“Along with mathematical and technical skills, written and oral communication skills are essential to the payroll professional in today’s workplace. Effective communication enables the payroll department to be legislatively compliant, increase productivity and create good working relationships with other departments within the business,” states Payroll Specialist Lori Thackray.

“To ensure a company’s employees feel their pay is correct, it’s crucial to have people in the payroll department who can educate everyone on how the payroll process works and how paychecks have been calculated. Any changes to benefits and other pay elements must be clearly described verbally or through well-constructed emails. Failure to clearly communicate things on time can kill the credibility not just of the payroll employee who makes the error but of the company as a whole in the eyes of a disgruntled employee,” advises the Canadian Business College.

How Can Payroll Professionals Communicate in a Clear and Effective Way?

1. Be Clear and Concise

When communicating payroll-related information, use clear and concise language to avoid confusion or misunderstanding. Avoid using technical jargon that may be unfamiliar to employees.

2. Timely Communication

Communicate timely and accurate information to employees, other departments or clients. Ensure that communication is sent promptly and that any deadlines are clearly communicated.

3. Respectful Communication

Be respectful and avoid using a condescending or aggressive tone. Maintain professionalism and empathy in all communications, written or in person. Remember that they don’t work in payroll, so they don’t have the understanding that you have. Being empathic and cordial is key to help them understand what you are saying and inspiring trust.

4. Provide Context

When communicating payroll information, provide context to help employees or clients understand the information better. For instance, explain the reason for changes in payroll calculations or tax rates so that they do not feel that there could be a mistake or that they are being wronged.

5. Use Visual Aids

Use visual aids like graphs and charts to help employees or clients better understand payroll-related information. These assets can also make communication more engaging and memorable than plain text or complicated spreadsheets.

6. Ask for Feedback

Ask for feedback, and learn their concerns and needs to understand how well you are communicating payroll-related information. For example, you can ask them to paraphrase what you said to confirm their understanding.

In addition to developing your communications skills and following these steps, it is also important to do a confidentiality check before you disclose any data. Payroll information is sensitive, so make sure to maintain strict confidentiality and handle sensitive information appropriately when required.


What is the most important skill a payroll professional should have for effective communication with employees or clients? Help us complete the list by adding your pick in the comments section. 

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