Over the hills and through the casino to the convention center we go! The trek through the MGM Grand Las Vegas to the American Payroll Association's (APA) 2022 Payroll Congress was long but well worth the journey.
Payroll professionals waited two long, lonely, COVID-interrupted years for the 40th annual Payroll Congress. You could feel the excitement in the air as attendees, presenters, and vendors prepared for a week of laughter, collaboration, and impactful learning opportunities.
Technology, instruction, speakers, and demos are the reasons everyone came. Meetups, fun events, and engaging with fellow payroll professionals are the reasons they keep coming back. It's what happens during those passing periods that makes Payroll Congress — also known as PayCon — such a heartfelt and meaningful event for the payroll community.
The APA spared no expense as they kicked off the event in true Vegas style. The lights and performances reminded us that "the show must go on," and PayCon 2022 did just that. The energy was palpable. Speakers, vendors, and attendees alike shared stories and caught up from lost time.
Sekou Andrews, called "poet laureate of corporate America" by Forbes, pulled the crowd in with his masterly use of the stage and lights. From a comedic place, Sekou intertwined how it felt to work during the years-long COVID-19 pandemic while incorporating the demands of our payroll obligations. He captivated the audience while we moved from belly laughter to tears all with the reminder that we are empowered and inspired to ask, "What if?"
Andrews' presentation was a great reminder that we've done more than emerge from the virtual rubble caused by the pandemic. Payroll leaders also have the chance to write how the rest plays out. Andrews invigorated the event by asking each and everyone of us to flip the script and do new things by asking, "What if?"
Whether attendees needed to polish their communication skills or learn how to work with a new HRIS solution, PayCon had something for everyone. And with 40 years of conference experience, the APA offered attendees access to seasoned professionals at every turn. Classes were led by recognized APA professionals and industry experts. You could spot them a mile away with the array of ribbons they dangled from their name tag.
One session stood out in particular: overpayments. It was so popular that people sat on the floor, stood in the hallway, and overflowed through the conference room doors. The session couldn't have been more timely. Each attendee has lived through the Great Resignation and experienced first hand the war on talent. As a result, sign-on and retention bonuses have hit all-time highs.
The session reviewed what could be done when the assignment ends (prior to the agreed terms) and regulation around collecting the overpayment. The crowd was on the edge of their seats to learn all they could about navigating overpayments.
APA's Payroll Congress happens annually, but the networking and connections attendees form there help them succeed 365 days a year. Sessions prompted attendees to look at their respective processes and review with their leaders. Keeping your employees and employer in compliance, after all, is a daily responsibility.
Lifelong friendships are formed at Payroll Congress, too. The president of the APA even found his bride at PayCon years ago. The message from every speaker: Get involved. Local payroll chapters meet in attendees' hometowns, and are always looking for active participants.
With all that's happening around us (like 73% of employees wanting employer‑sponsored on‑demand pay), payroll leaders rely more and more on technology. The APA brings in no shortage of technology vendors. The exhibit hall was heavily trafficked with attendee questions who were thorough and exact as they asked questions during product demos.
Take the need to retain talent. Retention is a must not only for the organization, but also for HR and payroll teams, who need to relieve increasing demands. Earned wage access (EWA) providers were in full effect showing off how their technology could help HR and payroll teams. EWA is a financial benefit that can be offered in addition to traditional benefits like medical, dental, and vision. Offering EWA could be the differentiator that keeps your employee over the competitor.
My favorite EWA vendor is Even, whose booth stood out on the expo hall floor with its spring colors. Not only does Even give employees access to accrued wages ahead payday, but it also helps them budget and save! Even helps users make their money move with simple integrations and around the clock chat support. Learn more here.
And don't miss the 41st annual APA Payroll Congress in 2023. The APA will be taking over the Art & Science Convention and Expo Center in Denver May 16–19, 2023.
This article is by Stacie Larson, CPP, a payroll expert who has worked with organizations such as ADP, Paylocity, and ONE.
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