Payroll Coordinator Jane steps into the spotlight

Jane supports the finance team by managing payroll across all our UK-based business units – you could say she’s our most loved colleague! 

Jane Overall started as temp with SafeLane Global in April 2016, just 2 months later she was offered a permanent role.

Jane supports the finance team by managing payroll across all our UK-based business units – you could say she’s our most loved colleague! 

Working on the admin side of things is essential to the smooth running of the SafeLane business, so we wanted to take the time to get to know Jane a little bit better.

Can you describe your role for us please?

Well, being responsible for payroll, I’m introduced as the most important person in the company – well, once a month anyway!

My role has grown since I first started. Initially, my primary responsibility was Gillingham’s payroll. Over the last 5 years I’ve also done payroll for the guys we had demining in the Falkland Islands as well as some other international payrolls too. 

When all the companies merged and became SafeLane Global in 2018, I took on the Ross-on-Wye office payroll – and from this month I’ll be completing this for our water borehole and ground source heating team at WB&AD Morgan too.

I’m part time, I work 30 hours a week, so it gives me a nice, fast pace.  I’ve had friends say that surely in payroll I only work once a month, the cheek!   I’m kept busy all the time because I also manage the pension side of things as well as other internal benefit schemes. 

I also work closely with Sharon, our HR Manager and am always happy to help her with any bits and bobs.

I also conduct end of month manual reporting for management accountants Sam and Matt to keep track of project labour allocations, as well as keeping on top of the time sheets.  I am lucky to have Siobhan and Chelsea’s support with this, they’re both brilliant!  They keep very accurate records, and we have a really thorough sign off process. 

I also monitor mileage, keep VAT records on expenses and keep track of all receipts. It’s nice because there is always a lot going on. 

It sounds like you have to keep on top of a lot of things! How do you do it?

Yes, I have a spreadsheet for absolutely everything!  I like to be very organised, I’m always writing everything down.  This helps me but I always think if for any reason I’m off, someone can pick up where I left off. 

It’s a very important process when you’re dealing with people’s pay.  I think especially given the current pandemic, it’s important that all this information is laid out very clearly.

What changes have you seen in the company since you started?

Well, it’s certainly grown, given that I pay 3 different offices now.  When I started, I knew we were part of a larger company, but everyone functioned independently.  We didn’t really know about each other.  Occasionally, we might have someone come over from the German office, but it wasn’t really like a group. 

Now it’s been unified properly under one brand, everyone engages more and takes notice of what everyone else is doing.  It’s like one big family tree!

As I said before, I love to write things down.  I really enjoy our quarterly updates from our CEO Adam, I’m always making notes about what he says then doing further research.  Afterwards, I spend some time on the website, seeing where we’re operational and what’s new across the company. 

I like to be able to explain SafeLane’s services properly when someone asks me what we do, I want to give a good overview. 

Across the business there are so many interesting stories.  I love listening to tales from some of our EOD guys’ army days for example and learning more about the world from our international colleagues.  I could do the same job elsewhere – but the work we do and the stories we can tell makes SafeLane really unique.

What did you do before working for SafeLane?

I worked for a company which specialised in actuarial and pension investments.  I used to be an Office Manager in a smaller company, we were tiny, so I did everything!  We got bought by a larger company and moved to some posh London offices.  My role wasn’t needed so they created a position as Operations Manager for me, I was there for 7 years. 

Sadly, I was made redundant as the location of the business changed, it moved to be based in Leeds. 

I took my time to find the right thing and did some temping to keep me busy, that’s how I found my position at SafeLane.  Initially they told me the role would only be for a month!  Someone was leaving and they wanted extra time to find the right fit, luckily, I made that easy for them.

What is your favourite aspect of the job?

I like resolving problems.  If there is a discrepancy or if something doesn’t quite tally, I take pride in figuring out why.

I also love people (well, most people!), if anyone has any queries with their pay it takes priority for me.  For example, I had a former worker of ours contact me the other day, he emailed me asking for some of his old payslips.  He said he appreciated I might be too busy – I was busy but I went back to him straightaway, I knew something like that would be really important and I hate people to be stressed waiting for these things. 

He was so appreciative; I was really happy to know I’d helped him.

I also enjoy a challenge.  It could be a new system, or it could be a people-based challenge, either way I love getting my brain in gear and getting a sense of achievement.

I enjoy the buzzy environment at SafeLane too; I like things to be busy, fast paced, with a great culture. It’s why I love the team I’m in.  Everyone is so helpful. With my role, I like that I’m the only one who does what I do so I can really own it.  But having back up and support from Craig, who is our Financial Controller, Sharon, and Rob Hunter the CFO is perfect.

Sometimes you need to bounce things off people, I like that I have that network, it’s a good system.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned since joining SafeLane Global?  

Well, the whole company is interesting. I never knew about unexploded ordnance (UXO) really, you think a bomb is a bomb! I didn’t know about any of the other types of ordnance and that there’s so much of it still affecting life in the UK.

The international side of operations is really interesting too, it means I’m always improving my geography. 

I was given the opportunity to advance my payroll qualifications last year, so that was good for my brain.  I had a good amount of time to do some coursework and had to do an exam. I was pleased that SafeLane invested in me.

You come across a very people and face-to-face, open communication person, has it been strange shifting to working from home?

Yes!

It was okay in the beginning, but I’m at the point now where I miss the interaction and the routine.  I mean, I do have a routine, but it isn’t quite the same.  I now know that long-term I wouldn’t ever want a job entirely based at home; I feel really motivated from being around people!

With our team in finance, we have a good catch up on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Craig does little quizzes and things to boost our morale and make us smile. I keep in touch with other people through Microsoft Teams chats and calls too. It’s important to talk about work but getting a little ‘I miss you!’ message from one of the girls really brightens my day.