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What to Expect During Implementation

You’ve signed an engagement letter with us, and you’ve scheduled your kick-off call with an Implementation Specialist. So, What’s next?!

If you’ve ever been engaged, the implementation process may feel strangely similar. You’re excited, nervous, and a little scared. You know you want this relationship, you said yes, and you’ve either given or received a beautiful ring that makes it official (or at least it better be there – right, ladies?) 

Of course, after you get engaged, it’s time to plan a wedding! If implementation is like an engagement, your first payroll process with us is the big wedding day, which we call your Go-Live Date

On your Go-Live date, you’ll be fully transitioned to our platform  and running payroll with us for the first time. By then, you will have had live training for the modules you purchased (outlined in your service agreement). 

Wedding planning is stressful, and there are always a million questions. We want to respond to your concerns, answer all of your questions, and make the Go-Live date as awesome, fun, and wonderful as it can be. 

Let’s outline what this process looks like for you and your team. By the end of this article, you’ll know what your implementation timeline looks like and how you can be prepared for the big day. 

Scheduling your kick-off call 

You’ve scheduled your Kick-Off call with an implementation specialist – but what happens during that call? (p.s., if you haven’t done that yet, click here). 

Your kick-off call is a Zoom screen-share where you and your implementation specialist fill out your New Client Order Form. We ask you to be patient with us – we know it’s a lot of redundant information you already gave to our sales team. 

We ask you these same questions to confirm that we have the right and accurate information about your company (you know salespeople – sometimes they miss the details!). We must ensure your client and payroll information is correct. If we don’t ensure accuracy on this step, it can lead to confusion about role assignments within your team or worse, missed payroll tax filings due to errors. 

If you want to pre-fill the New Client Order Form prior to your kick-off call, you can do that by submitting it here

However, if you’ve already filled it out, our kick-off call will be short and only consist of confirming your authorized contacts, outlining your Go-Live Date, and getting login credentials to your past payroll system. A kick-off call usually takes about 45 minutes, but if you pre-fill your form, it should take 20 minutes instead.

During this call, we will ask you to designate your authorized contacts. 

What is an authorized contact, and who should it be?

An authorized contact is a person on your team that you trust with sensitive information about your company like your employees social security number and payroll details. You can think of this contact like a super admin; there are only a handful of employees that need full access to your platform.

This is how we ensure we protect sensitive information about your company and eliminate potential fraud risks. We only speak with designated contacts concerning your company. If one of your employees called in, and asked us for information about another employee, we would not give them any information unless they were an authorized contact. In that case, we would tell your employee to speak with you directly.  

There are two types of authorized contacts. You want to decide who should be a full access authorized contact and a basic authorized contact. We have additional permissions set for managers, supervisors, and employees, but we’ll worry about that later. 

  1. Full-Access Authorized Contact 

A full-access authorized contact is someone on your team who has the authority to see all of your company and employee-related data and make changes to this information. 

This is often the owner, CFO, CHRO, or even the payroll administrator in your company, and will depend on who handles specific tasks. Keep in mind – this person can:

  • View salary information and make changes
  • Give pay raises, promotions, and provide disciplinary infractions
  • Onboard new employees, add new hires, and terminate staff 
  • View bank information, social security numbers, and company wide reports.

This authorized contact must be someone who you trust and feel comfortable with handling these sensitive employee details. 

  1. Basic Authorized Contact 

There is also a basic authorized contact. This contact is someone who has the authority to see all your company and employee-related data but who cannot change and update information. 

We often see a W3 signer, an absentee owner, or C Suite leaders fall under this access. They need to see company-wide information, receive tax notices, access reports, and work with our support team  if they have questions – but they probably aren’t involved in the day-to-day employee management and don’t really need to be able to make changes. 

When is my Go-Live Date?

After you’ve given us your authorized contacts, we will work together to plan your Go-Live Date. 

Your Go-Live date is typically thirty days after your Kick-Off call, depending on your payroll process. If your Kick-Off call is scheduled for October 1st, and you do biweekly payroll with the pay dates of the 15th and the 30th, your implementation specialist may tell you that we will run your last payroll of the month for the 30th pay date. 

Occasionally, we may outline a later date depending on your calendar and availability for training with our team. Once this date is established, we will have a working timeline for what needs to occur as we move closer to your Go-Live Date. 

Why do you need my prior login credentials to my old provider? 

Breathe easy. 

In your kick-off call, the last thing we’ll do is gain access to your current payroll system with your admin login details. Once we log in, our team will create administrator access for our team. 

We do this because: 

  • We will convert your historical payroll details from your old system
  • Bring over all of your employee records and information
  • Reconcile your last 941 tax filings 

We build out your client shell with all of your information  before we ever schedule training on our platform.This is good news – you don’t have to worry about converting any data! We handle the heavy lifting, so you don’t have to.

When do I terminate service with my old provider? 

Everyone asks this during the Kick-Off. We recommend you provide notice to your former payroll provider AFTER your Go-live date with our team. This ensures we have access to all last-minute payroll changes and employee information – right up to the day we process your first payroll in your new platform. 

After we’ve successfully run a payroll together, you can reach out and officially cancel service with your former provider. (Heads up, most providers require a thirty-day written notice to terminate services). 

If you are concerned about paying for two payroll services in the same month or for the same payroll period, voice your concern with your implementation specialist so that we can work out a solution. 

This is usually the last thing we cover at Kick-off. At this point, we have: 

  • Your company information
  • Your old login credentials 
  • We’ve outlined your Go-Live Date 

What’s next?

What happens after my Kick-off call? 

Your implementation specialist will send you a detailed follow-up email that includes any additional information we need from you. 

We often need the following: 

  • Your current employee handbook
  • Your G/L report for accounting
  • Your current PTO policy 

There are usually many questions around PTO and leave policies, so we’ll send you articles about that if you’re unsure about your policies. If you need help reviewing your employee handbook and PTO policies, you might want to check out our HR Essentials service. If that’s a need you have, we can always work together to update those policies through HR services after we’re up and running..

Changing providers is an excellent opportunity to ensure you have the right leave policy in place for your company. Now, your implementation specialist will ask you to send over that information to us securely.

We always recommend you send sensitive information by using our Secure Send portal with this link. Always send to help@whirks.com ATTN: (your company name + Implementation Specialist’s Name).  This secure Link is also included in any Whirks employee signature block so if you lose the link, you can find it on an email thread., like this: 

After you’ve sent over the necessary documents, don’t expect to hear from us for a week or two! 

We know this might make you feel panicky, but don’t worry! Our team is handling the conversion, ensuring accuracy, and preparing for your training. 

We typically schedule training the week of your Go-Live Date, so keep a few one-hour blocks open on your calendar the week of your Go-Live date. Our team will reach out to get those scheduled as soon as we’re ready.

My Go-Live date is getting close; when will I do my live training?

Earlier, we mentioned scheduling live trainings based on the services and packages you bought. A few days before your Go-Live date, we will send you a calendar link to schedule your payroll training.

It feels super scary to train on payroll right before it’s time to Go-Live, but we’ve found that scheduling this training closer to your Go-Live date ensures it’s still fresh on your mind the first time you process payroll, and you’ll feel more comfortable since it’s top of mind. 

It’s the same reason the rehearsal dinner is usually just the day before your actual wedding. If you scheduled it a month before your wedding, the groomsmen would probably not remember the order they go down the aisle (sorry guys, you know it’s true!). 

I received a calendar link to schedule trainings – that feels impersonal? 

Not too many of you ask us this question, but we like to address this proactively. 

Our training is prioritized on helping you use our HCM platform effectively. We help a point of contact on your team understand what they should do and what they could do for process improvement and overall strategy. You are the quarterback, and we’re the coach! It’s our job to help you be the best you can be. 

So let’s start on the right foot! When we ask you to schedule your training with your implementation specialist. This gives you the ability to: 

  • Own your work & prioritize what’s important
  • Check your team’s calendars
  • Ensure that everyone who needs training can be there 
  • It provides us with the ability to send you email reminders, so nothing is overlooked

In conclusion, by now, you know the implementation process usually takes 30 days and consists of a lot of back and forth between our teams. After we process your first payroll on your go-live date, this is where the fun can truly begin! Now we can work towards all the goals you have for process improvement, automation, integration, delivering positive employee experience – the sky is really the limit! 

We know implementations can be tough, so once we’ve made it to your Go-Live date, we recommend taking a break and getting used to working with our team and on our platform. After you feel adjusted,  we can start scheduling your live training for the additional services you need, like:

  • Onboarding 
  • Benefits Administration
  • Time and Attendance 
  • Attract and Hire.

The hardest part is over! You’re running your payroll smoothly and you have more time to do what you love. But what does ongoing support with us look like? Check out Part II of this article to learn more!