Doug Bonderud

This is the third of a three-part series on managing global payroll. Here, we explore how global payroll data offers a strategic advantage when businesses can collect multiple data streams and use them in combination with other enterprise data. Check out part one to learn about solutions and best practices for global pay services’ biggest challenges and part two to find out how a flexible pay system can enhance a multinational organization’s resiliency.

Global payroll data never stops. Organizations continuously collect and use it to ensure staff are compensated correctly, compliance obligations are met and budget outlays align with expectations. For multinational businesses, however, this data can do even more.

With the right approach, global payroll information can go beyond basic operations to inform strategic decision-making at scale. In a recent input session on global payroll, ADP Vice President of Product Management Tonya James explored some of the ways organizations can leverage their payroll data to inform strategic insights.

Common global payroll data streams

“The value of things like payroll data has really come to the forefront,” James says. “But how can global payroll be more of a strategic asset — and what do organizations need to make this happen?”

It all starts with data streams. Before you can find strategic insight, James explains, you need to pinpoint where the data originates and how it’s categorized. A well-equipped global payroll solution can do that, helping you leverage greater insights in areas like these:

Wages and overtime

With this data stream, you can identify the average employee wage on both a per-country and global basis. You can also spot high and low outliers, along with how many overtime hours are worked and what they cost. With different wage and payment rules for each country, collecting and curating this global data helps inform the long-term business strategy.


Payroll data can be used to calculate the average length of time employees stay with your organization. A global payroll solution can allow you to compare this data across multiple countries. You can then study what’s working at locations with high tenure rates and focus your retention efforts on ones with lower rates.


Turnover rates let businesses realize how they compare with market averages. On a global scale, this data can help you predict staffing shortfalls in specific geographic areas before they happen.

Training needs

Talented staff is hard to find and retain, but cross- and upskilling offer businesses the chance to stay competitive. Data from a global payroll system, particularly one that integrates with your learning management software, can give you a big-picture look at training needs. You can see which offices have enough trained staff, which need more and which could benefit from internal assistance, such as temporary experienced employees.

Retirement trends

Retirement ages vary by country. For example, the average retirement age in the United States is 66, but in France, retirement starts at 64. In Italy, many workers retire at 62. Reviewing your organization’s global retirement data can help you prepare hiring plans that anticipate your business’s staffing needs.


Hiring data provides an overview of recruitment success across various geographic locations. Employee expectations differ around the world, so this data can help your business explore what tactics work better in which locations.

Growth patterns

Global payroll data can underscore business growth trends as well as help identify potential problems. For instance, higher payroll costs often indicate business growth through increased working hours or focused hiring efforts. But when global payroll spending is up but revenues are down, you may realize a disconnection.

The necessity to guarantee the most effective payroll solution is essential to the daily efforts of every organization and ADP’s commitment to ensure the most secure and efficient processing of it. ADP’s Exemplary and Leader ratings demonstrate its continued commitment to payroll management around the globe, and should be congratulated for its ability to endure the scrutiny in the Buyers Guide market research.

Mark Smith, Partner and Head of Software at Ventana Research, part of ISG

Key components to capture global payroll potential

To make the most of your organization’s data, certain features of a global payroll solution are critical. James notes these as some of the top ones that can help propel an organization forward:

Cross-database integration

“So you’ve spent money on an HR system and a payroll system,” James says. “How are you sharing data between both of those and really realizing the value of both systems?”

Data collection tools can gather information from key data sources, such as payroll and HR databases, and then integrate this information with other business data sources. Automated solutions are often the best choice because they remove the need to manage multiple manual processes.

International data analysis

Global payroll solutions make it possible to connect and integrate data from disparate sources simultaneously. A multinational enterprise might have offices in multiple countries — or multiple states and provinces within those countries. As a result, you need solutions that provide both large- and small-scale data analysis. By analyzing global payroll data, you can track worldwide trends while local evaluations provide more focused insight.

Actionable data insight

Turning analyzed data into action requires a combination of C-suite support and data analyzes tied to business goals. Consider an enterprise experiencing significant employee attrition coupled with increased overtime costs. Payroll data analysis can help identify the root cause of these trends and inform specific action. For example, say retirement is the key driver of employee loss, and overtime is a result of less-experienced staff looking to bridge the knowledge gap. In that case, it may be worth creating a training program that helps new staff transition into the roles that older employees vacated.

Benefits of payroll data integration

Integrating payroll into larger data streams offers multiple benefits. Here are a few examples of how blending payroll data could be leveraged to your organization’s advantage:

  • Training data + employee feedback = enhanced global experience. Analyzing and integrating payroll data makes it possible to enhance the employee experience. For example, businesses can combine training data with employee feedback to create tailored education plans that improve staff morale and efficacy.
  • Hiring + retention + tenure data = improved local operations. “Being able to look at things like trends with headcount and tenure can help drive investments,” James says. “What kind of training might you need if tenure is low? Where are long tenures setting the stage for a wave of retirements?” Understanding employment trends at both local and global scales can help an organization determine the best approach on a site-by-site basis.
  • Wages + hours worked + overtime = reduced overall costs. It’s possible to reduce costs with payroll data. Consider compliance. If businesses aren’t compliant with local and national regulations, they could face fines or penalties. Complete visibility into staff wages, overtime and working-hour data helps reduce the risk of costly noncompliance.

Missed connections and found opportunities

If your global payroll tools don’t allow easy access to data or if your payroll teams don’t have the skills necessary to collect and apply this data, you may miss key opportunities, James points out.

One of the most important is the ability to streamline your operations. Consider if you had data streams that showed a slowdown in hiring along with an increase in the number of hours current staff work. In isolation, this data may appear unrelated. Collected in concert, however, it can spur you to reevaluate the hiring process, which may reveal onboarding challenges that lead to new staff turnover and overworked current employees.

Payroll offers never-ending streams of insight for international enterprises — if they have the tools to effectively capture, consolidate and analyze this data. Equipped with the right components, your business can combine disparate data streams into reliable, relevant and real-time data rivers.

Get the big picture, local view and employee insight you need to drive strategic value with ADP’s global payroll solutions.

This article originally appeared on SPARK powered by ADP.

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