Ahead of the Autumn Update 2019, Karen Beckett, head of payroll and benefits for Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust, takes part in a short interview.
Beckett will be speaking at the conference, taking place on December 5th at the Hilton London Bankside.
Reward Strategy (RS): What has been the story of your career so far?
Karen Beckett (KB): “As with a number of payroll professionals, I did not choose payroll as a career but it chose me. I started as a payroll clerk in government in 1985. After a couple of years, I moved to the NHS where I spent 12 years and progressed to payroll officer and then team leader.
“I moved into the private sector in 1999, working for an independent recruitment agency. This is where, I considered, I learnt payroll as I also had to print payslips cheques and reports, send off the BACS details and run/process everything to get people paid and then report to the various legislative bodies. I left the recruitment agency to work for a payroll bureau and was responsible for paying staff at some high-profile organisations.
“In 2005, I returned to the NHS as a payroll manager. Having worked in a number of NHS organisations, I am now head of payroll and benefits for Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust responsible for payroll, pensions and staff benefits (including paying some client payrolls and providing a pension service to them) and have been in this post for the last six and a half years. I have recently taken on a project to implement self-service across the organisation.”
RS: What do you think has been the most visible change to the payroll and HR profession in the last year?
KB: “In payroll, the start of the tax year always brings about a number of changes. These seem to increase year-on-year, so we are tasked with staying up-to-date.
“The change in technology is also moving at a pace which presents its own challenges. The change to pensions is another area that is growing, which is requiring the team to have additional knowledge.”
RS: What do you think are currently and will be the biggest trials facing pay and reward professionals?
KB: “Technology. The rate at which technology changes creates its own challenges. We have a diverse workforce to support - not everyone embraces technology whilst others would like it to advance quicker. With a change in technology, there is a change in the payroll and reward professional’s role, which can be difficult."
RS: What is going to be the biggest area of investment for your payroll function in the next 12 months?
KB: “People. We have just recruited four payroll apprentices as well as increased the number of staff in the pension team. Now that there is a career pathway for payroll professionals, we felt that this was an opportunity to invest in the team and to promote payroll, pensions and reward as a career.”
RS: Without giving too much away, what two things will delegates learn from your session?
KB: “How technology can support payroll professionals in their role and how a career in payroll, pension and reward is changing.”
RS: What other sessions are you looking forward to at this year’s Autumn Update?
KB: "There is a wide selection of sessions which means that everyone will be able to take a lot away from the day. The sessions I am particularly looking forward to are:
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