Podcast November 25, 2020

Payroll in a pandemic: Challenges and solutions

With so much uncertainty in the pandemic…

The last thing anyone wants to worry about is getting paid.

Luckily, like everything else digital, the pandemic is accelerating existing trends.

And that’s making it easier for everyone to get paid when they need it.

My guest today is Andrew Garner, Senior Vice President/General Manager, Business Partnerships at Netspend, where he’s helping solve payroll problems for the pandemic and beyond.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How the pandemic is affecting payroll
  • Existing trends that are being accelerated by the crisis
  • The future of payroll

Payroll when it matters

The pandemic is one of the first events in our lifetimes to touch everyone’s life worldwide.

So, needless to say, a lot has changed.

And that’s resulted in a lot of uncertainty — especially when it comes to finance.

The scope of the problem

For many, this has led to furloughs, loss of income, or even unemployment.

And for those lucky enough to keep their jobs, financial uncertainty is still a big factor in how the crisis has played out.

Childcare expenses have gone up with schools shut down, hours are cut, or business has declined.

And even the money itself comes with risks — how many hands has your bill passed through before you held it in yours?

How businesses are responding

We’ve been moving away from paper payroll for some time.

But the era of social distancing, relentless handwashing, and everyone realizing just how often they touch their faces has injected steroids into the trend.

Now, digital is no longer an option; it’s survival.

Businesses are also realizing that their employees’ financial well-being is in their best interest, too.

“Businesses and employers are responding to the crisis by giving their workers financial wellness options that meet their employees’ needs and keep pace with the acceleration of digital payments.” — Andrew Garner

Businesses have started to invest much more in helping employees achieve financial stability.

And of course, digital payroll delivery feeds into that by giving employees slightly more freedom in how they interact with their much-needed paychecks.

What trends are finding their foothold

One other factor driving the rapid move to digital is the gig economy.

Over the last decade, the gig economy has exploded in popularity, and it’s reshaping the financial landscape — inside and outside the industry.

If anyone wasn’t already convinced that the gig economy would become a mainstay in the economy at large, the pandemic should remove any lingering doubts. Just look at how common food and grocery delivery has become over the past 6 months.

And with on-demand gig work comes an increasing demand for on-demand payroll.

These new practices may be rising out of the new modes of working, but now that everyone is working differently, their appeal is leaving a mark in other industries.

The move to digital has permeated every sector as we reckon with an invisible catastrophe.

“Across the board, digital is where things are moving. And it’s how businesses are adapting.” — Andrew Garner

Whichever goods or services move to digital-first will bring finance with them — often embedded within them.

As digital conquers the world of work, payroll is no exception.

The future

While COVID-19 may have accelerated some of the trends present before the crisis, the future of finance is being driven by the forces that have been driving it for years.

Namely, convenience and speed.

“Convenience, speed, and instant payments are just continuing to accelerate.” — Andrew Garner

But even the desire for these elements is still being fueled by the pandemic.

With everyone having no option but to rely on many of the more innovative technologies for work, groceries, education, and, of course, finance, more people are being exposed to these innovations.

And with that exposure comes familiarity.

People are learning to love the new ways that they are forced to do things. And they expect their payments to operate the same way.

As people turn to technology to solve the problems of the present, it’s hard to imagine a future that reverts to the outdated ways of the past.

To ensure that you never miss an episode of Payments Innovation, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or here and don’t forget to check out our YouTube!

Until next time!

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