Who will disrupt payroll?

and why payroll startups raised an unprecedented $0.5B in January

Hey there,

when I decided to focus on payroll this month, I had no idea that in January alone, payroll innovators raised close to 0.5B dollars. It’s obviously a hot topic!

So much money flowing into the payroll space means that investors see potential for disruption. Also, payroll had been a bit neglected. In 2020, far more money went to companies in the Talent & Wellbeing space than to companies that are innovating the way people get paid.

And that’s unfortunate, because we now know that there is a direct link between financial and mental health. When an employee constantly worries about their finances, they can’t focus on work. We must find better ways to provide financial support and build people’s confidence when handling money.

The focus of this month’s deep-dive is how to disrupt payroll. I interviewed the founders from Payflow, Omnipresent and Check. They each focus on a different area, but are all on a mission to change the way people get paid. You’ll learn about access to earned wages, paying the global workforce and making payroll an intrinsic part of business suites.

Next month, I’ll introduce you to the new HCM Suites. Please reach out if you have something to share.

Have a great day, Anita

If you like my writing , I hope you’ll become a subscriber:

Insights & Ideas on payroll

There are large similarities between fintech and payroll, and it’s only a matter of time before fintech innovations spill over into payroll.

The team at Whitespace has done an awesome job listing payroll fintechs across the globe. You want to take a look at this overview, if only to understand the large number of companies disrupting this space. And see who’s active in your geography.

Anish Acharya, Seema Amble and Rex Salisbury wrote a long-read about the Promise of Payroll APIs, and it’s worth your time. They explore the connections and differences between fintech and payroll systems, and even include the trade-offs. It’s a primer for everyone wanting to understand the power of Payroll APIs.

I enjoyed listening to payroll analyst Pete Tiliakos on the DigiPay podcast. He discusses a variety of topics, from “payroll data as the new oil” to touchless payroll and the role of AI and ML. You can choose from 6 short episodes, providing you with a quick refresher on the current state of payroll and new trends.

PapayaGlobal launched a new community called People and Payroll where you can discuss payroll-related topics with other professionals. I’ve already participated in a couple of interesting Q&A’s, so check it out and join the conversation.

From financial wellness to perpetual valuation, Ruairi Kelleher lists the Global Payroll Trends to Watch out for in 2021 and Beyond. Especially for global payroll professionals to understand what to expect and how to prepare their strategies for this year.

Excel might not be the first payroll engine you think about, but small companies often run payroll in Excel and it works well for this segment. Priyom Sarkar shares tips and tricks to keep it accurate and explains how to best manage your data.

Meet the Innovators

Check out these new HRTechRadar members:

HCM Suite: OpsArc

Payroll: Staffology

Service Management: IVY, Optimize Compliance

Talent Management: Hyreo

What’s next in the world of work?

You’ve probably seen Microsoft’s new announcement about Viva, the employee experience platform “to bring tools for employee engagement, learning, well being, and knowledge discovery, directly into the flow of people’s work”. While my social media channels blew up about this event, I took a look at Viva beyond the hype.

“The 9-5 workday job is dead; and the employee experience is about more than ping-pong tables and snacks”, Salesforce announced this week. But removing all boundaries around the workday and workplace requires a careful approach, and is in essence the next digital transformation program.

When work can be done anywhere and at any time, helping workers maintain a healthy work-life balance will be essential. The team at Quartz wrote a special on the future of the digital workplace. They discuss aspects like which workplace apps to evaluate, and take on the topic of returning to physical offices (if ever). They also provide suggestions how we can make work work better for all of us (fix the culture) and avoid being controlled by our digital tools.

If you could invest in a person, who would you buy? Andy Spence discusses the Human Stock Market in his Workforce Futurist newsletter and tipped me on the HumanIPO app. It’s either a new way to fund-raise or the dystopian consequence of neoliberalism. Would you sell shares in your future self?

And finally, the pandemic is also a diversity crisis: the numbers show that more women have lost their jobs than men. If you set DEI (Diversity, Equality, Inclusion) goals for the year, you probably need to step up. Here’s a check list to get you started.


View all jobs.

Movers and shakers

The latest funding rounds and company updates are from companies covering all aspects from HR: from onboarding to workforce management suites and employee platforms. The most recent are:

Check out all announcements.


Feb 25 How to use People Data to make the Right Decisions

Mar 2 Employee Journey Webinar

Mar 9 HCM Cloud Negotiation Success – Strategic and Tactical Playbook

View all events.

Sharing is caring. If you think someone would enjoy this newsletter, please share!


See you next month!

Do you have comments, questions, tips, links for the next issue? Send me a note or schedule a chat.

Written by Anita Lettink. I write about workplace innovation and the future of work. I run HRTechRadar to showcase emerging companies. I’m also an analyst & advisor: ask me about HR, payroll and outsourcing. You can connect with me on Linkedin or Twitter.