By Mindy Flanigan, PHR; Managing Partner of Inspiring HR, LLC
Congratulations! You have chosen to work with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) to make your Payroll, Benefits, Worker’s Compensation and Human Resource Management life easier – all at a one stop shop and price.
There are many advantages to using a PEO. Many of them were likely presented and discussed during the sales and enrollment process. Now that you are anticipating the service relationship beginning (or perhaps it has already started, you might be having a hard time making sense of what HR Service you should be accessing and when.
Here are 5 tips to get you started.
1. Determine Who Internally Can Implement Delivered HR
Just like HR is there as a resource for managers (not to do their job for them) a PEO HR specialist is there to help you solve and implement HR. They need a partner at the client location to get that done. Typically this partner or point of contact(s) would be the person most likely to request HR support, call the HR specialist with questions and would be the person the HR specialist would provide consult to if there are products or services that would be of benefit your company. For example, a PEO HR specialist can create and Employee Files Guide, but it is typically up to your internal contact to receive it and use it. A PEO HR specialist is also there to guide decision making when it comes to employee corrective action measures. But they still need that internal contact and/or the employee’s supervisors to execute based on the guidance provided.
2. Ask For An Overview Of Options; Typically Referred To As The “Basics”.
It is reasonable to expect that the PEO you are working with has a dedicated HR specialist or an HR Service team member to explain in as much detail as you need, how the platform will support your business’s Human Resource Management needs. If you have the time and are inclined to participate in a collaborative discussion, ask your HR Service representative to conduct a Labor Law Compliance and HR Best Practices audit. In doing so you can gain a better understanding of where the “holes” may be and how the HR services being offered can fix that.
3. Get Your Employment Law Posters Ordered.
Some PEO’s will do this automatically once the Service Agreement is signed. Some will ask the HR specialist assigned to your account to evaluate if you need them, for which states and how many. This is a labor law compliance basic requirement and unless you recently ordered federal and state labor law posters that are current, you have a right to expect that your PEO will provide you with a new set and will keep their eye on when you need a new set due to labor law changes.
4. Get Your Employee Handbook Done!
A good PEO will have a template, based on federal law, ready to use. You have to request that you want a handbook and the HR specialist should take it from there. Usually that means answering a few basic customization questions and the HR specialist researching applicable state labor laws. The PEO will create as many handbook drafts that you need for review and the convert the document to final when all content has been ironed out and is ready for employee distribution. You can also ask for guidance on the best path for handbook rollout, collection of signed acknowledgements and how your supervisors can use the handbook to their benefits. You get a copy, the HR specialist (HR service team) retains a copy and the HR specialist will keep you posted if a labor law change at the federal or state level requires a handbook update.
5. Request Standard Employee Management Forms
As your “partner” the PEO HR Service specialist/team is there to help you build up your HR/Employee Management foundation. You can’t do that without implementing some standard forms and processes into your workplace. Those include an Employment Application, Deduction Authorization Forms, Employee Counseling Forms and Performance Reviews. You should expect these to be in MS Word form so they can be customized to suit your specific needs but PLEASE make sure you lean on your assigned PEO HR specialist for guidance on how to customize; particularly when there may be concern that content being added is creating liability or violating a labor law.
There is so much more than can be offered by a PEO to support the creation and evolution of your internal HR/Employee Management functions. What you have access to largely depends on the price you pay and the sophistication and structure of the PEO’s service team. Whether you are paying a discounted rate to a smaller PEO or a larger price with a PEO that has a huge HR service offering remember this: If you think you need it, it never hurts to ask!