Gary Henderson joined activpayroll in 2013 as an Infrastructure Engineer and has risen through the ranks using his keen analytical skills and technical knowledge to master the intricacies of the payroll industry and the opportunities technology offers our customers.
His unique ability to identify the needs of key stakeholders and design the technical solutions they require to meet the demands of their business will be put to the test as he takes up the new role of Executive Director for Operations.
We caught up with Gary to talk through the challenges he faces and learn a little about the man behind the new job title.
Congratulations on your promotion. What will your new role involve?
In a nutshell I will be taking on the responsibility for all our Operations teams, including our country heads of Operations in all our locations. I will also be combining forces with Charlie Knox in his role as Chief Customer Officer to accelerate our continued drive to deliver brilliant customer experience.
What key skills do you bring to the role?
As you have mentioned I joined activpayroll as an Infrastructure Engineer in 2013 not long after graduating from university. I was always keen to understand how technology could help the business better meet the needs of our customers and to do this I knew I needed to get to grips with the inner workings of the company.
I looked for opportunities to expand my knowledge and experience and after a short stint as a Software Developer, I progressed through to Business Analyst and then IT Manager.
Most recently I headed up Implementation and enjoyed working with the wider senior leadership team on cross departmental projects.
One of my favourite aspects of any role has been the ability to use my IT knowledge to help design technical solutions to help our customers and key stakeholders find the perfect solution to meet the demands of their business.
What are you most looking forward to about your new role?
This new role is an amazing opportunity to bring together all my key skills and experience and really put them to the test. There will be an increased need for me to travel to develop my relationships with our exceptional country managers and help them identify efficiencies and process improvements.
What do you think will be the greatest challenges you will face over the first 12 months?
The global economic situation will have an impact on many of our customers and we need to be listening to their concerns and anticipating how we can help them navigate their way through the challenges they face. Compliance is set to remain front and centre for everyone and we aim to be ahead of the curve when it comes to legislation and tax update. This means we can support our customers and offer them peace of mind when it comes to accurate payroll and allow them to concentrate on their day-to-day business.
How did you get into the payroll/tax industry and why?
As I said I have been with activpayroll almost my entire working life, so this is what I know best. Having said that I love the mix of technology, finance and people and the fact that at the end of the day we are trusted to ensure people are paid accurately and on time. Our pay is the pivotal factor in our relationship with our employers and our customers rely on us to get it right for their employees. That’s a huge responsibility and one I don’t take lightly!
What has been the most challenging project you have worked on at activpayroll? Why?
I think some of the most challenging but rewarding projects that I’ve worked on would be supporting our business during a massive period of growth which involved opening new offices around the world and expanding our European presence. Also the was the onboarding of an enterprise customer in 20+ countries with 12,000 employees with a significant dependency on complex technical integrations and payment solutions.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement outside of activpayroll?
We have just recently moved home in the last year and had probably walked into a bigger renovation project than we had ever expected. It has definitely allowed me to put my DIY skills to the test, some more successful than others (don’t look to closely at some of the decorating). We were very fortunate though as we have had amazing support from family and friends, that helped us get ready before the newest member of our family arrived.
Do you have any hobbies/ what do you like to do in your free time?
As a new dad with precious little free time my family is undoubtedly my priority. Whenever I get the chance my partner and I like to relax and spend quality down time with our son. It is a welcome change of pace to my working week and that makes it all the more special.
Who is your professional role model and why?
I don’t think I have one individual role model, but probably look to a number of people in my professional and personal life that when combined, are able to keep me on the right track. They keep me grounded, give me the chance to sound off, provide direction, and are great to bounce ideas around with. I aspire to their temperament, empathy and the gratitude that comes with real life experience.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?
Having dinner as a family has become a bit of novelty recently with the realities of balancing work, a new addition to the family, moving home and of course enjoying life in between!
So, I think my answer would have to be with my family. It’s never an opportunity to be missed, and any time spent relaxing with family after a busy week is always time well spent.