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Walking in the shoes of others

Put yourself in the shoes of Ron, who maintains tires on mining vehicles at a remote location in Canada, away from his young family back home. Keeping a careful eye on his finances is important, but he recognizes that given his location, it takes time to receive his pay statements from Kal Tire’s administrative centre in British Columbia.

Now put yourself in the shoes of Joanne, who has worked in Canada’s tire industry for most of her adult life. Each year, she works at Kal Tire as a seasonal team member and then other companies in the off-season. Keeping track of all her pay-related documentation is a challenge.

Finally, consider the responsibilities of the payroll team tasked with ensuring Joanne, Ron and thousands of their fellow team members (some in remote locations) receive the payroll-related information they need securely and regularly. Email lacks the security to be an option, while the prospect of implementing a new digital payroll system can feel like a logistical nightmare. That seems to leave manual printing and mailing as the only viable options. But there is an alternative…

This is the story of how Kal Tire found a game-changing solution in Payreq.

Administering payroll for a complex workforce

Kal Tire Canada is one of Canada’s largest independent tire dealers, one of North America’s largest commercial tire dealers and an international leader in tire service and supply in the mining industry. Its Canadian payroll team serves a Canadian workforce that fluctuates between 5,000 and 6,500, depending on the time of year.

The nature and size of the Kal Tire business and workforce presents the Payroll team with some communication and administration challenges. Like Ron, many in the Canadian mining industry work away from their homes in remote locations. And like Joanne, there are a lot of team members who come and go based on seasonal demands.

The challenges of mail and email

For years, the payroll team manually printed and distributed pay statements, tax documents and other payroll-related information for their team members. This meant pay statements tended to be couriered to stores and mailed to team members’ homes for those that worked at remote locations. The payroll team was never totally comfortable with the security risks this process presented. It also meant remote team members would have to wait before they could access their pay information at home. Plus, the mail room had to create a separate list of people requiring pay statements to be mailed.

Lisa Murray, Kal Tire’s Manager, Payroll & Benefits explains: “It was very time consuming. And in terms of budget and resources, the cost of printing and mailing was huge.”

However, emailing information was not a viable option, according to Lisa. “In our opinion email just isn’t a secure enough channel to share confidential payroll information. Also, we find that a lot of emails tend to bounce back, because we may not have the most up-to-date email contact information for our team members.”

“In our opinion email just isn’t a secure enough channel to share confidential payroll information.”

— Lisa Murray, Payroll manager

A drain on time and resources

With such a large workforce, the team responded to daily requests to share current and historic pay or tax statements, as well as calculate hours worked. Plus at the end of each tax year, thousands of T4s (Canadian tax summaries) needed to be sent to team member homes in Canada. Lisa said: “Around this time, we’d mail T4s to team members’ homes and we’d receive quite a few back because we didn’t have updated addresses.”

Kal Tire knew that going digital was the answer and spent years trying to find a solution that would suit the needs of their business and workforce, and could be easily rolled out.

Turning to Payreq

In 2021, a turning point came for Kal Tire. A team member heard about Canada Post’s partnership with a SaaS provider called Payreq, which provided secure online access to documents. According to Lisa: “We looked into it and saw that Payreq could be right for us. The security it offered was a huge factor. The simplicity was also important – there was no need for complex instructions for team members. There was no extra noise that came with it.

“The decision was made easier because the Payreq team was so responsive to our requests for information. They were supporting us with onboarding plans even prior to us making the decision on which platform we should use.”

From grumbles to gratitude

But changing long-established systems always comes with some challenges. “The workforce was initially hesitant, but it didn’t take long for them to come around,” explains Lisa. “Everyone adapted quite quickly because it was easy to use and the sign-up process for team members was simple.

“As soon as we started to use Payreq, our team members loved it. Suddenly they didn’t have to wait for their statements or look for pieces of paper. They could access all their information through the Payreq app on their phone or their computer. It was all there. They weren’t losing documents any more.”

Kal Tire phased Payreq in gradually across regions. Lisa said: “It was very easy. If we had any questions at all, they were answered right away. At one point we had an issue uploading our T4s because it was such a large file. So, a Payreq team member helped me upload and check everything. The level of customer service was fantastic. Sharing any type of documentation took no time.

“I have never come across any kind of system that was so easy to implement and easy to use.”

— Lisa Murray, Payroll manager

A new way of working

Now everyone at Kal Tire Canada receives their pay statements through Payreq. There’s no more printing, couriering or mailing, and there are no more requests for information about hours worked. Lisa said: “They now go on Payreq to view their hours worked. All these requests dealt with daily are gone. Team members don’t have to wait for pay statements. And there is so much more transparency in general. Everything is recorded so queries can be sorted in hours rather than weeks.”

What’s more, there are no more requests for information from workers who have moved on from Kal Tire because they take their Payreq account with them. Information stays in their secure Payreq space for seven years.

Payreq is now being used by Kal Tire to share all types of Payroll-related information – including notices and letters to teams. Lisa said: “Honestly, I love Payreq. I have never come across any kind of system that was so easy to implement and easy to use.”

The Kal Tire payroll transformation

Delivery certainty

There is certainty and clarity over whether team members have received and accessed their notices. 

Team members in control of their information

The team loves being able to find out what they need to know by logging into their app or computer.

Reduced support load

With team members able to easily access their pay statements information, support needs are minimized. And Payreq handles any technical issues directly with Kal Tire team members.

Slashed costs

From paper, to post, to time spent on manual tasks – the costs of sharing payroll information have been cut across the board.

Reduced carbon footprint

Reduced carbon footprint

Admin simplicity

There’s no need to manually change team member contact details – they control it themselves.

A secure, open line of communication

Whenever the company wants to share important pay-related documents or communication, they can leave it in the relevant team member’s Payreq space.

Freedom to improve the operation

Lisa and her team have much more time to continuously improve the payroll operation.

A happier workforce

Personal admin has become so much easier for everyone at Kal Tire – and they appreciate the business for helping them.