Outsourcing human resources isn’t the right choice for everyone, but it is an option that all business owners should carefully consider as part of their overall growth strategy. If you’ve ever asked, “Should I outsource my HR?” following are six of the Twelve Identifiers we at Servant HR use to help prospective clients figure out whether they are a good fit for our PEO services. These indicators would be useful for any business owner considering working with a PEO. (To get the complete “Are You a Good Fit: Servant HR’s Twelve Identifiers” digital workbook, download it now for free.)
Human resources can be tricky. If you don’t make it a priority for your business, serious legal and financial repercussions can result. When an employee termination is bungled, a tax change isn’t heeded or payroll is mismanaged, that’s an HR issue. When you add a new employee, revise benefits or are faced with worker’s compensation issues, that’s HR too.
Not everyone needs to outsource their human resource services. If you own a small company that isn’t going to grow, and you don’t mind managing the paperwork and compliance issues that come with having employees, then you’re probably okay. If you don’t fit into that mold, read on to see if you identify with one or more of the following Twelve Identifiers.
Ask yourself these questions and — here’s the important part — answer each one honestly. If your answers show that you do relate to one or more of these scenarios, contact us. We would be happy to discuss your situation and see how we can help.
You aren’t spending as much time generating revenue as you should be. As a business owner, your energy is best spent carrying out revenue-generating tasks. Getting bigger and better requires focus and time. If you need to put more energy into capturing market share, increasing sales or flexing your marketing muscle, you may need Servant HR. Would product or service improvements make you bigger
and better? Would your people be more efficient and happier if you had time to dedicate to their development? If you know that you could be more effective and work more in depth with clients if you only had more hours in your workday, outsourcing your HR might be a good option for you.
What are you not doing to improve your business or your life because you’re taking care of HR tasks? List 3 things:
Were you able to list 3 things? If so, you should consider outsourcing your HR.
You have more risk than you bargained for. When you’re engaged with Servant HR, you get knowledge on demand. There are real deliverables, tangible tasks and constant access to HR resources and advice. There is also the peace of mind knowing that you aren’t solely responsible for all HR-related issues. As a “co-employer,” Servant HR partners with small and mid-sized companies through an administrative employment agreement. This arrangement makes Servant HR the coemployer of all of a company’s working staff. As a result, employment responsibilities are shared between Servant HR and the client. This allows the client to manage the work performed by employees and farm out the HR obligations. Servant HR assumes responsibility for a wide range of employer responsibilities and risks; pays and reports wages and employment taxes out of its own accounts; and administers clients’ benefits to employees. Are you taking unnecessary risks? Does co-employment sound smart to you?
1. Relying on your own knowledge to make wage and hour decisions?
2. Assuming job descriptions are not necessary?
3. Assuming your forms and documents are sufficient to reduce compliance risks?
4. Under the belief that your “good relationships” with employees are sufficient to eliminate risk of lawsuits?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you are assuming too much risk as an employer
You want to be a top employer. Your internal and external audiences know that you make a high-quality product and provide a great service, but what about your reputation as an employer? Take a look at how your employees characterize you and how current and potential clients describe you as a leader of your team. Is your business considered to be a great place to work? Managing administrative HR tasks by yourself can give the impression that you aren’t as professional as you should be. Correct that false impression.
What do others think about you as an employer? List 5 adjectives:
If these answers aren’t what you want to hear, you should consider outsourcing your HR services.
You manage multiple vendors who handle separate HR-related services. You’re proud that you are big enough to need all of this help, but managing relationships with more than one vendor isn’t worth the hassle. Streamlining not only simplifies the situation, but it also can help you identify areas that have been falling through the cracks.
What services and areas of expertise are my HR vendors providing?
If you can’t thoroughly and confidently answer this question, that’s a red flag.
You aren’t doing what you should when it comes to worker’s comp. This is a big one. If one of your employees gets hurt on the job, are you prepared? Do you want to carry all the risk if you aren’t completely sure of your preparedness? With a barrage of forms, compliance requirements and law changes, worker’s compensation management and reporting is best left to professionals.
What are you doing when it comes to worker’s comp?
If you can’t thoroughly and confidently answer this question, that’s a red flag.
You can’t answer your employees’ HR questions. As your company grows more sophisticated, so do your employees. Can you answer the questions they are asking, or are you wasting time tracking down answers that you’re only vaguely sure are accurate? Your workforce requires a more sophisticated process and sound HR knowledge.
1. What is the IRS’s differentiation between employee and independent contractor?
2. When is an employee appropriately considered salary and exempt from overtime?
3. What is enough documentary proof to terminate an employee with minimal legal risk?
4. What is the difference between PTO and vacation or sick time?
5. What criteria do you use to prioritize employee benefits decisions and compliance?
6. How do you remove a long-term employee with integrity?
7. What are employers’ federal, state and local reporting requirements?
8. How do you discipline employees without setting precedent that ties your hands in future situations?
If you can’t thoroughly and confidently answer these questions, that’s a red flag.
Congratulations! You are halfway through this self evaluation. Don’t lose your momentum. Download the complete “Are You a Good Fit: Servant HR’s Twelve Identifiers” digital workbook for free now.
I am often asked what size company needs a PEO. Is it the right fit for startups as well as big corporations? When does it not make sense? Due to broad issues including health care reform and the nature of the modern workforce, my answer to that question is changing. Here is a by-the-numbers approach to sizing up a PEO for your business. But first, a little about healthcare reform.
What Healthcare Reform Means to the Numbers
In three words, the Affordable Care Act makes answering the question of what size company needs a PEO much more difficult. With healthcare legislation, the importance of a PEO grows as there is an additional layer of compliance related to health benefits. Compared to staff size, the more important question business owners need to ask themselves is: “Who is going to be my expert on healthcare reform?” With many changes on the horizon, businesses need to consider if it makes sense to use a PEO to handle all of those things an internal person doesn’t need to be learning and focusing on.
A PEO model makes a lot of sense for many startup companies with as few as 3-5 people on staff. These businesses are focused on providing a service or product that will help them get off the ground and grow. They aren’t resting on laurels or riding any easygoing waves of revenue growth. A PEO is a good fit because it allows entrepreneurs and small business owners to keep their eyes on the ball doing what they love instead of worrying about benefits, federal regulations and payroll.
Owners of emerging companies and startups typically can see the value of outsourcing their HR. PEOs are good at working with rapidly growing businesses that need to focus on raising money and reinvesting so they can grow. PEOs understand that. As the business grows, a PEO’s service to that business tends to grow as well.
This is a PEO’s sweet spot. When a business has 20-75 employees, a full-service PEO can do everything it is made to do for a client. The PEO can be fully engaged in every aspect of the client’s HR.
This is the kind of business that needs every part of a PEO: HR management, benefits, payroll, risk management and retirement services. They are big enough to feel the growing pains of having employees, yet they aren’t so big that a full-service PEO that carries many of the risks associated with having a staff isn’t the best fit. This category covers most of Servant HR’s current clients.
When a company has 75-200 employees, discussions usually start within its finance department to determine if it makes sense to go out and hire a full-time HR expert. This analysis is legitimate — but requires a complete analysis of the costs and benefits of such a decision.
A company must avoid the misconception that anyone with HR experience can do the job well. If you are going to keep your HR services in house, be sure your hire is a highly qualified expert. When you have an HR generalist or a less experienced person, you are losing out on a PEO’s experience solving HR challenges on a daily basis in many different industries. In many cases, this kind of hire isn’t economically feasible, which brings companies back to the PEO model.
As a company continues to grow, it may be able to pay a professional HR person to handle at least 20 hours of task-oriented HR work as well as more strategic recruitment and training. That makes sense. The question to answer is what happens as the company continues on the upswing and those necessary tasks become too much for one person — at least this highly qualified person you hired to handle all of your HR needs. Does the business owner want this person to focus on payroll and worker’s comp, which have to be done, or more strategic areas such as development and coaching? What is the priority? When this tipping point begins to happen, these are the sorts of things business owners need to consider and a PEO still remains of great value.
Once a company gets past 200 employees, it almost always has internal HR people. Different tax advantages for companies of this size also come in to play when considering whether a PEO is the right choice. Often, it makes sense to move from a PEO model into an ASO (Administrative Services Organization) model. What that means is the HR service provider meets the administrative and HR needs of the client while the client retains all employment-related risks and liabilities.
If you are asking yourself whether a PEO is a good fit for you, contact me, Scott Ingram, at 317-585-1688 to find out more.
Human resources isn’t what it used to be. If your HR relies on the traditional model, you’re probably missing opportunities for growth. Watch Mike Yoder, Chief Executive Officer at Servant HR, discuss 6 principles that a modern workforce should heed in this video.
- Engaged employees are the key to business success.
- Starting with a process to recruit, onboard, train and retain
- An HR focus on developing that talent…
Get all 6 principles in the video. Watch more ways to strengthen your HR here. If you can’t see the video above, visit http://bit.ly/WtMkZE.
When you have an annual checkup, your doctor gathers a lot of information. Height and weight are measured. Your blood pressure and pulse are taken. Blood may be drawn. You answer questions about family history, current diet and medications. The doctor checks your ears, mouth, neck, heart, lungs, stomach, joints, spine, muscles and skin.
You and your doctor know that these clues work together to determine your overall health. Your doctor also uses these clues to recommend changes in your lifestyle to keep you on the healthy track. You can’t separate your diet from your blood pressure from your weight. You have to have an understanding of how these parts work together to take the best care of yourself.
Human resources works the same way. You know that benefits, payroll and risk management are part of an employer’s HR responsibilities, but if they aren’t considered together to see how the parts affect one another, your business won’t be as healthy as it could be. If your HR service providers aren’t working together to diagnose HR problems and detect HR opportunities, your business suffers. A full-service PEO or Professional Employer Organization is like a doctor asking all those questions. Consider the many services and service providers who may be working on your HR from afar, never collaborating or sharing information to make your business healthier.
In small or medium-sized businesses, in-house staff people who wear multiple administrative hats are often the ones managing human resources. In these cases, the question becomes, “What level of training or expertise does your staff person have in dealing with tough HR matters?” It’s an important question to consider because human resources management isn’t as obvious or popular as other HR areas. All business owners know they have certain obligations associated with payroll and tax liability. But they might not realize there are actually more compliance issues related to HR management than payroll and tax. The reality is that a trained HR professional can help employers avoid costly missteps related to EEOC, DOL, FMLA, USERRA, PPACA, ERISA, GINA and the rest of the alphabet soup of HR compliance and risk.
HR management becomes more complicated as your business grows. With more employees comes more obligations. If your business has reached a certain level, you may choose to hire a professional with a PHR or SPHR certification. While this may be a smart choice for larger businesses, many small and medium-sized companies can’t afford to hire a full-time HR professional.
Most businesses work with a broker to handle the benefits part of their human resources. A broker offers the employer a choice of different insurance benefits. Typically, the broker passes along some numbers to an administrative person on a yearly basis, and that person is tasked with understanding the benefits and passing along that information to any new employees or current employees who have become eligible for benefits over the course of the year.
Ideally, a broker should have an understanding of the different benefits plans available and the level of quality of different carriers. A broker should also understand the culture of your business so he or she can match that with the available benefits. Your benefits should be attractive to employees and a good fit for your organization so that your business can use the options as recruitment and retention tools.
Unfortunately, things like benefits have become so commoditized that the opportunity to maximize what benefits can do for you and your business is being overlooked. Many brokers have tried to add services on the front end with increased communication and hand-holding at the employee level in order to compete in a marketplace that offers a more holistic approach, but they often fall short.
Most businesses use some sort of payroll service to make sure employees receive the correct amount of pay on time, and to make sure related tax issues are handled appropriately. When a company chooses to handle payroll in house, it’s often a control issue by the ownership in which someone doesn’t want any confidential information leaving the company. Another reason for handling payroll in house is in a situation where the accounting is atypically complex. For example, if a manufacturer does a lot of piecework, or an engineering or construction firm needs to track how an employee is spending his or her time on projects to determine their contribution to the bottom line, an in-house software program customized to a particular pay setup might be the smartest choice.
At Servant HR, we often hear the misunderstanding that risk management pertains to only worker’s compensation and liability insurance. Employers are often getting this impression from commercial insurance brokers who — you guessed it — provide worker’s compensation and liability insurance. Employers can mitigate risk on a much broader level, and a PEO can often help businesses recognize these opportunities.
Some risk management-related niches cater to certain industries such as construction and healthcare, which require property and casualty insurance coverage. There is often a discount available to employers when they bundle this coverage, so cost savings are a big motivator for employers who may view insurance coverage as a necessary evil.
But things can be done to manage risk without buying up more insurance or bundling policies. This is where a PEO can offer guidance. Safety training can help minimize accidents. General job training can help employers ensure their employees are doing their jobs correctly. Making sure individual employees are classified appropriately helps employers apply the correct insurance to that employee. (Employees such as landscapers go under a certain code. But clerical employees in the office of a landscaping company don’t require the same coverage. A PEO can help you see these cost-saving opportunities.) Employers can follow up with claims to be sure employees who claim they are hurt are indeed hurt. Having policies in place that protect you as an employer is the best way to manage risk, which requires the expertise of an HR professional.
When most employers think about retirement services, the first things that to mind are 401(k) plans and the less popular pension plan. Companies typically use financial advisors to manage 401(k)s. These relationships often start on an individual level, with the business owner using a financial advisor for personal reasons. As the business grows and the need for retirement services arises, the business owner may turn to this same person to recommend a plan for employees.
The challenge in this way of approaching a 401(k) plan for your employees is the owner’s priorities might not line up with the business goals. The owner is looking for a way to get as much of his or her income sheltered from tax, but that shouldn’t be the only motivation. You must also consider that employees across many earning levels should enjoy the rewards of the plan. It is imperative to have someone in place who understands not only how a 401(k) plan works but also how your company is organized. Who is the best person to assume responsibility for the performance of the plan, for example? Is a 401(k) the best choice or is a business better suited to use an SRP (simple retirement plan)?
HR Management + Benefits + Payroll + Risk Management + Retirement Services
Part of the beauty of a full-service PEO such as Servant HR is that a PEO looks at all of these parts of your human resources together so that your business can be as healthy as possible. We aren’t individuals working on services in silos. PEOs connect the dots of businesses’ HR issues. PEOs are set up to take care of employees from “birth to death,” or from the job application to the retirement party. Through the coemployment model, full-service PEOs also assume some of the risk associated with having employees.
The HR services PEOs provide are getting done in any size business in some way, shape or form with or without a PEO. Payroll has to get done, worker’s compensation matters have to be dealt with, and retirement benefits have to at least be considered. In many cases, businesses rely on some combination of different vendors and often in-house staff to carry out these tasks. While this may be an effective process in some situations, it’s not always the best direction for managing a company’s HR needs.
To find out if a PEO is right for your business, download our guide “Are You a Good Fit?”
If you’re a startup business, you have probably already experienced the stress of all of the details you have to manage. You didn’t go into business to become an expert in accounting, insurance or HR. When it comes to HR, there are three critical steps you need to focus on as a startup.
Watch Jeff Leffew, founder and president of Servant HR, deliver his three steps in this video. If you can’t see the video above, visit http://youtu.be/t9DFedWQQ0Q.
In 1960, Hayley Boling’s grandfather Dr. Richard Boling had a staff of five working at his Elkhart ophthalmology practice. His son, Dr. Richard Boling II, joined him in 1986, which moved the practice forward to two doctors and about 10 staff members. Due primarily to a major push in 2004, Boling Vision Center now employs 60 staff members and six doctors. The healthcare practice includes two locations in Indiana and an ambulatory surgery center.
“He stuck a shingle on the side of the building and thought patients would come, and we have been fortunate that we have had regular business ever since,” says Hayley Boling of her grandfather.
Hayley joined the team in 2009 as CEO after earning her MBA from Taylor University. Her grandfather and father had built a successful business out of caring for eyes, and Hayley has strengthened that success as a leader within Boling Vision Center.
Hayley met Mike Yoder, Servant HR’s CEO, during a post-graduate business class at Taylor University in 2008. During this year, she was wrapping up her studies and carrying out a hands-on orientation to become the CEO of Boling Vision Center. Her father developed the process, which called for Hayley to spend a few months in every single position in the practice.
“I spent time working alongside people, to see the value of our people and their challenges. I was also pinpointing vulnerabilities and strengths,” Hayley says. “It was important to see different elements of the practice and build credibility with other people in the practice.”
With a list of HR challenges that included a growing staff, plans for future expansion and policies that needed improving, Hayley reached out to Mike to see if Servant HR could help. A business’s human resources strategy should complement and support its goals. Boling Vision Center had lofty ones, and Servant HR has served as its trusted partner during some big changes.
“Servant HR helped us completely restructure our organizational chart. This was a huge undertaking for us,” Hayley says. The new chart is based on skill-set value versus longevity. “People were inappropriately placed, and Servant HR helped me as a new leader to identify who needed to be repositioned. And if there wasn’t a position conducive to their skill set, Servant HR helped me dismiss those individuals appropriately. It was a tough situation, and it was good to have a legal perspective and a second set of eyes to support my decisions.”
Servant HR also helps Hayley navigate advances and changes in human resources and is just an email or phone call away if a sticky legal question arises. Hayley says the HR team helps Boling Vision Center stay as professional as possible and play it safe. But business risks aren’t something Hayley avoids when they are worth taking.
“In the next five years, we would like to have four locations. Our next step is moving toward the South Bend marketplace. And we are excited to partner with that community,” she says. Boling Vision is already the preferred ophthalmologist for Notre Dame, so they have luck on their side.