I’m the controller for this company (DGE) for the last 6 years. They used to do payroll in house for the last 50 years. This year, my bosses asked me to get a quote from an outside payroll provider so I did. Once I got the quotes, they decided on which payroll provider. To make a long story short, this outside payroll provider has begun to do the payroll for us for the last 3 months now. In-house, I have 2 ladies, one is a Payroll data entry and the other is Human Resources. Both have access to employee’s pay rate. Now with the outside payroll provider, we have the ability to do a blind-payroll-data-entry which my bosses are more comfortable with. My idea is to have the payroll data entry lady to do a blind-payroll-data-entry. However, with giving her a blind-payroll-data-entry, this means she can no longer do payroll changes, payroll increases, etc. All of those functions I believe should be a function of Human Resources and Controller. My bosses believe the same. I know that the Payroll data entry lady (who has been working for this company more than two decades) will feel slighted if I tell her that her responsibility has gone down. Please let me know if I’m doing this right or not. If not, how should I handle this? Thank you!
Payroll vs HR
Have you thought about introducing the change as an "internal control/better division of duties move" that protects her from situations where, if something is wrong, she cannot be implicated?
Yes, I have done exactly what you said. However, this lady doesn't accept that as an explanation.
If exec management support the change, then get one of them to sit down with you as you explain to this person why the change is taking place. Don't abrogate this to your boss, you will lose credibility and fail to gain experience in handling sensitive/difficult situations.
Practice a role play and think of questions/objections and how you would answer. In the end, remember who is supposed to be in charge and who is obliged to follow her boss' directions, unless of course she has a better way or no longer wants to work there.
I'm so grateful for your responses. I've learned so much from them.
A few days after my post here, this lady wrote a letter of resignation (addressed to my bosses, not to me) stating her reasons as I make her feel slighted. Since she has been here for more than two decades, my bosses asked me to speak to her and apologize. They advised me to repeat to her (again) that such changes were made with the company's well-being in mind. My bosses also said you're her boss so you need to talk to her. They advised me to ask her what is her comfort level but don't let her stop the changes you are meant to make. They said that if we accept her resignation now, you will be at fault. They predicted that in four weeks if she still feels the same, we will accept and that won't be your fault.
So, I called this lady into my office and we talked. During our chat, I can see that she doesn't believe that these changes are backed by my bosses. In her manner of speaking, I can also see that she still doesn't believe that she answers to me. She said, "even though they don't give me the title of Payroll Mgr but I do the work." I assured her that her work is not of a payroll manager works. She seems convinced of that but I can't be certain. She was happy with my apologies and I assured her that going forward I would give her the respect of knowing the changes before I make them. She hugged me after this meeting.
After that meeting, my impression is that she feels she should be a manager or something in supervisory level but her work doesn't reflect that of a manager, more like a know-it-all.
(Side note: a few weeks ago, one of my bosses who is my mentor, called a meeting between him, her and I. The purpose of the meeting is to let her know that she (as an accounting admin) answers to a controller. Apparently, after more than two decades of working in the accounting dept, she doesn't realize that a controller is her boss. My boss asked her "do you know that you answer to the controller?". She shook her head and said "No". Then my boss said "Anyone who works in the accounting dept answers directly to the controller. She is the boss. Anyone else who deals with numbers, i.e. property maintenance, leasing, etc, also answer to the controller." Leaving that meeting I thought she'd understood.)
Another thing I want to add that this lady brought her son here to do filing without checking with me. That was before she was made aware by the officers that I am her boss. But after meeting, she continues to have her son there without checking with me first.
I have made one of the officer (my mentor) aware that I am bothered by the following behavior and he said that we will have to talk about that later. This happened two weeks ago. The reason to talk about that later is that I need to have a meeting with her first about the fact that she feels slighted.
It feels so good to have it out in the open like this.
Appreciate more feedback.
Just want to add that this is the same lady who
1. hid the entry (an unauthorized purchase of her car, using the company money and one of the executive mgmt wired the money to the dealer). She hid it in one of our company's asset account.
2. fail to file 1099 for her son who occasionally does filing for us.
3. pay her son under the table using the petty cash money (the cash request was unauthorized - the signature line was blank).
Upon confrontation by me, she blamed all the above to the one of the officer who bought the car for her (the use of the company fund was unauthorized by the other officer). With the other officer's help, I also confronted him in a separate meeting.
What I learned thus far is that whatever she handled in the past, she hid from me. I had to find out about it myself but she believes she is in the position of authority. How do I handle this?
In our meeting I let her know that I don't mean to make her feel any disrespect and we will all be more transparent moving forward.
I can only hope she gets the message. With time, she will understand. I hope.
I am doing my best to (1) secure the company's asset by putting her work under review (the fact that she doesn't like because she feels she had never been reviewed before), (2) protect myself from getting hoodwinked further in the future, and (3) structured the working system so that none of my staff can assume that they have power over the company's operation.
Sorry for such a long post. Further feedback is highly appreciated.
J A - check your profile. I sent u a message there.