5 On-Going Conversations you Want to Have With Your PEO

PEO Team MeetingMost professional employer organizations have excellent records of performance. As PEOs multiply and grow, quality performance will become their unique selling proposition. While they grow deep in experience, their reputation for Human Resources expertise will deepen, too. As the HR principle, you still want to communicate with your PEO about the constant challenges to business success presented by people issues. Despite vendor guarantees, HR management must confirm that both business and PEO remain aligned.

Here are 5 discussions you want to have with your PEO on an ongoing basis:

1. Productivity

Human Resources justifies its organizational role by facilitating productivity. HR recruits, develops, and advances the business’s human assets. HR supports operations by selecting, placing, and compensating employees for their contribution. HR communicates corporate policy, oversees workplace safety, and protects employees from hostility.

With employee-sharing, HR runs the risk of “passing the buck.” The PEO works to assure legal compliance, deliver reliable and accurate payroll, and manage risk. Still, your HR conscience should start and sustain dialog on what and how the professional employer organization performs its tasks.

2. Recruiting

HR can move recruiting off its desk to the PEO. Recruiting is usually 90% administrative work, tedious and detailed at that. HR appreciates shifting these time-intensive and repetitive tasks. The contractor can advertise, pre-qualify, interview, and place new hires if you so desire.

However, recruiting is also laden with compliance issues: discrimination, background checks, and talent shortages. When you shift recruiting functions to the PEO, you are not relieved of these accountabilities. Pressed by organizational management to fill positions effectively and quickly, HR must hold the feet of its PEO to the fire without voiding its expertise. Regular conversation about needs and expectations will improve the professional employer organization’s appreciation of your position and help them develop their recruitment tools in your interest.

3. Conflict

Workplace conflicts occur between workers, worker and supervisor, and worker and corporation. Conflicts happen in the best of organizational environments. HR traditionally cultivates and directs a corporate culture that reduces stress and conflict.

You may share your employees with the PEO, but the provider is not on your work floor. Conflict does not get better with time, nor does it like resolution by strangers. The PEO will approach conflict-resolution with a formal and compliant response, but it may lack HR’s personal touch. HR and the PEO need to align policy and practice on conflict-resolution through regular interaction. If you want to task the PEO with recruiting to your culture, orienting new hires, and developing talent that supports and sustains that culture, you’ve got to communicate with them often.

4. Benefits

The professional employer organization spreads the risk of group insurance benefits and workers’ compensation insurance over a larger risk pool of shared employees. The larger numbers reduce the costs, and the reduction is passed on to contracted partners. This “volume discount” also lets you expand benefits offerings to include programs you otherwise could not afford to offer.

However, benefits and employee preferences are not static. It is in your employees’ interest to seek the professional employer organization with the widest range of benefits. You also need to press your PEO to continue an aggressive search for new and cost effective programs.

5. Training

Healthy organizations enable continuous training. Recognizing the talent shortage as accelerating and unremitting, they see culture and cost advantages to sustaining talent in-house. Training must align with operational needs yet not interfere with performance. And, training has direct and indirect costs with few showing immediate return on investment.

Quality professional employer organizations are well equipped to train and develop most skills. But, they may need HR help to understand your unique work needs. The PEO depends on your input regarding tools, methods, and assessments. It is your job to keep discussion open and alive on changes and developments in the nature of your work.

You enter a partnership when you contract with a professional employer organization. But, it is your duty to make it more than a vendor-end user relationship. As long as human needs are complex and volatile, it is in your best interest to make and master the PEO relationship as reciprocal and synergistic as possible.