How to support your team’s financial planning at Christmas
We're joined by Alex, Senior People Operations Partner at Cuvva. Cuvva offers flexible, fast temporary car insurance that lets you drive anyone’s car, anytime. Alex has worked in People teams for the past five years. He began his career in hairdressing and then fell in love with area management and looking after teams.
In this interview, Alex shares how to go one step further helping your team manage their finances with early December, January and February payroll dates.
Welcome Alex! What does a great People Operations team mean to you?
I’m passionate about building a fair and inclusive culture where people are seen, safe to be themselves and enabled to thrive in their career. I want to help our team to become leaders and develop their management skills. My focus is on building a special working environment for our team and keeping people happy, healthy and doing their best work.
It’s also important that people are compensated for doing their best work in a seamless way. I manage compensation at Cuvva, which includes running payroll and I love it. At Cuvva, the People team looks after payroll end to end - that’s important to me because I care about making sure people are paid fairly, correctly and on time.
How do you use payroll to impact employee experience?
December can be an expensive month for everyone. I think it is always good to give your team their December pay early so they can pay for travel, buy last minute Christmas gifts or splash out on festive socials.
From a practical point of view, lots of team members take time off in December to have an extended break. This can mean key payroll stakeholders might be on annual leave around the usual payroll date at the end of the month. So it’s good to get everything signed off and completed early, if possible. It’s quite common to pay employees early in December, around the 20th instead of at the end of the month.
How are you doing it differently this year?
One downside to paying the team slightly earlier, means they'll have to contend with an extra long month in January. It’s often already a tough month after the festive season spending spree. So we came up with a workaround to help support our teams.
Since the People team have been looking after payroll, we’ve brought the December payday forward slightly each year to help everyone manage their festive finances. But to help avoid a long wait for the next payday (and a sad bank balance), we also brought January and February pay forward a little. We’ll be taking the same approach this year.
Why did you make this decision?
I think it comes back to how we want to serve our team. The traditional perception of HR is often a bunch of people sitting in a back office fuelled by managing compliance and risk - how old-school!
People Ops is about seeing the internal company as a product and your team as your customers. The aim is to keep them engaged and subscribed to your company (retention).
How would you try to keep customers subscribed to your product? By thinking about them and their needs - creating something great, something special, that solves their problems and is far better than anything else on offer.
It’s really very similar in People Ops, we’re looking to create the best possible experience for our team – going above and beyond to do the big, and small things that will make their experience working with us more fulfilling, more seamless, and more special. One of those small things, but not something that goes unnoticed, is changing our festive pay dates.
How did the team react to this change?
They loved it! Here are some of the comments we received from the team when we announced the dates last year:
- This is such a nice idea! Normally January is a tough month so this is lovely to think about bringing them forward for a couple of months 🥰
- Such a nice touch, very much appreciated! 🙂
- Loveee this. THANK YOU! 🙌
- Thank youuuuuuuu!! 🙌 Also bringing forward Jan/Feb is such a nice touch
- This is amazing People team. Echoing what the others said, It will be so nice to start the year without thinking about that 6 week pay gap. Thank you 😊
- Thanks for the update. Such a thoughtful, well planned approach 🤗
Do you do anything else differently with your payroll throughout the year?
No, other than this we keep the dates the same. But it’s great that with Pento, we have the flexibility to change pay dates if we need to.
How does Pento help you manage payroll for your team?
As I said before, working with people is my passion. But as with any team, there’s still admin that needs to be done in People Ops. This is why tools like Pento, that can automate part of the employee lifecycle, are really great.
The rise in People-focused tech solutions is doing a lot to help People functions become more of a strategic partner to the business. It’s giving us more time and also cutting down on admin and human error. Technology (like Pento) that's easy to use, integrates with other systems and makes critical data more accurate and readily available is the future.
I've also learnt a lot more about payroll since using Pento – like how pensions work, different tax codes, types of pay items – It's all great knowledge for me. And the support team is fantastic – they go above and beyond to help whenever I have questions.