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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


In the past there has been so much chatter about attracting Generation Z and Millennial employees into the workforce. Trying to crack the code to entice a younger cohort with gym memberships, casual work environments and even additional vacation time has been a focal point in the hiring process for years. 

It has long been thought younger generations are different than their predecessors when it comes to perks and benefits.

However, that line of thinking couldn't be more off the mark. ​

Ironically, it isn't the bells and whistles Generations Z or Millennials are looking for. It is a far more basic ​function – simply a payroll system that is accurate and timely.

In a newly released Canadian Payroll Association Essential Benefits Survey it clearly showed it is back to basics. Nearly four out of five respondents reported consistent and accurate pay as the key benefit of employment they would not work without. The result of identifying pay as essential was consistent across all demographics.

This makes sense.

In some start-ups, some small businesses and other companies where pay is inconsistent and unpredictable it can lead to frustration, stress and unpaid bills. It can also impact the employee and employer relationship when trust breaks down and rather than focusing on the job at hand, time and energy is redirected to how, when and if they will be paid.

It can be exhausting trying to just get paid for the job being done according to the terms and conditions outlined during the hiring process.

This is a big deal.

The report highlights 87 per cent of respondents said that if their pay was withdrawn, changed, frequently disrupted or compromised, they would trust their employer less and feel less valued.

Employee turnover is expensive and when payroll is sloppy, employee retention is less likely.

Now to be fair while payroll was the number one concern across all demographics, health and benefits (61 per cent), RRSP programs and pension plans (43 per cent), flexible working arrangements (38 per cent) training and development opportunities (35 per cent), additional vacation time (30 per cent) and work perks (12 per cent) were all considered to be nice to haves but a distance behind getting paid on time or at all, according to the survey.

In an environment where the war for talent is still thriving, getting your payroll set up properly, and that includes accuracy, is a key component in attracting the best of the best.

It seems to be basic to pay an employee accurately and on time but you might be surprised how often it doesn't happen.