Be consistent
A consistent experience makes it easier for users to confidently find their way around the platform and achieve their goals. Making use of the same design patterns and styles throughout means that users will quickly learn to recognise different elements, what they do and where they’ll take them – ultimately it will save time. Design systems like atomic design, where layouts are built from a toolkit of basic design components that become the building blocks for the whole site, are an excellent way of creating consistency while still allowing for flexibility. With atomic design it’s also quicker to build prototypes, easier for designers to hand over their work to developers and there’s less chance of those developers doubling up on work by writing duplicate code. In addition, design changes can be applied globally, so the ongoing maintenance of the site is far more efficient than if someone had to go in and manually change an element on multiple pages. And don’t forget about language; being consistent with approach and terminology brings clarity to the experience

Be customer-centric
A payroll and HR platform may be technology-based but it’s the humans using it who are key. Company employees, and the payroll and HR staff that administer to them, should be at the centre of the experience. So how can we make this happen? Interviews with users will help the team anticipate their needs and think about how they might feel at any moment in the journey. Collaborative workshop sessions, where users and the transformation team co-create, can become a great source of ideas and innovations. It’s also important to keep up-to-date with changes in lifestyle and working patterns, for instance the rise of the gig economy means some employees are asking for ‘same-day pay’, and improvements in technical capabilities may make this increasingly possible for some businesses. Tone of voice also needs careful attention; having human, conversational language – while remaining professional – is far more engaging than an overly formal tone, filled with technical terms. As the saying goes, this is not dumbing down,it’s opening up. And while it might be impossible to get rid of all jargon, given that payroll software will be dealing with tax and other complex issues, what the platform can do is offer help text, explaining any terms which people might not understand.

Use behavioural science
Understanding how people behave will assist both the users and the business; helping employees to make desirable choices and ensuring they don’t drop out along the way. A great example of this is auto-enrolment into pension schemes. In 2012 the UK government instituted automatic enrolment for pensions, so people were entered into pension schemes by default and had to explicitly opt out if they didn’t want to join. The rate of those participating rose from 61% to 83% and now 400,000 people more have a pension than before. In America, the Save Tomorrow model was used in corporations to nudge employees into raising their pension contributions, by suggesting that they opt to do it at their next pay rise, because it’s easier for people to accept something that isn’t going to happen straight away. Behavioural science has also been used to create uplift in charitable giving, by making enrolment in company scheme the default option. Sekoul Krastev, co-founder of behavioural science thinktank The Decision Lab, has commented “Given how disengaged employees are on average, I would say that the concept of nudging, applied in an ethical, sustainable and scalable way, represents one of the largest untapped opportunities in HR management.”

Utilise new technology
Over the next few years, advances in AI and machine learning will bring multiple benefits to payroll and HR systems. Chatbots powered by AI can provide a better, more rounded customer experience by dealing with common HR requests – dealing with ‘frequently asked questions’ if you like. This will in turn free up time and resource for the humans working in payroll and HR, who can concentrate on dealing with more complexed issues and unexpected events. AI may also be able to help its human colleagues behind the scenes by tracking changes in legislation that will have an impact on payroll and even resourcing, sending notifications when there’s a change that needs to be addressed. Machine learning might help a business or organisation track employee’s working hours, including noticing any irregularities between clocking-in times and activity, as well as being able to predict which employees are likely to leave and why, giving businesses valuable insight to help them reduce staff turnover. New technology is unlikely to ever replace the need for humans in payroll and HR – but it will be around to do some of the heavy lifting.

If you’d like to talk to BIO about how our processes might help you with your innovation or transformation project, please email us at