A relatively new HR and payroll solution provider, who shall remain nameless, recently made the news when a large number of employees at one of their clients did not receive their paychecks directly deposited into their bank accounts. It triggered quite a reaction on social media and rightfully so. In response to one Tweet, the CEO of the self-proclaimed “Workday competitor” hand-delivered some cash to an employee who made the request in order to “pay the sitter today.” Oh, and the CEO also brought along three six-packs of beer.

Moral of the story – don’t mess up someone’s paycheck.

With so much focus on HR becoming more strategic through the use of Big Data, People Analytics or whatever the buzzword of choice is today, companies can easily lose sight of the most critical components of managing employees, like say, getting paid accurately and on time. As an employer, the quickest way to upset your employees – and immediately lower engagement – is to screw up their paycheck, benefits or key employee data. These mundane, time-consuming tasks have the most direct and significant impact on your employees. That’s why it is extremely important to make sure you have: 1) best practices in place and, 2) an HCM solution that is reliable, proven and trusted.

Two years ago, PeopleStrategy CEO, Randy Cooper, addressed this very issue in the video posted above. His point was clear then and still is today – if you don’t have a strong foundation (i.e. get the mission-critical functions done right), you can’t build a penthouse. As hard as it is not to get caught up in the marketing hype or the bells and whistles touted by many HCM vendors in today’s crowded market, we encourage you to step back, take a breath and focus on what you really need to get done correctly; then start building the strategic layers. Otherwise you may end up with a fridge full of beer but you most definitely won’t end up with the penthouse.