Bridge Southeast Asia

Technology

Emerging Access

As more people from around the world hear about Bridge, one question I get asked more often is, “So what is Bridge?”

Let me answer this: Bridge is a People Technology Company. What that means is that we are committed to using technology to improve the productivity and rewards of people, specifically, of workers, those putting energy into generating value.

I’ll share my thoughts on Productivity in another post, but I would like to share on what we believe to be the right way of rewarding workers, something we call Emerging Access.

Emerging Access means helping people grow (emerge) through better options (Access) and equal opportunity (Access).

We wanted to go beyond the current very transactional, purely material, highly impractical, and, frankly, very uncreative, ways of rewarding workers. Basically, when scoping the field we saw the following situations:

1. No Rewards

2. Salary-Based Rewards

3. Performance-Based Rewards

4. Material Rewards

The No Rewards situation obviously is not sustainable because the competition for great talent is harder than ever. This is possible in industries that utilize redundant labor, but don’t expect any dynamism from people who are not rewarded commensurately. This is particularly true for contractual employees. There is an extreme example of this, where employees are not only not-rewarded, but negatively exploited, such as when companies charge employees for disbursements of their own salary (yes, this happens quite often). So the guy who is already taking home very little is charged to withdraw his own pay. If you’re a company that’s ok with this, shame on you!

The Salary-Based Rewards situation is limited by annual schedules. In a fast-moving world, with people less and less willing to wait, working all year for a potential 2-5% salary increase when being expected to deliver 10-20x is not only NOT motivating, it gets discouraging. Despite that, this is the basic arrangement full-time employees rely on for rewards, and can be built on.

The Performance-Based Rewards are a great way to link Productivity with Rewards, but it usually on credits one kind of performance, such as beating sales targets, hitting production quota, or being on time consistently. I personally think it’s a good idea to utilize performance-based incentives as part of your overall compensation plan, but just keep in mind that to get the best out of a worker, you can’t have them running around with blinders just trying to achieve one kind of metric. Today’s company needs more collaboration, more agility, and more resourcefulness, hardly the qualities of someone who is narrow-minded.

Material Rewards, which include things like gift vouchers and flexible benefits, are also well-meaning, tax-maximizing ways of rewarding workers. One of the things I like about this is the options it gives workers. This is a step in the right direction. The main reason why I, personally, don’t choose it is because we, including me, tend to value material things over abstract things. For example, given the choice between taking a rest leave and converting that leave into points for buying a new phone, I, and I would think most people, would opt for the phone. I don’t want my team trading in much-needed rest for more “things”. I want them recuperating, creating margin in their life, having experiences out of the office, and truly recreating. People are more than just “make money to buy things” beings. Materialism has a way of making us live to work to afford things. I want my people experiencing the richness of life, and realizing that there are amazing things we can create and huge needs one can address. You will only recognize these if you move away from purely material motivations.

But the biggest thing going against these situations is simply this: Senior management is not incentivized to increase rewards commensurate to productivity. Why? Because they’re incentivized (meaning their own salary and bonuses) are mostly hinged on profitability, and how does a company become more profitable? By increasing productivity (sales, output) at a rate that’s higher than expenses (including cost of labor). So management is constantly faced with a “us or employees” decision.

So what should a company, a leader, whether CEO, Team Leader, or HR Manager do? How do they bridge seemingly competing ideas of rewarding employees more and increasing profitability.

The “AND” of Rewards

Bridge Access users can enjoy discounts and flexible payments on Lazada among many other merchant partners.

(Caption: Bridge Access users can enjoy incredible shopping options on Lazada among many amazing choices.)

At Bridge, one of our values is Understanding, captured by the statement, “In a world of “OR” look for the “AND”. So we developed a way to reward employees without costing employers, and without trapping them in a purely material mindset, we call our platform Bridge Access.

Here’s how it works: Employers make Bridge Access available to all their employees completely free. Employees can now enjoy low-cost loans (removing the lender-borrower relationship between employers and employees), low-cost placements (which includes savings, investments, and insurance), and low-cost purchases (from popular sites like Lazada, FoodPanda, and more). All these low-cost options are geared towards one thing: generating savings for the worker, who we also incentivize to put into forced savings, investments, and insurance, achieving not only material gain but financial inclusion AND financial security as well.

Here’s the end goal for every worker: Lower debt, higher savings, AND still be able to afford the life you want.

Again, this doesn’t cost the employer anything. They don’t even guarantee any repayments. They’re simply a partner in giving their own employees more access.

Other than basics of loans, placements, and shopping, Bridge Access has Bridge Points, a non-monetary way of rewarding employees who exhibit good behavior, from coming in on time to regularly donating to a chosen cause (we want to teach them to give too).

And we’re just getting started. There are more amazing merchants on the platform and scheduled to go live. The best way to do learn more about the platform is to make an account and try it out. It’s easy and free.

Emerging Access

I’m going to get personal here, and business is personal, especially when we’re talking about lives and livelihoods. I have a one year old, and every day I think about the kind of future I would for him, the future I can prepare for, and the future world he’s entering. I think about these because I care for him. He is valuable to me. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard leaders and companies say, “People are our most valuable assets”, only to watch how they treat their people. So much for valuable. You don’t treat someone who is valuable as disposable. You don’t reward someone who is valuable with the bare minimums. You cultivate them, train them, develop them, encourage them, prune them, and, of course, truly reward them. You develop them to be their best version of themselves (as seen by their productivity) and you are overjoyed to see them succeed and enjoy life.

Personally, I love seeing my team’s vacation photos, especially when they’re with their family. I love seeing them trying new experiences, traveling, and resting. And I love enabling them with ways to access these things. I love it so much, we built a company to help other companies enjoy it too.

5 Ways to Improve Payroll for Your Organization (PayDay Blog)

When organizations think about saving time and money, improving payroll is a good place to start. A few adjustments in the payroll process can go a long way. Here are 5 ways to improve payroll in your organization:

1. IMPROVE TIMEKEEPING AND ATTENDANCE

Timekeeping and attendance information is the basis for most employees’ payroll. This is why to improve payroll, consolidating attendance information is key. This is where most organizations usually spend the most time on for regular payroll.

To improve attendance consolidation, first, consider improving your method of timekeeping. If you’re still using manual sheets or punch cards to clock in/out of the office, switching to a biometric device may help you eliminate costly hours you’re currently spending on encoding work.

Second, consider whether integration is the next step for you. It may be that you’re already using a biometric device in your organization but still spend much time exporting/converting data so you can use it for payroll computation. In this case, consider getting a full solution that enables you direct integration between your timekeeping devices, and your HR/Payroll software.

2. AUTOMATE LEAVES AND SCHEDULE MANAGEMENT

Capturing employees’ time logs is one thing, but crossmatching that against their schedules, is another.

This is why simply upgrading to an automated timekeeping device is usually not enough especially for organizations with workforces whose schedules change from time to time. Without a system to easily manage employees’ schedules, determining whether a person is late or early, absent or on leave, will be challenging. Moreso will computing deductions, or overtime pay.

Automating your schedule and leaves management not only make crossmatching employees’ logs with their schedules easier, some solutions also help you streamline approvals for attendance-related requests such as overtime, leaves, and schedule changes.

 3. MAXIMIZE DE MINIMIS BENEFITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONUS CAP

Not as many organizations are aware of or know how to leverage the de minimis and the bonus cap outlined by the BIR. Essentially, what happens is that organizations compute employees’ withholding taxes higher.

Because of this, employees either get lesser take-home pay than what is actually possible or companies shell out more money than they need to in order to achieve greater take-home pay for their employees.

And so to maximize these benefits and the cap for tax-exempt bonuses, organizations can either learn how to do this themselves, or seek the help of professional payroll practitioners (through consultation, or through regular payroll service).

Coins - Improve Payroll

4. STREAMLINE PAYROLL DISBURSEMENT

Sometimes, the challenge for organizations is not the computation of employees’ wages, but the actual disbursement of payroll.

Organizations can improve payroll disbursement by considering cash management solutions offered by their local bank. These solutions typically allow organizations to schedule payroll disbursement and streamline approvals.

Some companies can still take this further by contracting a service provider to also help in the payroll disbursement process, typically by giving them uploader/maker access to their cash management platform—so there is no need to switch to another disbursement method. This helps save companies even more time, so they simply just have to approve transactions they have already reviewed and authorized.

5. GO PAPERLESS TO IMPROVE PAYROLL EXPERIENCE

Printing reports, payslips, and other payroll-related documents take time, money, and lots of effort!

For instance, if you’re still printing payslips and handing them out manually to staff every payout, consider distributing payslips through email (but make sure they’re secured!) or even better through an HRIS system that allows access to electronic payslips.

As for reports and employee documents, some HR solutions already allow you to generate reports on the fly, keep an electronic 201 file, and produce the government statutory documents for electronic filing.

Payroll Management System

When to Invest in a Payroll Management System in the Philippines (PayDay Blog)

Most business owners tend to hire individuals to manually work on admin tasks instead of using integrated software and outsourcing services. This is especially true for startups or small businesses where there’s typically limited resources and a smaller staff to maintain.

However when the business grows, so will staffing concerns. Manual processes, especially with payroll, can be tedious and have a negative impact on overall efficiency and productivity.

This is when organizations need to consider setting in place a payroll management system.

WHAT IS A PAYROLL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM?

A payroll management system is the use of any or a combination of software, hardware, streamlined processes, and payroll services that work seamlessly to help companies make payroll processing (and other payroll-related functions such as timekeeping) faster and more accurate.

That said, getting a payroll management system is much more than just signing up for cloud software or say using a biometrics device. It is implementing an overall system and process, designed specifically for the organization’s needs.

SIGNS THAT YOUR COMPANY SHOULD INVEST IN A PAYROLL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

In general, organizations must already have a payroll process in place. The question is when these existing processes (manual or aided with existing software) need to be streamlined into a more integrated system. The following signs will help you know that it is time to invest in a payroll management system.

Your business is growing

A manual system for handling administrative tasks is an unsustainable model for startups that are seeing signs of growth and progress. If you see that automating these processes as you grow will save you time, and resources, you might just be right.

Your current systems are incompatible

A payroll management system is a fully integrated system that can handle various data points and perform accurate computations in a fraction of the time it takes to do it manually. For instance, you may have procured a biometric device to make manual encoding a thing of the past, but your current software cannot integrate with the device directly. It may be time to consider a more flexible system for your organization.

You have too many backlogs

If you are spending too much time fixing payroll issues instead of focusing on your business, then you’re not maximising your full capacity. And you might be selling yourself —and your company—short. Don’t let administrative task stop you from looking at the big picture.

Relying on a manual system or outdated process increases the risk of mistakes. These can cost a lot of time, legal fees, and resources to correct. Using the right payroll management system will ensure that you’re on top of compliance requirements on a consistent basis.

Desk - payroll management system

You get too many employee complaints about salary mistakes

Salary concerns are a touchy subject, and employees are understandably sensitive to any mistakes committed while computing their paycheck. Invest in a reliable system to fix these issues, and it can lead to loyal and happy workers who will work hard for you for years to come.

Your current payroll process relies on too much paper

It’s time-consuming and wasteful to continue to use a system that needs too much paper. Cloud computing options allow for 24/7 access to vital information, where reports can be generated in an instant and data updated as soon as new information comes in.

PROS AND CONS OF A PAYROLL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

Benefits

  • Efficient employee information management
  • Convenient and easy report generation
  • Security Management
  • Accurate salary computation that arrives on time
  • Reduce HR administrative tasks
  • Access to up-to-date compliance regulations

What to think about

While deploying a payroll management system might require time and resources, in general having a payroll management system in place gives far more benefits than the work involved in setting it up and choosing the right one. That said, the benefits are dependent on the successful implementation and transition to a new process.  The following are things to consider when you think it is time for you to explore a payroll management system.

  • Up-front and maintenance costs
  • employee training requirements
  • the time required for installation, setup, and configuration.

A reliable payroll management system is vital to running a successful business. It handles the repetitive, tedious, and time-consuming tasks so that you and your management team can have more time, energy, and resources to focus on activities that will grow your business. There might be upfront and maintenance costs to deal with, but the benefits of automating your company’s payroll system far outweigh these costs.

If you’re interested and would like to know more about when you should invest in a payroll management system for your business, we’d love to help you. Send us a message at info@bridgesoutheast.com.

4 Benefits of Payroll Outsourcing (PayDay Blog)

Payroll outsourcing is a viable and effective way to reduce cost, save time, and improve payroll processes for many organizations. If you haven’t considered it yet, check out the four things it can potentially provide your business.

THE BENEFITS OF PAYROLL OUTSOURCING

1. Professional Service

At first glance, outsourcing your payroll might make you think, “why should I have someone else do something I can do myself?”

Well, anyone who has personally handled a company’s payroll can attest to the amount of time and work it takes. Calculating employees’ payroll involves getting employees’ time and attendance information correctly, understanding payroll rules, and working with varying benefits policies from employee to employee, and employer to employer.

One of the benefits of payroll outsourcing is that all that difficult and complex work is handled by a professional team. This way, not only do you get accurate results and computations, you also get it done efficiently.

An effective outsourced payroll services provider will also keep track of changes in labor laws and tax tables that affect payroll computation. Organizations who choose to handle payroll on their own (even with the aid of their own payroll software) are many times at risk of missing these changes. These result in inaccurate payroll calculations usually leading to fines, penalties, and disgruntled employees.

Organizations who choose to handle payroll on their own (even with the aid of software) are many times at risk of missing critical changes in labor policies and tax laws that affect payroll.

2. Security

It is in the best interest of an outsourced payroll provider to ensure that your data is secure. This is just as it is in the best interest of banks to ensure that their clients’ money is secure. Because of this, a good outsourcing provider will ensure that they observe industry best practices in maintaining security on all fronts: infrastructure, technology, and people.

Security - Benefits of Payroll Outsourcing
Don’t let security issues worry you when you can have a professional team take care of it.

Outsourcing by its very nature means that you trust another provider who can do what you do for you, but better.

A good provider can potentially provide you better information security. That said, when choosing to outsource your payroll, be sure that your provider meets industry standards. These include ISO certifications and professional third-party certifications for the actual team that will process your data and information.

3. Savings

One of the benefits of payroll outsourcing is potential savings. According to a 2014 global study of Deloitte, “regardless of an organization’s payroll operating model, nearly all organizations outsource some portion of their payroll operations to reduce cost”, among other benefits.

Even big companies who can afford to have their own in-house payroll system can still find outsourcing as a viable means of reducing operational cost by getting savings directly and indirectly.

Savings can be achieved when the direct cost of outsourcing is lower than the direct cost of hiring, training, and keeping an internal staff to handle payroll. Second, savings can also be achieved through optimizations only professional payroll practitioners are able to spot and implement. And thirdly, savings can also come indirectly through increased worker productivity.

4. Time and Productivity

Highly effective organizations know better to focus on what really makes their business grow. This is why even though payroll is one of the most basic functions in an organization, it is mostly more efficient to have this outsourced. The less time staff have to spend on those, the more time they can spend focusing on the business.

Depending on an organization’s size and industry, processing payroll when done in-house can take anywhere from 6 hours to up to 36 hours a month. Just think of how much potential high impact productivity is lost in those hours. Now imagine, what if HR staff can get even just half of those hours back and reallocate it to more mission-critical activities?

IMPORTANT: CHOOSE THE RIGHT PARTNER.

Ultimately, outsourcing will only be successful when it’s done right and done with the right partner. To maximize the potential benefits of payroll outsourcing, be sure to engage only with a provider that will not only give you the outsourced service but is also equipped to provide you the technologies to make payroll seamless end-to-end.