At baseline, acronyms are always confusing. But even after you learn what the PEO stands for (professional employer organization) it still doesn’t really make sense! So, acknowledging that there is a general lack of knowledge about what it is that we and our peers do. We thought we would take some time to break it down and explain it once and for all. But first, let’s explain, at the broadest level. what we do…
A PEO is basically an organization that partners with a company to consume the burden of that company’s HR responsibilities. This means that a PEO may take over your payroll and benefits administration (most common), but can also be on hand to handle any other HR-related job, including keeping you in compliance with local employment and labor laws, helping you out of legal snafus, providing training to employees, and even assisting you in succession plans and other HR-driven business decisions. In addition to saving you money by reducing your need for a multi-member HR department, or any department at all, PEOs can save you money by getting you more bang for your buck with benefits and just generally decreasing your liability when it comes to compliance and other legal areas.
Below, we’ve outline just a few of the things a PEO can do for you and your organization:
When you think of a PEO, this is probably the most touted benefit such an organization can bring to the table. Unlike playing in the free market, a PEO is able to use the shared purchasing power of its various members to help negotiate the best possible price for the best possible package of benefits. As a result, you get the kind of offerings that are usually only available to far larger companies, such as wellness perks, discounted entertainment, and a myriad of other tailored benefits. With a PEO, the basic health benefits are more comprehensive or there are simply more offerings. Beyond the actual purchasing of the benefits, your PEO is also responsible for rolling out the whole project which includes all the emails and meetings to inform your staff about the plans, the actual enrollment itself, and all the follow-up support that comes along with getting everyone on board with a new plan. Plus, they will also handle all the termination of benefits and COBRA coverage should an employee jump ship.
The second most widely understood perk of a PEO lies in payroll processing. When you partner with a PEO, they take on all the payroll preparations and handle your taxes, W-2s, and any other withholding’s. Abel HR helps you adopt an automated HR system that not only helps with the payroll process, but can also be mined for all kinds of helpful data on everything from employee hours to benefits tracking and usage, and becomes particularly useful whenever you have to run quarterly or annual reports on all kinds of metrics. Another perk that Abel offers is that they guarantee their payroll — and even have it reviewed by a licensed accountant to ensure that we get it right every single time.HR compliance:
A third large piece of the PEO puzzle is helping to keep your company compliant with the ever-changing HR legal landscape. Your PEO pros will keep up with all the myriad state and federal agencies and make changes to your system so that you remain in compliance without ever really thinking about it. Not in compliance when you first sign on? No worries, they’ll take the steps necessary to get you up to speed and help you understand how to avoid these pitfalls moving forward. Further, because we have clients in multiple states and multiple counties and municipalities within those states, we’re able to tackle just about any “weird” work set up where you have full-time employees, contractors, free-lancers, and random folks working in some capacity for you, wherever they choose to work from. If you already have a HR team in-house, we can either take over this facet of the process entirely, or simply serve as a trusted advisor and sounding board on these topics.
One of the lesser understood ways that a PEO can help your organization is by sharing in your liability. Specifically, PEOs can take on some of the liability associated with employment-related claims, such as wrongful termination, discrimination lawsuits, and even unpaid wage claims (because again, they have the payroll system and typically guarantee their work). Further here at Abel HR, we provide you access to our legal counsel to serve as a sounding board and help you to make informed decisions whenever a questionable situation arises.
Safety and workers comp: At Abel HR, we have an in-house Safety Manager who is well-versed in how to get your workplace up to snuff when it comes to all things compliance. He will work with you to identify and help address safety issues in your workplace, but can also serve as a touch point if you want to make changes to your physical environment to make work spaces more ergonomic or otherwise healthier for your employees. While this service offering is somewhat unique to Abel, and you won’t find it with every PEO that you talk to, most PEOs will help you should a safety issue arise and you need to file a workers compensation claim. In these cases, your PEO should be one of your first calls (really after the emergency services have been notified) as they will manage and guide you through the entire process from start to finish, either managing the process alone if you don’t have an HR rep or working in tandem with your HR pros to ensure that you are addressing all aspects of the claim, getting your employee the help that they need, rectifying any safety issues identified by the accident, and dealing with any other legal fallout from the claim.
Training and education:An additional significant perk of partnering with a PEO lies in being able to outsource your training and education needs. Whether it is a one-time ramp up for a new product or system or an annual training that’s legally required for your industry, we can pull together programming that will work for you. Further, we’re happy to cater the learning to meet your needs and preferences, be it an online interactive platform, a Zoom meeting, or simply having a person come to your office. We are always updating and revising our materials so that they are the most up-to-date and relevant to your employees.
Again, we cannot talk for every PEO, but Abel prides itself in being available to our clients. If you call our offices, you’ll never hit a phone tree and your call will instead be answered by a live person who will direct your call to not only the most relevant department, but the most qualified person within that department to answer your question. Through this model, you never have to wonder who you should contact, and you can be sure that your questions will be answered correctly and in a timely fashion.