Gross pay calculations made simple… because we’ll do it for you 

Ever wondered why your HR system doesn’t just calculate gross pay for you? We did too. So, we fixed it. Afterall, we love working next to payroll, but we don’t want to have to rely on them for the data that we need.

John Crowley • 
Gross pay calculations made simple

So, you’ve got a great team. Good work! That’s an important first rung on the HR ladder of success. Now it’s time to make sure they stay happy, stick around, and keep doing great work.  

Easy, right? Employee engagement = high levels of motivation = high productivity and low turnover. And there are approximately a million and counting HR systems that can help you with workforce motivation.  

Powerful data analytics will tell you who works well together. That’s peer motivation checked off. And it’s included in the best HR systems. 

Build a strong company culture and people will feel that they’re part of something worthwhile. That’s another tick for motivation—and for good HR software. 

Great communication and valuing employee feedback is always good. Another tick for most HR software. 

Training and room for growth is certainly motivational. Tick.  

Employee rewards. Tick.  

Recognition and encouragement. Tick. 

Promotion of a good work-life balance. Tick. 

The point is that most HR software can help to motivate your people in some way.  

But there’s one obvious thing that we haven’t listed. It’s a motivator that unites every working person. And it’s used by every company out there.  

*Spoiler alert*. It’s pay.  

And yet, pay is something that nearly every existing HR system gets wrong.  

Until now.  

Going for gross 

When it comes to pay, the most important figure on a payslip is gross income. Whether you’re looking at hourly wages or annual salaries, it’s the gross pay that shows the perceived monetary value of someone’s work. It’s gross income that’s advertised in job listings. Mortgage and loan companies don’t want to see net figures. Nor do landlords. Employees don’t negotiate for the figure that hits their account every month—they negotiate for gross.   

And it’s gross pay that your organisation will look at for the real business costs of employment.  

But when it comes to seeing, comparing, analysing, and understanding these vital figures, other HR systems offer one of two choices. People managers can either dust off their calculators—because most HR software doesn’t show total gross pay at all—or they can slide their virtual chair across to payroll, which could be an integrated software or an entirely separate system.  

Clearly, neither of those options are ideal. An HR system should integrate with other systems, sure. But it shouldn’t have to rely on them.  

Without that gross pay figure, HR departments are missing out on a wealth of important data about timing of pay increases, comparative salaries and wages across their teams, the real costs of running a workforce, and much more.  

They’re also missing out on the option to give employees a running total of their most important workplace benefit—their pay. Instead of a self-service portal that provides frustrating piecemeal rates and calculations, your HR portal could be giving them a single, live, gross figure. That means no more waiting for a payslip for their overtime earnings. HR professionals can say, “hey, you’ve worked 12 hours this week, this is what your wage looks like right now, pre-tax”. Or rather, your SenseHR system can say it for you. And that’s especially helpful and motivating for shift workers or anyone else who needs a clearer relationship between time worked and money earned. They can ask for extra shifts if they need to pay an unexpected electricity bill —don’t we all —or ask to cut back a little if they don’t. It’s empowering. 

And by providing the gross pay calculation and figure, HR can send the data to whatever form of payroll system your organisation uses, whether that’s a bureau, a team, or an integrated third-party software. No intermediary. No calculator. No fuss. Heck, you can even set access permissions for your payroll provider if you want to.  

Which means that you could all but eliminate the time gap between working the hours and being paid for them—and your people could earn money right up until the day before payroll, because the HR system is ahead of the gross-pay game. It’d be empowering as well as motivating to know that you could be paid tomorrow for the work you’re doing today, wouldn’t it? And it’s empowering for HR to know that they have a system that can do that, if they ever need or want it. 

Why don’t SenseHR just do payroll? 

It wasn’t long ago that HR software and payroll software went together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong … peas and carrots. People data and payroll data were kindred, transactional spirits, destined to share an administrative happy-ever-after…  

… except that’s not what happened. 

HR changed. It grew. It blossomed. It got strategic. It needed a living, breathing system, which echoed the living, breathing people who it represented.   

But payroll didn’t need to change. It carried on doing the same things it had always done and doing them very well. Sure, it added some cool new tricks here and there, but it’s fundamentally the same as ever.   

So, why do software companies keep pushing HR and payroll together?  

It’s not because they’re a perfect fit anymore.  

It’s not because it’s helpful to payroll—a great employee experience isn’t required to accurately process a P60—it might even get in the way.  

And it’s certainly not helpful to HR, which usually ends up losing out on strategic functionality to make way for the specialised needs of payroll.  

The simple truth is that all-in-one payroll and HR systems make more money for the software company.  

They don’t serve the customer.  

At SenseHR we’re not just HR experts, we’re HR enthusiasts. Our system has everything a people manager wants and needs, including benefits, pay information, and the all-important gross pay, but nothing that they don’t and won’t use. Our system can be tailored to your organisation and your people. Our system is pure, unadulterated, and seamless HR.  

It can connect to your payroll system, sure. It can share whatever data you want or need it to share. But it doesn’t and shouldn’t limit your choices and HR functions by doing the job of payroll. 

When great duos outgrow their relationship, things get bitter. Just look at Simon and Garfunkel, Axl and Slash, Steptoe and Son, and the dudes who played R2D2 and C-3PO.  

Don’t let that happen to HR and payroll.  

Bridge the gap. Integrate. Share data. Do all those cool things. 

But it’s time for the systems themselves to go solo and do what they do best.