A passion for payroll excellence combined with an empathetic approach to her team has won Mandy Haslam, our Advisory Services and Operational Enablement Director, the inaugural CIPP Spotlight award.
Her outstanding professionalism was recognised at the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals’ Annual Excellence Awards in October for her work, among other things, in spotting a gap in the market and then setting up and making a success of our payroll advisory service business. She was also commended as a great role model and people coach by her staff and colleagues.
The power of our payroll advisory service
A key aim of the payroll advisory service is to support customers that run payroll in-house but require periodic support to ensure operational resilience, for example, should their payroll manager leave or if they are subject to IT challenges. Another important role is to provide organisations with consultancy on how they can enhance their payroll operations in order to consistently achieve accuracy and timeliness through increased efficiency, automation and optimisation.
But the advisory business, which generated 200% higher revenues at a lower cost than expected in the first 12 months of opening its doors, undoubtedly benefitted from the experience of someone who has spent much of her career delivering payroll in contexts ranging from the NHS to managed service centres, before transferring her skills to support business development in a managed services context.
As to the qualities that make a great payroll professional, such as herself, Mandy says: “Most payrollers are control fanatics as we all love to be in control of our payrolls. But you also need to enjoy the pace and pressure of the job and the feeling that you need to push boundaries to continuously improve.”
Another key trait is being a problem-solver. “It’s about being a ‘solution-er’, which means if you’re faced with a problem, you need to be able to find a solution and move forward,” Mandy explains. “But empathy with employers and employees is also another important characteristic as payroll has an impact at all levels.”
The secret to good management
A further area in which she believes empathy is vital is in relation to her team. “I firmly believe everyone has something to offer, so if you invest time in them and guide them in the right direction, you’ll get payback as people will go out of their way to do a good job,” Mandy says.
In other words, the secret to good management is in getting to know each and every team member and what drives them and makes them tick.
“I have a firm belief that everyone has a capability skillset that they excel in, the art is working out what that is and putting it to best use,” Mandy explains. “But to do that you have to invest time in people and listen to them so you can understand them and know how to guide, encourage and get the best out of them – it’s important to remember that you’re only ever as good as your people.”
As for the key lessons learned throughout her career, there are two main ones. The first is to guard against knee-jerk reactions but to think a situation through logically rather than jump in with both feet.
The second is to use reflection as an important self-development tool. “So if you’ve done something and it hasn’t gone as well as you hoped, take some time to reflect on what’s happened and how you would do it next time. Also speak to other people so you can bounce ideas off them and get feedback – the insights of others are very valuable,” Mandy says.