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Payroll Professionals Can Be the Happy Holiday Heroes

BY: Dominic Morea, Senior Vice President and Head of Prepaid at Fiserv | 12/03/19

With year-end looming, here are three simple ways payroll programs can facilitate a stress-free transition to the New Year.

The holiday season is often painted alongside familiar Hallmark moments. Smiling faces opening presents, gatherings with extended family, a well-needed respite from work, and even vacations to warm-weather destinations. But we all know that those glamorous holiday photos on Facebook and Instagram are often built around the busiest season of our year—a time that is also synonymous with stress.

Holiday shopping often starts in November, travel requires extensive planning, and coordinating calendars with multiple family members can be a bear. All those gifts you bought? You still have to wrap them. And that holiday party you’re attending is going to send you to the supermarket before trying to bake your favorite holiday recipe. And that doesn’t take into account the cost. Not overspending on the holidays can be tricky, and managing a family budget in December can create headaches.

As employers, we all know that highly-stressed employees aren’t good for business. Not only are you concerned about the well-being of those that matter most—your team—but stress in the office can throw a wet blanket on efficiency, and negatively impact your office’s morale.

Payroll programs aren’t the be-all and end-all to a happy holidays (because nothing says Happy Hanukkah or Merry Christmas like a payroll discussion), but a robust payroll delivery solution can provide employers with a few extra tools in their belt. Here are a few examples of how the right payroll delivery capabilities can help employees through the hustle and bustle associated with the next few months.

Card Funding

This goes without saying, but let’s state it anyway—having an avenue to pay employees is critical. And it’s never more important than the holiday season when budgets are stretched and employees (and their families) need access to their wages delivered on-time, every time. Reliable card funding is a pre-requisite to any payroll card program, but there are also times when a glitch in the system (clerical, technical, or otherwise) causes an employee to be funded incorrectly. An employer’s ability to address those mistakes, and remediate them as soon as possible is of the utmost importance during the year’s busiest season.

Here are a few card funding use cases that may arise at your business, and how a payroll card offers a more convenient solution for the employer and employee:

  • Instant payments—A contract is complete at year-end, and a worker needs access to their funds as soon as possible. The ability to disburse final wage payments instantly on a payroll card is not only much faster, but more cost-effective than cutting paper checks
  • Re-issuance or correction of payment—Many payroll programs offer self-service capability for payroll departments to quickly fund payroll cards for electronic payment delivery – very helpful when addressing issues that need immediate attention.
  • Payroll management—Managing paper checks is a drain on employee time and costly for employers, especially for small businesses. As an example, when employees don’t pick up a single check—even if that paycheck is for a very small amount—the employer is required to fill out an escheatment that transfers unclaimed funds to the state. The result? A major headache, and administrative nightmare for the business.

Corporate Incentive Programs

Another way that payroll organizations can support workforce morale—especially during this season—is through incentives and rewards. Who doesn’t love incentives? Whether it’s commission on a big sale, a group incentive to recognize a job well done by the team, or a gift card to supplement holiday spending, incentives are a great way to boost employee morale during the holidays. So what better way to reward employees just before the holiday season than by integrating corporate gifting into your total rewards program—and doing so digitally through your payroll solution.

According to the 18th Annual Prepaid Consumer Insights Study from First Data, now Fiserv, 65% of employees want to receive gift cards as a reward for a job well done. Additional benefits of integrating corporate incentives into your payroll solution like Everywhere Reward by Money Network®:

  • Timeliness—Not only are gift cards associated with the holidays, but digital gifting options allow them to be distributed when the timing is just right – like during your office’s holiday party, or just before each employee clocks out for his or her holiday break.
  • Employee Engagement—Corporate incentives promote an engaged employee base because employees that get rewarded for delivering on a project or deliverable feel appreciated by the company, and employees that feel appreciated are more likely to get deeply involved in future work.
  • Lower Cost—Digital incentives, whether as a gift card or digital disbursement of funds, eliminate the costs associated incentives by way of cash, check, or physical gifts.

Tax Season & Financial Literacy

When the calendar flips to a New Year, the satisfaction of surviving the holidays quickly transitions to a new stressor—Tax Season. Come January, Americans are already thinking tax refunds—and employees are increasingly looking to get their refund check earlier and earlier.

Here are three ways your payroll solution can simplify tax season for your employees, and help them stay on top of their game:

  • Direct payroll deposits—Not all employees use a traditional bank account, but payroll delivery services like Money Network provide users a debit account with routing numbers that function like traditional bank accounts – allowing for employers to provide direct deposit opportunities for the traditionally underbanked population.
  • Timely Reminders—Tax season is full of start dates and deadlines, miscellaneous forms and new regulations from the previous year. By incorporating these reminders within your payroll solution and payroll communications, you can help your team stay on top of their calendars.
  • Financial Literacy—Getting paid isn’t the only thing employees look to employers for, they’re also looking for advice on what to do with their money. Your payroll solution can serve as an important touchpoint for delivering financial literacy tips to your team. Doing so not only provides value to employees, but research shows it provides employees with a resource they have been asking for.

Learn more about payroll delivery solutions to help your team during the holidays—and beyond—at www.firstdata.com.


Dominic Morea is the Senior Vice President and Head of Prepaid at Fiserv.