Melissa Hentschel is Chief Delivery Officer at Onbe, where she builds high-performing teams that deliver on operational and service excellence for our clients and their payment recipients.
Let’s be honest: most of us have a few things on our to-do lists right now that won’t get done by Friday. In recent years, being stretched too thin has been an ongoing challenge for many professionals. (In fact, research from Asana found that 26% of deadlines are missed every week.) In order to find quality time for heads-down, focused work and deep, uninterrupted thought—the activities that lead to innovation and problem-solving—employees need to make space by offloading tasks that don’t really need their input. Fortunately, digital tools and solutions make it increasingly easier to speed up cumbersome processes and automate tasks, transforming jobs and the people who perform them.
Payments is one area where this evolution is happening at a fast pace. Of course, at Onbe, we’re advocates for how digital solutions make payments so much easier. But many organizations are surprised to learn just how many business areas are impacted by payments—and how much time and resources these activities require when companies don’t see the opportunity to switch to more efficient processes. Beyond employee compensation, most organizations make occasional off-cycle payments, such as reimbursements for home office supplies, not to mention per-diem expenses for business travel (which is already starting to make a comeback). And don’t forget payments to vendors, gig workers, and others not on your payroll, as well as customer-facing payouts like rebates, rewards, and credit balance refunds.
Managing payment programs usually falls on those with job descriptions that encompass far more than payment administration. For instance, finance and HR professionals often end up juggling a lot of details to ensure payroll happens smoothly, especially when the business relies on outdated processes like cutting checks. A payment strategy that leverages digital tools and capabilities can relieve a lot of headaches by automating processes or reducing time-consuming tasks to a few clicks. Instead of processing hundreds or thousands of checks, businesses can switch to a digital payments program that requires minimal oversight, with a drastically reduced administrative burden. So, small teams can do more, large teams can stay agile, and everyone has more time to focus on higher-level objectives that add value for the company.
Improving payment processes and taking advantage of the convenience and flexibility of digital payments doesn’t just make employees’ jobs easier. It empowers them to become connectors and strategizers, envisioning new ways to build better employee and customer experiences. For example, digital payment capabilities enable HR departments to spend less time administering payroll programs and more time planning initiatives that engage and support workers. Finance professionals can focus on identifying opportunities to boost profitability and efficiency, not on disbursing vendor payments. And marketing teams can leverage turnkey payment solutions to deliver more innovative, sophisticated, and trackable consumer incentive programs than they could achieve in house. That’s not necessarily “less work.” But it’s more meaningful work—the kind of work that adds value for organizations and their customers while allowing employees to shine.
Payments are just one of many areas where businesses can operate more efficiently and make the most of their teams’ talents. But it’s a big one. The digital acceleration we’ve seen over the past year has led to rapid adoption of payout solutions that help companies and employees do more with less effort and expense. And I think the best thing that’s coming out of this evolution is more time for the things on our to-do lists that deserve our full energy and focus: making connections, driving organizational change, and thinking up creative new ideas and solutions. That’s what I’m most passionate about in my career, and I imagine you are, too—so, let’s make it a priority to find the time and space we need to get it done!