Tips to Find the Perfect PEO for Your Business

Aug 05, 2020
| Anthony Aldarelli, Director of Sales - North East
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Selecting appropriate vendors to grow your business advisory team requires a careful assessment of the value they will bring to your organization. However, determining the right fit is challenging for most business owners. Making the right choice for your business will establish a partnership designed to support your organization’s long-term success. Choose incorrectly and you can find yourself in a difficult engagement – or back at square one in your search. With so much on the line, some business owners become trapped in an ongoing cycle of evaluating and re-evaluating multiple vendors without evidence indicating a single, clear front-runner.
 
With a deliberate strategy for vendor assessment and comparison, it is possible to look past industry table-stakes and surface the perfect PEO partner to help achieve your business objectives. Here’s how.
 

CONSIDER ONLY ACCREDITED PEOS

One of the most basic measures of a PEO’s professional standards are their current industry accreditations. These credentials confirm a high level of professional conduct, reducing financial and compliance risk to your organization.
 
Extensis is accredited through the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC), an independent organization providing financial assurance and national standards of operation for the PEO industry. ESAC monitors PEO companies for adherence to financial, ethical, and operational standards, and also provides surety bonds designed to help protect the payment of wages, payroll taxes, employee benefits, and insurance premiums. This accreditation is considered the “gold standard” for financial reliability.
 
We are also one of the first PEOs to meet the requirements to become a Certified Professional Employer Organization (CPEO) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The CPEO designation provides federal regulatory certainty, as well as flexibility to employers to choose the best time of year to initiate PEO service without double taxation of FICA and FUTA.
 

AVOID PEOS OUTSOURCING HR SERVICES

One of the primary benefits of partnering with a PEO is gaining access to a team of HR experts who take a proactive approach to managing your account. When PEO companies outsource their HR services to a third party, they are further distancing themselves from your organization.
 
By selecting a PEO with experienced in-house HR staff, you gain valuable perspective on day-to-day HR functions such as payroll and benefits administration, while also tapping into expertise on big-picture strategies for compliance, recruiting, risk management, and more.
 
Only when a PEO takes the time to get to know your current organizational standing and future objectives can they provide true “white glove” service. This is accomplished with a service-first PEO business model delivered by in-house staff.
 

INVITE AN HR MANAGER

Request one of the PEO’s HR Managers to attend your initial exploratory meeting. Quality PEO companies offer personalized attention, and this is your chance to get to know the people who will be providing your day-to-day service.
 
What credentials does the HR manager possess? How many years’ experience do they have? What do they see as the biggest HR challenge facing your industry today?
 
Look for responses demonstrating a strong perspective on human resources issues, as well as insight into your industry and jurisdiction.
 

REVIEW COMPANY HISTORY

A PEO company’s history reveals the strength and duration of their professional relationships, and also provides an indication of their own organization’s priorities. Ask about the length of their average client engagement, how many clients are on their roster, and how their company structure and service offerings have evolved over the years. New PEO companies lack valuable industry expertise, while larger box PEOs often undergo little to no change over the life of their company, making them less likely to innovate and tailor offerings to your unique needs.
 
Also, be sure to ask if the company is publicly or privately held. Privately-owned PEOs like Extensis tend to focus on building long-term relationships, while publicly-held firms may place more emphasis on generating revenue from new clients.
 

REQUEST A TECH DEMO

Ask for a demonstration of the capabilities of the PEO’s HRIS solution. Look for next-generation technology spanning the entire scope of HR and benefits administration, including employee self-serve tools, educational and training resources, manager tools, reporting functionality, and onboarding solutions. Software should be straightforward, securely stored, and accessible via the cloud.
 

PRESENT YOUR COMPANY’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE

One way to determine how a PEO partner will address your business challenges is to simply ask. Describe an HR or compliance issue you’re facing and solicit their opinion. Outline specific problems you have had in the past with previous outsourced HR providers and be upfront about areas where you lack information or experience. A quality PEO partner will provide education and insight, as well as describe how their services and solutions will help you overcome your challenge.
 

NOT EVERY PEO IS THE RIGHT FIT

As in any industry, some firms are more appropriate for certain clients than others. Do not rush headlong into an engagement under the assumption all PEOs provide the same type and quality of service. Every PEO brings different experiences, perspectives, and solutions to your business. Reviewing the above topics up front with your insurance broker and PEO candidates will go a long way toward revealing a partner with the potential to deliver the service level and solutions you expect.
 

Contact our expert HR Managers today to discuss even more ways Extensis PEO can benefit your business.