Oladunni Harriman, PLP
Manager, Payroll Services, Federated Co‑operatives Limited, Meacham, SK
If you ask Dunni Harriman, payroll isn’t a career you find – it finds you.
Dunni’s career has followed her around the globe. When she started working in payroll in Nigeria, she was responsible for operating the register and paying employees out in cash on pay-day.
“I’d have a huge pile of money and would have to pay people out manually,” she says. “I got really good at counting quickly!”
Now she lives on an acerage about 40 minutes East of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan just outside of a small community called Meacham. A small town with a population of just over 100 residents, Meacham has a ton of heart and Dunni keeps herself deeply engrained in the community. A member of several Boards, as well as being a local Zumba instructor, it’s hard to believe that she also finds time for her other passions – including traveling and DIY renovations around her property.
“I love it here,” Dunni says, “I love the small town feel and the number of opportunities to give back. There’s something special about knowing you’re adding to the community you live in.”
When she arrived in Canada, she was met with plenty of opportunities to pursue a different career path, but her unique blend of skills eventually brought her back to payroll. Her first Canadian payroll opportunity presented itself in 2005 and from there she progressively took on more senior roles and more responsibility until she found her forte on the technical side of things, ensuring that systems perform in the ways that companies need them to as Manager of Payroll Services for Federated Co‑operatives Limited.
She now leads a large team and feels that she’s gotten good at picking out the true payroll professionals from the crowd.
“Payroll isn’t for everyone – it’s a specialty,” she explains. “It allows you to tap into so many different areas – the human side of things, the money side. It’s not a career many people just decide to go into, it finds people. For most, they happen upon payroll unexpectedly and are like ‘hey, I kind of like this!’”
She brings so much passion to her work that it allows her to roll with the punches. Throughout her career and various positions, she’s always found herself in the middle of one implementation or another. From going paperless, to moving to employee-self-service models, introducing new time systems – there’s always a new challenge to tackle.
When she looks to the future, she sees the potential that exists for employers to tap into the stories that payroll can tell. You can tell she is excited about the opportunity to leverage payroll to understand the trends that are impacting organizations of all sizes. For example, she explains, in a period of inflation, organizations can use payroll data to gauge how source deductions can impact employees’ cost of living – at a macro level, or even by regions within each province.
“Data is power, if you have data at your fingertips there is so much you can learn,” she says, “and payroll has the data!”