As a business owner, I know one thing for sure: we're on the hook for everything. From employee lawsuits and missteps in regulatory compliance to increasing demands for benefits and more, it all comes to us. I also know a few more things: 1) My partner and I started our business because we're passionate about chauffeur services and meeting logistics, not because we like dealing with HR issues and legal matters; 2) It's too risky and too expensive to learn about HR as you go; and 3) There is another way to handle HR matters effectively and responsibly without letting it take over our lives.
Recently, we've discovered what a difference a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can make for our business. Technically, a PEO enters into a co-employment relationship with clients like us and handles things such as payroll, health insurance administration, workers' compensation, HR compliance, and much more. But more important to us is how they've improved our business in strategic ways, such as:
Streamlining processes, especially hiring:
We had a good problem: we were growing fast. That meant we had to hire many employees quickly. However, we didn't have the internal resources to do that as well as we'd like. Now, our PEO bridges that gap by ensuring we have standardized processes for interviewing, training and performance evaluation to protect us legally and make the process smooth and effective for all involved.
Protecting our company:
It's hard to concentrate on growing your company and hiring people when you know there are so many frivolous lawsuits out there. I sleep better at night knowing I have a resource whose first priority is understanding and complying with labor regulations and who is taking HR risks along with me, not just giving me advice about them.
Decreasing administrative hassles:
Previously, tracking employee hours was a big administrative headache for us. We noticed inaccuracies and suspected errors were costing us money, but we didn't have the tools to address the issue. Now, through the tools provided by our PEO, we track hours electronically (without expensive technology) and can take corrective action based on accurate information as a result.
Improving employee retention:
We value our employees and want to keep them happy. Since engaging a PEO, we've discovered how an effective HR strategy can help us do that. With the help of our PEO, we now have career path planning for employees, HR goals, an improved employee evaluation process, and more that help us use HR to improve the business.
Increasing benefit offerings:
Before our PEO, it wasn't possible for us to provide quality employee benefits or afford workers' compensation. Now that we have the resources of a large company, we can provide such benefits to employees, which makes us feel good and gives us advantages over our competitors.
A PEO was the right fit for our HR needs. In evaluating PEOs, however, we discovered not all are alike. Given our unique industry and needs, it was critical we find a PEO willing to customize its service for us and provide individual attention. Our PEO, Odyssey OneSource (ranked #1 in their industry for the past three years), was able to do that and we've become strong partners as a result.
At the end of the day, working with a PEO has given me peace of mind and allowed me to focus where I'm needed: on growing the business. If administrative headaches are driving you crazy or expanding employment laws are keeping you up at night, a PEO could be the answer.