Operations Insights
May 1, 2024

How to help overcome the risks of multi-regional payroll complexity

How North American companies are handling risk across their operating regions and how they’re streamlining their pay and time function. 

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Payroll teams are facing a lot of complexity in today’s changing world. They’re seeing an explosion of different types of work and workers and growing regulatory complexity. This is especially true for organizations that operate in multiple North American jurisdictions and are struggling to manage legal requirements that change from region to region – especially as their boundless workforce becomes increasingly fluid, borderless, and always on.  

The challenge payroll professionals face? They already have competing priorities of keeping costs down, managing risk, and ensuring efficient operations. Processing multi-regional payroll when they’re not experts in each different region can be time-consuming and may increase the risk of errors. 

Managing multi-region payroll complexity 

When organizations operate in multiple regions, complexity increases. Managing different worker types alongside requirements that vary heavily from one location to another is not straightforward for HR and payroll teams. Whether it’s labor union agreements, variable pay, or local working time requirements, payroll professionals need an efficient system to help track and apply changes.  

Take Trident Seafoods, a North American seafood fishing operation with 3,000 full-time, permanent employees and an additional 6,000 seasonal workers during peak season. The company’s HR team manages a diverse workforce aboard each of its fishing ships, creating the challenge of a wide variety of pay types for all the different positions.  

“We have captains that are paid annually, we have dock workers and vessel employees who are paid daily, we have employees who are paid based on the number of cases their vessel produces, we have hourly employees, and we have salaried employees. Everyone, from our senior management to our seafood processors, needs to be paid accurately and on time,” says Katrina Fountain, Trident’s Director of Total Rewards. 

Ensuring your people are paid accurately and on time becomes increasingly complex as the variety of pay types increases. As organizations in this type of situation plan for future growth, they should consider the impact it will have on payroll complexity and whether they have the right technology solutions in place to help simplify their operations and reduce risk.  

This is especially true of organizations that plan to extend their workforce using contractors, gig workers, and part-time staff. Dayforce’s Executive Survey of 2,000 leaders found that 80% of surveyed businesses currently use contingent workers, and 65% of respondents expect their use of this extended workforce to increase. Take stock of the different worker types within their current workforce and the potential workers that would be essential for your expansion plans in the next five years. Risk often increases with these different types of workers, as organizations could misclassify workers, lose sight of overall labor spend, or become overwhelmed by the administrative effort that’s required.  

Helping teams track pay and time across locations with flexibility   

Most companies and their IT systems are ill-equipped to handle the growing complexity crisis from a workforce planning perspective. More people are looking for the flexibility to control when and where they work, and more organizations are leveraging labor sharing to strategically plan their workforce across locations. Tracking employee scheduling across multiple sites can make it challenging to ensure shifts are staffed, time is efficiently tracked, and workers are accurately paid.  

The Nashville Predators are an NHL team, but their organization also oversees four sports and entertainment entities with over 1,000 staff members. From ticketing to security, their workforce takes on different assignments across multiple facilities, which can make schedules, pay, and other employee data difficult to consolidate.  

For example, Meredith Durbin, Senior Director of HRIS and Payroll for the Nashville Predators speaks on the value of maintaining clean employee records. “The benefit of having a single employee record is that we're able to maintain one record for every employee, regardless of how many entities they might be working in. So, we’re not having to rehire somebody into a different entity every time. We’re able to manage this cohesively in a single record, which allows us to maintain accurate information very easily.”   

When pay and time data can exist in a single system, it can help teams speed up operationally while reducing time review cycles, wherever their labor force is staffed. Teams can have greater flexibility in how they process pay instead of being handcuffed to batch processing, and gain time back for higher-value analysis work.   

Reducing errors and improving accuracy of payroll operations 

Payroll teams are often stuck with legacy technology that can limit their efficiency in processing payroll and often results in errors. Dayforce’s Future of Payroll Survey found that 69% of surveyed organizations have issues with their payroll data. Inaccurate payroll and errors  can open organizations up to certain risks, including legal consequences, costly fees, and inefficiency across their operations.  

Having visibility into operational costs from a high perch is essential for leaders to be more efficient and precise. For Christina Alicea-Rendon, Senior Director of Human Resources of New York and New Jersey, OTG Management, her reports include a team of 12 managers who oversee 2,500 hourly crew members and 200 salaried staff. Having a viewpoint into time and pay operations helps her reduce time spent on approvals and gives her more time to be accessible to her teams across locations.  

“We operate practically 24/7. Capturing people's time as soon as they clock in and clock out has helped improve our payroll process and errors because we're not having to consolidate hundreds of payroll records,” says Alicea-Rendon.  

Improving accuracy for pay and time data can help teams move faster and better manage risk at the same time. When time and pay data are integrated in a single platform, data remains clean and requires no additional movement or transformation. Having a single platform can help leaders gain more visibility and greater control over operational costs.  

Your plan for managing risk and increasing operational efficiency across regions 

A multi-regional payroll solution can give you the freedom to better manage your workforce risk no matter where they work. In a world where balancing flexibility and compliance is essential to staying agile and competitive, having a single solution for pay, time, HR, benefits, and workforce management can help you conquer the complexity associated with business expansion. 

Now is the time for North American organizations to consider how future expansion plans may impact payroll operations and create challenges that take you away from other mission-critical work. 

What to consider for your payroll processes: 

  • What types of workers do we have in our workforce, including full-time, part-time, and contractors?  

  • Do we have a plan to keep up to date with the compliance requirements for our workforce in all our states and regions? 

  • What are our internal systems for tracking errors and managing compliance requirements for our payroll function? 

  • What type of reporting do we have for our workforce costs?  


With the right foundation in place, a single platform can help leaders prepare for an undefined future, manage compliance risk, and drive operational efficiency across their operating regions. 

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