Our new payroll system is making my life hell

I work for a large organisation which is changing its payroll and purchasing system. We're tearing our hair out. What can I do to help?

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 08 May 2013

Q: I work for a large organisation that is outsourcing many of its administrative systems, such as payroll and purchasing. It's making life hell for me and my team. We were never given any information about how the changes would take effect and there seems to be no one left in the building who is able to connect everything up. We're tearing our hair out but what can I do to help?


A: Your organisation shows every sign of headlessness; by which I mean an absence of any single presiding individual who cares, and is known throughout the place to care, about how the company feels as well as how it functions.

When this happens, bureaucrats and procurement people, particularly if most of them are external hired hands, become too influential. They do exactly what they're paid to do - with nobody to remind them of the crucial importance of style and culture and of the constant need to inform and communicate.

Nobody tells them that confusion and frustration of the kind you describe will demotivate staff, scar a company's reputation, lead to loss of performance and - ultimately and inevitably - to loss of profit.

It's no good complaining to the bureaucrats and the procurement types - or even about them. It's not their job to think about the company as a whole. And, even if they understood, they're unlikely to have the skills to do anything about it. The fault is your management's, not theirs.

If there's anyone in your organisation who can see the whole picture, and has the clout to take corrective action, then you should mount a formal petition, with all the evidence you can muster, and present it with force. But you say that 'there seems to be no one left who is able to connect everything up'. If that's true, then I'm afraid you can expect more of the same.

Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. His book Another Bad Day at the Office? is published by Penguin at £6.99. Address your problem to Jeremy Bullmore at: editorial@managementtoday.com. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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