I created “The My Payroll Career” song after being inspired by the many payroll people I have had the pleasure to meet during my 20+-year career as a payroll recruiter and, more recently, as a payroll podcaster. The words of Global Payroll Manager Max Van Der Klis-Busink first stirred me when he told me on The Payroll Podcast that payroll is fantastic because it is the only industry that “brings together all the best aspects of HR, Tech and Finance”. This line later became one of the lyrics I used in the song.
Other conversations with industry leaders, such as Vickie Graham from the CIPP, inspired me to add other lyrics that eventually formed the foundation for the songwriting itself. Of course, the song started as just a bit of fun; however, it soon became a project that I wanted to publish because I realised there was a story to be told within the lyrics that could help demonstrate what a great profession the payroll industry is. I couldn’t wait to add the line, “People think we press a button, and that makes me mad,” as I knew this would speak to 99% of all payroll professionals globally. I have dedicated my entire professional career to the payroll industry as a recruiter, so when I hear these remarks, I swear they make me just as angry! I know first-hand just how hard people work in payroll and how qualified and skilled you must be to make it to the top of the profession. That is why I also added lyrics about payroll being a chartered professional, highlighting the passion, commitment and training required to become a true payroll lead.
I helped develop the recent CIPP #ChoosePayroll campaign because, during my podcast recordings, it became apparent that most payroll professionals say they “fell into payroll“. Subsequently, I wanted to start the song with these lyrics. However, I also firmly believe that we need more people to choose payroll, not fall into it. Payroll has become a challenging career everyone should and can be proud of, so I wanted to recognise that in the song. In addition, it was important to me that the song also pointed out early in the lyrics that payroll is “a critical function that does act as a junction” for “supporting well-being, HR and accounts”. Interestingly, I wrote these lyrics pre-pandemic; however, I think they are more pertinent now than ever.
The relationship between payroll and employee well-being has never been more impactful than it is today. I love looking back at the song because I think the line “Keeping people paid correctly keeps businesses solvent” has also never been more accurate than it is right now. Payroll departments proved this with their commitment to keeping the UK paid during the pandemic. Now, in light of the great resignation, the payroll industry is doing it again. The great resignation (or great awakening, as I call it) has highlighted the impact payroll can have on employee well-being, attraction, and retention. I believe this relationship will continue to play a massive role in improving the strategic value payroll operations can have on the overall performance of an organisation.
Finally, with new technology and automation impacting the payroll industry from all angles, I wanted to finish the song with a positive outlook because that is how I see the future of payroll. I wanted to emphasise that although payroll is changing, I genuinely believe that “the landscape is looking bright“. The strategic value payroll operations have on organisational performance is now much more recognised. However, I still think we can move the needle further. With many innovations coming to the fore, such as pay-on-demand and blockchain technologies, I believe there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future.
Despite its importance, I remain surprised that, as an industry, payroll still lacks direct ministerial governance, so this line was a personal nod to say that I hope this changes one day. Although, I won’t deny trying to make this statement work in the song itself was challenging!
For the chorus, the line “I don’t mind liaising with HMRC” was my attempt at irony! I am sure the song will not win any awards; however, I had a lot of fun creating it and am proud to have produced something that resonated with the payroll industry. I also created the music that underpins the song; however, contrary to popular belief, it isn’t me singing the lyrics! Instead, I outsourced that part of the production to a professional!
The song has had over 8000 downloads and has played over 20,000 times via streaming services. However, be warned; if you haven’t heard it, it is also very catchy! We even have it as our JGA Recruitment hold music!
Ultimately, I wanted to give a nod to how fun and hard-working the payroll community is and if this song has helped achieve that, I couldn’t be prouder or happier. Hearing the song played at the 2022 CIPP Conference and Awards to a room full of inspirational payroll professionals is a moment that will live with me for a very long time. For new listeners of the song, I hope it emphasises that “payroll is essential and critical” because I firmly believe it is!
The song, My Payroll Career was written and produced by Nick Day, founder of payroll specialist recruitment firm, JGA Recruitment. The song is available on iTunes and Amazon as well as our website here: https://jgarecruitment.com/payroll-song/.
After all, we all love payroll, right? I know I do, and I believe after 20 years in this industry, it also loves me.
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