In an interview with Carsten Staehr, chairman of Cintra HR & Payroll Services, Reward Strategy highlights why recognition and The Reward 300 is so important.
RS: Why should we recognise those who drive excellence in the pay and reward profession?
CS: “I think 2020 taught us an important lesson with regards to the profession. The concept of ‘hero’ took on a new meaning. It’s certainly true that not all heroes wear capes.
“We have commended many previously unsung heroes this year: NHS workers, teachers, delivery drivers and supermarket staff. All of these people have been essential in looking after the health and wellbeing of the nation during a very difficult time.
“Behind these frontline workers were the equally essential, and often undervalued, payroll professionals who kept the nation paid! The effort of our frontline workers has been publicly recognised, so it’s vital we recognise these key workers as a profession.
"We must commend and celebrate our industry and our everyday heroes for the outstanding work they do. Highlighting the individuals that strive for excellence and continually seek to raise the bar is vital to ensure the pay and reward profession stays on the map and is recognised for the valuable contribution it makes.”
RS: How can we drive up excellence in the reward sector?
CS: “In my opinion, the best way to raise excellence is continued investment in education, training and sharing best practice. I am a firm believer in continual learning - certainly in the payroll industry, it’s an absolute necessity. Even without recent demands resulting from the pandemic, we are constantly alive to new challenges and need to have juggling skills that would be the envy of any top-class circus act.
“Payroll has become increasingly complex over the years and the ability to learn, question and adapt are now staple requisites in a payroll professional’s skill set. Strong foundations are vitally important when building a payroll career, which is why it’s a must that all Cintra bureau staff are CIPP-qualified, with many continuing their education to the highest level.
"The fact that there is now a defined route into the profession, through the Payroll Apprenticeship Scheme, is also a great step in establishing payroll as a desirable career. Cintra embraced the scheme and it’s working incredibly well, with an apprentice added to each of our outsourcing teams. The apprenticeship provides the opportunity to learn and then put that knowledge into practice, enabling us to grow future talent that takes great pride in being counted as one of the professions that keeps the wheels of industry turning.
“2020 also emphasised the importance of being a part of the wider reward community. Last year, we really saw the industry come together to master the ever-changing demands being placed upon it. In an industry that relies on teamwork, remote working certainly presented a challenge. However, teams across the country adapted quickly and efficiently, embracing technology to provide a unified, seamless service in a fragmented, remote world.”
RS: Why should those in the profession put themselves forward to be in the index?
CS: “The reward industry, and the payroll profession in particular, is a proud but modest bunch. I would encourage people to highlight their achievements and expertise so, collectively, we can continue to raise the profile of the industry as a whole and the immensely valuable contribution it makes.
“As a profession we are coming out of the pandemic stronger than ever – payroll is now on the map as a valued service, and it is imperative we keep it there. Opportunities to shine a light on those excelling should be grabbed with both hands. We need to recognise and celebrate those individuals who contribute to keeping payroll high on the agenda where it belongs.
"In the straight-talking words of the inimitable Dolly Parton: ‘Sometimes you just have to toot your own horn. Otherwise, nobody will know you’re a-comin’.”