The global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has caused workforce disruption on an unprecedented scale. In many cases, the immense challenge of the situation is clear – particularly if you look at the organisations that have heroically delivered healthcare and frontline services over the past few months.

At the same time, COVID-19 has undoubtedly put pressure on a huge number of different professions in ways that aren’t necessarily as visible.

Recognising the contribution of payroll and HR teams

Our customers – the payroll and HR teams responsible for ensuring the wellbeing of their employees and the continuity of their organisations during these times – certainly fall into this group.

HR teams have faced the challenge of responding to increased absence and sickness, as well as taking the extremely difficult decisions to furlough staff or make redundancies in order to safeguard the future of their organisations. Not only this, but they have also needed to find ways to keep their workplace culture and recognition alive, and ensure employees feel the full support of their organisation in the ‘new normal’.

Payroll teams have faced a similar range of challenges in their efforts to ensure employees continue to be paid accurately and on-time during the crisis. In fact, we recently conducted a survey to find out more about these challenges (Download the full report here). They include managing a loss of capacity in already small payroll teams, empowering team members to work remotely, and adapting to complex emergency schemes like the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in the UK and the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme in the Republic of Ireland.

At Zellis, we believe that the resilience and hard work these teams have demonstrated in response to crisis makes them unsung heroes. In fact, Vickie Graham, Business Development Director at the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) told us that the association will be “lobbying the government to recognise this work and the profession during, and as we move out of this pandemic, to ensure that payroll professionals are given the recognition that they deserve.”

Partnering with our customers to overcome challenges

At Zellis, one of our core values – which we apply both within our own organisation and with our customer relationships – is Unstoppable Together. It means that we can achieve amazing results by working closely together. In these unprecedented circumstances, we wanted to take the opportunity to recognise the incredible response of our customers and thank them for positivity and patience in working with us to overcome the challenges created by COVID-19.

We also pay tribute to the professionalism of HMRC, the CIPP, and Pensions Regulator who have worked closely with us over this period.

For over 50 years now, Zellis and the customers we serve have faced challenges big and small – and come through by taking a true ‘partnership’ approach. Over the past few months, our teams have worked round-the-clock to support our customers to maintain continuity and resilience in their payroll and HR operations.

As of the start of June 2020, this includes:

  • Committing an additional 900+ hours to developing emergency software patches, including changes to approximately 200 functions in ResourceLink, to make complying with changes to legislation as quick and simple as possible for customers*.
  • Running 13 webinars to nearly 1,000 attendees over 8 weeks, aimed at providing legislation updates, knowledge sharing, and general advice to customers facing COVID-19 pressure. These webinars included expert speakers from HMRC, The Pensions Regulator, and The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP).
  • Developing approximately 30 COVID-19 focused articles for our customer Knowledge Base, as well answering over 300 customer questions.
  • Providing emergency support services to our customers, including the option to outsource part or all of their payroll operations to our expert Managed Services team.
  • Providing an emergency advisory service to payroll and HR teams, including specific guidance on processing payments in accordance with the employee furlough schemes.
  • Through our sister company, Benefex, offering 6 months’ free access to its social recognition software, OneHub | Recognition. NHS and frontline organisations can receive 12 months’ free access.
  • Producing a survey-led report on the impact of COVID-19 on payroll operations, to help highlight the major challenges and offer insight into how they might be overcome.

“Zellis are doing an amazing job right now, keeping customers informed of all the latest changes. Everything is changing so rapidly it’s not easy to keep abreast of changes but Zellis seem to be working around the clock to keep us informed and provide software updates to process all our furloughed staff.” – STV

“We have been really appreciative of the way that Zellis have managed to keep both us and the ResourceLink system up to date during the Covid-19 pandemic. Zellis has picked up on all the pay related changes from the Daily Briefings and reacted to them, focussing not only on the speedy delivery of a solution but also in then keeping it up to date with each new announcement that has changed the criteria.

“The frequency and detail of communications has been brilliant, from emails, updated knowledge base articles with overview videos and FAQs, together with weekly webinars; the latter with guest presenters from organisations such as HMRC, the Pensions Regulator and CIPP. Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to support this.” – University of York

Further information and support

If you haven’t done so already, please get in touch with us if you require any further information and support.

You can find out more about how we can help during these difficult times by visiting our official COVID-19 page.

More detailed information about legislation changes and our emergency software patches can be found in our detailed customer statement and via our customer support portal.