quarters (73%) of hourly workers want their employer to offer free on‑demand pay according to Wakefield Research. It establishes a strong employee experience from the start, too, since new hires don’t have to wait three weeks or longer for their first full paycheck. And as PayPal discovered, on‑demand pay gives employees the option to pay themselves weekly, making it a far more affordable option than switching from biweekly pay.

Last, by advocating for financial benefits that support business goals, you earn trust as a strategic advisor. You’ll continue to build that trust by finding opportunities in your payroll data. Maybe you’ll connect emergency savings rates to your employee wellness goals, able to show more of your workforce has at least $400 saved than the national average.

See how a financial benefits platform can help you at APA Payroll Congress

A financial benefits platform helps you turn payroll into the strategic function your business needs today, especially for enterprises with large workforces. The platform brings payroll and HR together to launch and measure the ROI of benefits like on‑demand pay, emergency savings, and tools like automatic budgeting.

See how a financial benefits platform works live at the APA Payroll Congress during “Reimagining employee pay with Even.” You’ll get an up-close look at how large employers like Walmart, Noodles & Company, and Compass Group USA use pay to win at recruiting and retention.

“Reimagining employee pay with Even” takes place at APA Payroll Congress on Wednesday, May 11 from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. in Demo Suite 1.

Learn more about moving money to employees here.

Sign up for our newsletter

Get updates around new research and findings in your email.