Co-Employment: Taming Your 3-Ring Circus

co-employmentTry to recall the last time you went to a carnival. As you excitedly combed the crowded grounds, you eagerly passed confident purveyors of fun, gregariously imploring you to take interest in their wares. Some specialized in the creation of delectable treats, such as caramel-coated apples, sugar-soaked cinnamon sticks, or maybe even deep-fried Oreos! Others appealed to your wild side, advertising the treacherous, corkscrewed, stomach-turning thrill rides that almost certainly guaranteed an encore presentation of your most recent meal – but that is what made it fun.

Above all, you could not help but recognize the lively diversity and curious assortment of different offers around you. However, at the end of the day, a carnival closes as one, single entity. It is the sum of its unique parts, the pooling of distinct and different resources and talents, which allow all involved to function, even thrive.

Your company is like a carnival (hopefully not a three-ringed circus) and you are the ringmaster. That means that you have to let others be the strongman, the clown, and the bearded lady – otherwise, too much responsibility will fall on you, not to mention way too much facial hair! As your small business grows you have to adapt, expanding your hired help with your profit margin.

Honestly, you probably do not enjoy dealing with payroll taxes, rules and regulations, or worker’s compensation. These tasks, dare I say it, could be compared to cleaning the port- a-johns at your carnival - less than fun. You would probably rather take charge of worksite conditions, day-to-day operations, and determining your employees’ roles in your company than the administrative tasks of running a business. Herein lies the beauty of the co-employment partnership; by pairing with the co-employment organization/professional employer organization (PEO), you free up time for what really matters: determining and supervising your employees’ daily activities.

The co-employer (PEO) is your human resources lion tamer. Sure, the ringmaster is capable of undertaking all that is involved in taming the lion, but by taking on this additional role, the ringmaster would put the circus at risk. Similarly, by taking on too many tasks, you are putting yourself and your company at risk. It only takes one bite, i.e., one lawsuit or injury, to result in significant financial repercussions for your company. Fortunately, in a co-employment relationship, the professional employer organization assumes part of this liability because they handle payroll and payroll taxes, workers comp, benefit outsourcing, and safety consulting. They can help prevent any “bites” and also help navigate the legal path if there is a complication.

Frankly, the monotony of human resource is a waste of your time and your talents. The co-employer (
PEO) is good at what it does. Like the cotton candy wizard at the carnival who crafts the fluffiest, sweetest flavors, the co-employer is comparatively skilled as an HR powerhouse, crafting the most skilled and capable leaders to increase business performance.

Moneywise (here is the paragraph you have all been waiting for), co-employment is quite economical. The PEO can take on employment costs at a lower rate than an individual business due to financial stability. This is because the staff leasing company contractually employs a larger number of employees than a single business.

Simply put, if you have the resources, establishing a co-employment partnership is a win-win decision. It allows you to focus your efforts on growing your company, building a strong employee base, and setting up long-term goals, while the PEO takes on your administrative burden and risk. By taking this one, easy step you will be able to begin the triumphant transformation of your small company into a booming, business big top. 

About the Author
Carolyn Stoll Sokol is a frequent contributor to PEOcompare and writes about issues that may affect small businesses such as co-employment and
Human Resources Outsourcing. She is a founder of which provides unbiased information on Regional Staff Leasing and National PEOs.