5 PEO Benefits That Protect Small Businesses During COVID-19

5 PEO Benefits for Small BusinessesAre you worried about the survival of your small business? It’s a reasonable concern. By the end of 2020, the National Association of Professional Employer Organizatons (NAPEO) reported that 75% of small businesses saw significant impact due to COVID-19. Business owners have struggled with tough decisions about how to meet payroll, whether they can afford to keep their employees on staff, and whether they can even keep their doors open. On top of that, they have faced a tidal wave of new regulations, leave policies, and health and safety decisions.

But the news isn’t all bad. One of the most impactful factors for many small businesses owners when it comes to business outcomes over the past year was the decision to partner with a PEO. According to the NAPEO report, PEO clients were:

  • 72% more likely to receive a PPP loan in round one than other small businesses
  • 91% less likely to still be temporarily closed as of December 2020
  • 60% less likely to have permanently closed

Why the difference? Throughout the pandemic, PEOs have been able to assist their clients by interpreting and complying with pandemic-related legislation, managing the transition to remote work, applying for PPP loans, and caring for employees. This has given business owners the mental space and time they needed to carry their business through the many challenging decisions and process adjustments they have faced.

But what about this year? As the pandemic continues to affect the economy and workforce impacts remain uncertain, are PEOs still a good strategic move for small businesses?

If you are thinking of partnering with a PEO or considering whether to continue your partnership as you head into 2021, you need to know whether the value will justify the expense. To help you make that decision, here are five ways you can expect to benefit from a PEO, even as the pandemic continues to affect your business.

1. Stay Informed About Regulatory Changes

PEOs lift the administrative burden of compliance off your shoulders so you can focus your energy where it matters most: running your business. During the early days of the pandemic, it sometimes seemed like policies and regulatory requirements were changing every week. While some of that activity has settled down, it still takes a lot of time, research, and effort to stay on top of new legislation. Compliance requires that you learn all the new regulations, figure out which ones affect your business, and determine how new guidance will change your policies. PEOs help their clients stay on top of these changes in areas like: 

  • Emergency sick leave requirements
  • Health regulations
  • FFCRA reporting
  • OSHA guidance for coronavirus protection
  • Vaccination recommendations and policy guidelines

In addition to these factors, a PEO will help you with standard compliance issues such as meeting OSHA standards for your industry, understanding and implementing the Fair Labor Standards Act for working hours and pay, employee privacy laws, and much more. 

 

2. Support Your Business Continuity Plan

Business continuity refers to the ability of your business to continue operating in the event of a crisis that disrupts standard procedures (like Covid-19). A strong business continuity plan can make the difference between creating a resilient business model that can pivot quickly when necessary or closing your doors when disruption happens.

A comprehensive business continuty plan will include all relevant aspects of your business including HR, IT, business processes, and supply chain. PEOs help their clients with the HR piece of the plan by answering questions like: 

  • Do you have what you need to continue processing payroll in the event of a closure?
  • Do your employees have what they need to work remotely?
  • Do you have the technology infrastructure to accommodate remote work?
  • Can you manage paid time off remotely?
  • What processes need to be adjusted to prevent disruption of work and productivity?
  • Have you adequately cross-trained so that other employees can step in if a key person gets sick?

Your PEO can help you implement policies, manage employees, and evaluate technology so that your business can keep running even if your normal operations or disrupted.

 

3. Assist With Managing Your Remote Workforce

A PEO can help you consider all the potential ramifications of incorporating remote work for some or all of your employees. For example, it may make sense to transition certain employees to permanently remote roles (for example, a graphic design or accounting role). Others may be able to work from home a few days each week. Your PEO can help you think through the pros and cons of each option and put the right structure in place to support your employees as they work from home.

In addition to the urgency of the pandemic, remote work may also be a drawing card for younger workers who value flexible hours and the ability to work from anywhere. Here are a few ways a PEO can help you manage these remote workers both now and in the future:

  • Telecommuting best practices
  • Remote onboarding
  • Technology infrastructure and tools
  • HR issues and questions
  • Training

4. Facilitate Employee Communication and Information

Communication has been tricky throughout the pandemic. While Zoom quickly became the go-to platform for most companies, it does have limitations. Additional tools such as Microsoft Teams have more robust functionality, but even the best tools are no substitute for a comprehensive communication strategy. Communication with remote workers must encompass more than just providing a platform for online meetings. A PEO can help you integrate additional communication best practices with your remote workforce, such as:

  • Performance management feedback
  • Handbook development
  • Written templates for various employee scenarios (e.g., sample emails or texts)
  • Policy change communication and wording
  • Communication about changes in the workforce (e.g., layoffs, hiring freezes, succession management)

5. Assistance with Unemployment and Workers Compensation Claims 

Even in the best of times, all businesses face tough decisions about hiring, retention, safety, and employee management. COVID-19 has made those kinds of scenarios even more difficult. But you can still support your workers by making sure they have access to resources and answers to questions even during tough times like a rightsizing decision or a workers compensation claim. A PEO can help you carry out your responsibility as an employer while supporting your employees at the same time.

When you choose a PEO, ask them about workers compensation rates and policies. You may be able to get lower rates through the PEO than you can through your own policy. In the event of a workers compensation or unemployment insurance issue, the PEO can walk you through the process from start to finish, including: 

  • Understanding whether Covid-19 is covered by workers compensation in your state
  • Managing insurance claims and documents
  • Paperwork processing and filing

On the employee side, the PEO can assist with filing claims and answering any questions your team members have about the process. 

 

Ready to find a PEO? 

Finding the right PEO for your small business isn't as complicated as it may seem. The easiest way to start is to fill out our PEO Matching Tool. Simply answer a few questions and our tool will evaluate your reponses and connect you with PEOs that match your needs. You can also check out our Insider's Guide to PEO Costs for an in-depth look at PEO pricing and value. 

Click below to start your search!

 

 

 

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