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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year….to sign up for a PEO: The best time to make the switch

By Shraga Jacobowitz

The air is getting crisper, holiday music is playing nonstop and your children have 50 items written on their gift lists already….which for many can only mean one thing… it’s time to go shopping.  Shopping for a PEO that is!

I bet you didn’t see that coming….but yep, with everything else happening at the end of the year, it seems that the PEO industry is also geared towards this “magical time of the year.”

For one, many things handled by the PEO, i.e., payroll, open enrollment, health insurance renewal, and W2s fall out around this time as well, which is why 80% of PEO business is done in December. No, that’s not saying that PEOs are sitting around the rest of the year; there is still plenty for them to do all year round, but last quarter is when push really comes to shove.

For another, with the hectic end-of-the-year business, with many employees taking vacations and companies trying to meet end-of-the-year goals, business owners are even more overwhelmed with their HR tasks and are looking for a way to simplify their lives. Plus with everything going on, errors are bound to happen, and therefore having a professional take over sounds like a great idea. So obviously, it just seems natural that this time would be the best time to switch to a PEO.

But before you pick up that phone, there’s something you should know. If you’re only looking into PEOs now, most likely you won’t be taking advantage of them for this fiscal year.  Unfortunately, while Rome may have been built in a day, the process of partnering with a PEO can take anywhere from 30-90 days. And even if a PEO tells you that they can get the job done in a shorter period of time,

  1. take it with a very large heaping spoonful of salt, because in order for the process to be done correctly, it really does need to take that long, and
  2. we wouldn’t recommend rushing the process, as it can result in partnering with the wrong PEO and ending up with a contract and services that are all wrong for you. Plus with the over 700 PEOs in America, you really want to take the time to research which PEO best fits you.
  3. Similarly, a rushed onboarding equals problem, which in turn equals unhappy employees. And you know what they say, Happy Employees = Happy Work Life (hey, you try rhyming employees). But all kidding aside, rushing the onboarding process will prevent a seamless transition and most likely will result in mistakes costing you time, money and frustrations in the long run.

But you ask, isn’t it preferable to switch at the beginning of a fiscal year?

And while the answer to that is yes, to ensure that you are not being taxed twice or have other financial implications, a January 1st transition is most recommended, it doesn’t mean if you’ve missed the boat for this year (and unfortunately, as mentioned above, you have), then you have to sit around until next year waiting to make the switch.

This is where a PEO consultant or PEO Broker (such as ARC Consultants, of course) comes in handy!  When making a mid-year switch to a PEO, your consultant/broker will work with the PEOs to ensure that there is no financial impact to a company joining the PEO at any time of the year. Furthermore, if you decide that a CPEO  is the right fit for you, the IRS allows for mid-year switches without financial or tax repercussions.

So if you’re looking to switch to a PEO, really any time of the year is the ideal time to make the move.  PEOs are here to make business owners’ life less complicated, why would you wait for a specific time of the year to do so?  If you’re ready to make the switch, just do it! And do it now….because like I said, unfortunately, it’s ain’t happening overnight.

Okay, you can pick up that phone again now! Give ARC Consultants a call and let’s get started on partnering you with the right PEO for you.

6 Reasons Why you Need a PEO Consultant or PEO Broker NOW!

 

By Shraga Jacobowitz

There are many reasons why you should use a PEO (not sure what they are? You can check out any one of the many blogs I’ve written about it such as this one). Every business owner, including hopefully you, has their own unique reason for partnering with a PEO. Perhaps you are just fed up with your administrative tasks eating up huge amounts of your time, overpaying for your company’s health coverage, or losing out on hiring top talent to companies that can offer better benefit packages.  Regardless of the reason is (although I do hope my newsletters had at least a little bit of bearing on the decision), you are now ready to make that leap and join the thousands of companies who partner with PEOs.

You ready? Let’s go, pull out the yellow pages–who am I kidding– turn to the all trusty Google and type in PEO providers. In 0.49 seconds 1.56 Million results come up (trust me, I tried it). Now what?

How do you know which PEO provider is the right fit for your business? Will get you the best service? Best prices? Understand you? With over 700 PEO companies servicing businesses throughout the country, finding the one that meets your business’s needs can be a huge headache.

Enter the PEO Consultant (AKA PEO Broker). And while the word consultant conjures to mind the famous adage “Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach, consult,” this is one case where a consultant can really DO a lot.  A PEO consultant/ broker will do all the research and negotiating for you so that you sign a contract with the PEO that is perfect for your industry and your particular organization. I mean, after all, your time is so precious; why bother researching and reviewing dozens of companies or even worse having to sit through countless sales pitches and lengthy (read: boring) presentations (although the swag and refreshments are always a nice perk, you have better things to do with your time) when you can have someone do it for you?

But hiring a PEO Consultant / PEO Broker is so much more than just the research. Here’s the top 6 reasons why you should use a PEO Consultant/ PEO Broker when partnering with a PEO:

  1. Comparison shopping made easy 

We all love the option of comparison shopping online, just click a couple buttons and have all the data to make an informed decision right in front of you. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy when it comes to PEOs. Pricing is going to be a huge factor in your decision about which PEO provider to use. But getting quotes from several companies can take loads of time, energy and endless paperwork on your part.  PEO proposals tend to be lengthy and as discussed in my last newsletter can be complicated, i.e., containing many easy-to-miss small details and varying pricing structures making comparison-shopping extremely difficult. A PEO Consultant/ PEO Broker can provide you multiple quotes to review at once, making your decision that much easier, and they can advise you to which PEO is the best fit for your needs and the best value for your company.

  1. Saving you time

When choosing a PEO, you’ll have to choose between a National, Regional or Niche PEO. You’ll need to do research into each kind of PEO, and once you’ve made that choice, you’ll need to do further research into PEO providers within each category. That’s a lot of research for one decision!

Think of the Consultant / Broker as that one guy who just knows everyone at the party….because honestly a good Consultant/ Broker will have already established dozens of relationships with PEO providers within each class. This way, they can guide you with this part of the process so you can make your final decision sooner.  In addition, as mentioned above, knowing which type of PEO is the best fit for your business, eliminates the need to even sit down, never mind listen to sales presentation from PEOs that don’t fit your company’s needs (you’ll just have to do without the keychain, hand sanitizer or Danish).  That’s why working with a PEO Consultant / PEO Broker will save you time and energy (and frustration), ensuring that you only sit down with those PEOs that services, technology and financial structure suit your business’ specific needs. 

  1. Better pricing 

Like every decision you make about your company, it’s all about the money, money, money! And to paraphrase the saying, “If you think hiring an expert is expensive, try doing it yourself.” Not hiring a consultant/broker can sometimes end up costing you more than any savings you might have thought you were gaining by doing it yourself. If you want to get the most value for your money with a PEO provider, hire a PEO Consultant / PEO Broker. An experience consultant / broker can negotiate on your behalf to get you the best service for the best price. And a good consultant / broker will use their exclusive relationships with PEO providers to draw up a deal that is favorable to everyone involved.

Hiring a PEO is a huge decision that will affect your bottom line for years to come. Why not get the most for your money? 

  1. Simplified paperwork 

Ever try to apply for something and simply give up just because of the sheer amount of paperwork?  We know that feeling! In order to provide you with an accurate quote, a PEO will need to gather a large amount of data from you, including your employees’ salaries, insurance policies, health care requirements, workers’ compensation history, and a whole lot more. Since each PEO uses a unique proposal system, you’ll need to fill out all that paperwork each time you research another PEO. That’s paperwork times infinity, or at least it will feel like that.

When using an experienced Consultant / Broker though, you only need to submit this information once. The Consultant/ Broker will evaluate your company’s data and give you quotes based on your specific needs so that you can make an informed decision with minimal paperwork involved.

You’ve got enough on your head already; why not save yourself some paperwork—and lots of time?

  1. They have your best interests in mind 

If you were in the market for a new computer and are not sure which one to get, do you go to a Dell store or an electronic store like Best Buy?  Unless you know you want a Dell, I’d suggest going to Best Buy, because the Dell representative is only going to sell you a Dell which may not be the best computer for you.

Similarly, when you work with a PEO directly, the company will try to convince you that they’re the best fit for your business. In contrast, when you work with a Consultant / Broker, they only have your own interests in mind and will help you make a decision that is best for you. They don’t make more money when you choose a particular PEO over another; they only want to make you happy.

It’s always best to work with someone who has your best interests in mind.

  1. They’re in the know 

When most people think about partnering with a PEO, it is to get competitive insurance rates or better employee benefit packages, but the pros of a PEO far exceed just saving your time and money. Many PEOs offer employee training, safety compliance assistance, creating company culture and employee engagement, workers comp insurance, assistance with onboarding, hiring and firing techniques, government compliance and regulation guidance and so much more. For more benefits of the PEO, check out some of my past blogs. But it’s hard to take advantage of all these amazing benefits if you don’t even know about them. A PEO Consultant/ PEO Broker can give you the complete rundown of all the myriad of ways a PEO can help your business.  And really, why would you want to miss out on something, simply because you didn’t know to ask for it?

Want to see exactly how a PEO Consultant / PEO Broker can help your business get the most out of your PEO? Call ARC Consultants today and let them not only consult you, but DO all the work for you.

The Good, the Bad & the Disgruntled; Your guide to dealing with a disgruntled current or former employee

By Shraga Jacobowitz

In our last couple of articles, we discussed hiring GOOD and firing BAD employee.  This week we’re going to discuss the UGLY (and no we’re not talking about that one employee who can use an overall makeover). But the UGLY TRUTH is that some of YOUR employees may NOT BE HAPPY! I know, I know…it can’t possibly be true, after all you’re an awesome guy and boss. But the reality of the truth is that 70% of current and 75% of fired employees in the US are disgruntled! And that’s a really bad thing.

Besides setting a bad tone and spreading internal negativity in the office, a disgruntled employee can be a liability and risk to a company in the forms of lawsuits, bad press and possible theft of company materials, clients or research.  In other words, you want to avoid them like the plague. But with the percentages listed above that may not be entirely possible. Which means, like or not, in the course of your business’ life, you most probably will have to deal with a disgruntled employee or former employee.

So what’s the trick to that? No worries, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s start with a disgruntled employee who is still a current employee of your company.  Now I know what you’re all saying right about now: Shraga has lost his mind….why would I ever let a disgruntled employee still work for me? While you may still think I’m crazy, you should know a disgruntled employee can end up being your best asset and here’s how:

  1. Find out why they are unhappy. Is it their personality or something at work legitimately making them dissatisfied and grumpy? If it’s their personality, you may be out of luck. The only thing you have to consider is if they bring something valuable to the table. If that’s the case, then you have to weigh the cost of company morale and dealing with a grump, against that value. If they have a legitimate reason for being upset, you’re in luck, because then you can fix the situation, not only improving the work environment for that individual, but for all your employees. Plus, showing that you care enough to find, resolve and correct the issue is a great way to create gruntled (why is that not a word?), happy employees.
  1. Don’t lose your cool. It’s like parenting….no matter how frustrating your two year old is being, you know you’re the adult and therefore you have to remain calm (despite the haircut they just gave themselves or the glitter they just decorated your important report with). Same too, no matter how frustrating your employee is being, you have to remain professional. I know it’s hard, but it is important for both handling this employee and creating a positive work environment. And to prevent an employee related lawsuit or claim such as discrimination, wrongful termination etc.
  1. Model good behavior. Another great tidbit from parenting, the “do as I say, not as I do” method is proven NOT to work. As the boss, you SET THE TONE of the office. How you deal with frustrating situations, treat your employees and your general mood, will affect how your employees do the same. Happy Boss = Happy Office (I know it doesn’t rhyme, but it stands just as true as Happy Wife = Happy Life).
  1. Build a company culture that prevents the Disgruntled. Sounds easy enough….just don’t hire disgruntled employees to begin with. Okay, as we all know, it’s easier said than done (even if you listen to my advice in my previous articles), but as discussed in my article on building the right company culture, creating an environment that is positive and stresses the values and mission of the company will prevent hiring these people in the first place. Having a strong value compass, will help weed out those employees that don’t fit into the culture or can help prevent an employee from becoming disgruntled in the first place.
  1. Ask for Help. If you’re partnered with a PEO, they have the tools and personnel to help you deal with a problem employee. In addition, they can help identify potentially problem employees and can help you protect yourself against the more dire consequences of a disgruntled employee, such as a lawsuit. There’s no shame in asking for help here! When it comes to protecting your company, it’s really the smartest thing to do.

That said and done, DON’T BE AFRAID TO FIRE A DISGRUNTLED EMPLOYEE who cannot be helped.  At the end of the day, this is your company and you need to make sure each and every employee fits your needs and culture.

Which brings us to the other type of disgruntled employee….the one who is getting the ax soon or already has. And while the first type of disgruntled employee (the one still working for you) is a pain to deal with, this type of disgruntled employee can be a lot more of a nuisance and plain old scary for your company.  A disgruntled former employee can pose a big risk to your company in form of bad mouthing your company to potential clients and/or job applicants.

Having disgruntled former employees is standard in the business world, meaning, at some point of your career, you’re going to have to deal with someone who is mad at or dislikes you.  I know, I know….we all just want to be loved, but the reality of the situation is not everyone is going to love us, and that holds doubly true for someone you’ve let go from your company.  Listening to some of the advice on how to fire someone, will hopefully eliminate some of the disgruntled employees. But for those employees for whom just smoothing over the firing process is not an option, the following tips can help defuse a potentially explosive situation.

  1. Don’t give them anything to complain about. Okay, I know this sounds obvious, and in any case, isn’t the very definition of disgruntled, someone who has a lot to complain about? While this is true, if you do everything correctly, they’ll be hard pressed to find reasons to complain (I mean, the complaint gets kind of weak when there’s nothing to be said). Be generous where you can be; make small concessions when handling their requests; make sure they are paid their final paycheck before they step out of your door, and treat them with respect, dignity, calm and cool. It may even be worthwhile to reach out through a third party to see if you can resolve any outstanding complaints. But if they’re not open to this, let it go.
  1. Take away their power. Don’t let one disgruntled employee disrupt your entire company. Don’t allow their antics to consume a disproportionate time and energy. Assign one person to handle the matter and let everyone else resume work. This also sends a strong message to the disgruntled employee that life (or work, in this matter) goes on without them. Similarly, when confronted by a disgruntled employee, get a room, i.e., keep it private. Don’t allow for a showdown to happen in front of your other employees, customers or other bystanders.  You may also want to look into offering employees a severance agreement that offers the employee something they want in return for a non-disclosure agreement that includes what can and can’t be said about you, your team and your company.
  1. Change the narrative. The biggest problem (barring the real extreme cases) you will probably face with a disgruntled employee is having someone bad-mouth you. While unfortunately this can’t be changed, it doesn’t have to be the only story out there. However, don’t try to correct the problem by engaging with the disgruntlee (again, why is this not a word?). Instead, make sure you share positive aspects of your company’s purpose, mission, goals and accomplishments. In other words, remind people that there is a bigger picture than just this one employee. Don’t rehash details of the employee’s faults and firing, but do respond to rumors immediately. Without getting into a full out war, address any rumors by giving accurate facts that counter them, without having to repeat the rumor.
  1. Get Help. If you’re noticing a theme here, you’re not imagining it. Getting help when needed is essential to ensure that you and your company are protected. Dealing with a disgruntled employee can be draining.  Seek out professionals that can help you with this matter. As always, I suggest asking your PEO if they can help you with the situation or help find the professionals who can and like I mentioned before, a PEO can even help prevent situations from escalating by putting into place preventive measures that protect your company, identifying disgruntled employees before they become a threat and helping you offer better benefits to your employees to minimize their dsgrutleness (I think the dictionary needs to add some of these words) and maximize their overall job satisfaction. Most importantly, if you think a situation is getting too volatile and can potentially be dangerous, get the authorities involved.  DON’T LET A SITUATION BECOME DANGEROUS BEFORE ACTING!  In the case of any disgruntled employee, it is important to be PROACTIVE rather than REACTIVE.

When it’s all said and done, preventing and dealing with disgruntled employees simply falls back upon what most human interactions depend on, being  respectful, listening (but I mean really listening) to what they have to say, staying calm and being  the bigger man. Easy enough, no?

For more information on how to create a work environment that discourages disgruntled employees and/or how to maintain HR practices that protect both you and your employees, contact ARC Consultants and see if a PEO is the right fit for you.

Should a PEO be your business’ New Year’s resolution? 7 Signs that will tell you if a PEO should be on the list

 

By: Shraga Jacobowitz

With New Year’s just past (Do we all remember Y2K pandemonium? Can you believe it was 18 years ago?), it’s time to reflect on those resolutions. For many that means personal resolutions. But believe it or not, New Year’s is also a good time for business resolutions, especially if your business is showing any of the following seven signs. And with the help of ARC, this is a resolution you can actually keep.

So what are the 7 signs you might need a PEO?

Read on and see if any sound familiar.

#1: Your administrative duties overwhelm you 

If you’re desperately searching for more hours in the day to get through your entire workload, a PEO is the ideal solution for you. A thriving, growing business translates into growing administrative duties that you may not be able to keep up with.

A competent PEO will streamline all of your administrative processes, such as overseeing payroll, new hire and termination processes, HR compliance and medical coverage for your employees. They assume the bulk of hiring and recruiting new workers, supervise employee data management and more.

This might especially apply to you if: You have multiple locations, recently underwent an expansion, or experienced a large growth surge.

#2: You’re not 100% certain you are compliant with regulations and laws related to your industry

Running a lawful business has never been more complicated. New rules and regulations are constantly being passed, and just keeping yourself and your business updated with these laws can consume most of your time and energy.

Free up your brain space and drive for the things that really matter – like launching a new line of products or expanding your clientele beyond its current base – by outsourcing this tedious task to a PEO. They’ll do the hard work for you and ensure that your business is always fully compliant with all relevant laws.

This might especially apply to you if: Your industry is high-risk and is governed by many complicated rules and regulations.

#3: You want access to a Fortune 500 benefit employee benefit package 

Small businesses sometimes have to resort to hiring less-than-ideal candidates because they don’t have access to the handsome benefits package offered by larger firms. In an employee’s market, job-hunters can afford to be choosy and might not even give your business a chance if you can’t offer an attractive package.

By using the services of a PEO, you’ll have access to a much wider pool of benefits you’d otherwise never be able to reach. This way, you can give your employees what they really deserve.

While this is true with all employee benefits, it’s especially true with regards to medical coverage. A smaller business is often stuck with less-than-ideal coverage at ridiculously high premiums.

This might especially apply to you if: You are a smaller company but have exorbitantly high premiums and/or deductibles. 

#4: You’ve outgrown your current administrative system but don’t yet have the financial resources to build an internal HR department

Your business used to run perfectly well with its current administrative practice, but now it’s outgrown itself. You might be entertaining the thought of building an internal HR department and are wondering what this might run you in costs.

While the exact price tag varies with need, establishing an HR department is always time-consuming and relatively expensive. It can mean recruiting and hiring an HR director, using the services of a payroll company, and paying host of cost and fees that can be incurred by doing your HR in-house – all of which can total up to $200,000!

Do you stick with the system you have in place even though it’s not working too well or drop a ton of money on establishing an HR department?

You might think you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, but there’s a simple solution: Hire a PEO! You’ll outsource all of your HR and you’ll have a greater depth and breadth of services at a reasonable price.

This might especially apply to you if: You’ve already experienced the fallout of administrative practices that aren’t sufficient for your current level of growth.

#5: You recently acquired a company

Acquiring another company is an exciting step for growing businesses and opens a plethora of new opportunities. Unfortunately, though, this process often leads to the realization that the current HR process was undermanaged or insufficient for the business’s needs. This can present a significant risk to acquirers, particularly in a stock purchase. You don’t want to end up losing out on the acquisition because of faulty administrative practices. By using a PEO, your HR will be handled efficiently and competently, removing all the employer risk inherent in an acquisition.

This might especially apply to you if: Your administrative process was already floundering prior to the acquisition. 

#6: You’ve just lost a long-time employee who handled all aspects of HR

Every business owner likes to think their best employees will stick around forever, but this is hardly true. Employees leave their places of work all the time – even ones they’ve worked in for decades. If you have an employee you depend on to manage HR, you might be lost if this worker leaves your company. It’s best to have a PEO working together with your employee so that you’re not up a creek if this key worker leaves.

If the inevitable happens and you did not employ the services of a PEO before it did, it’s not too late to start now. A PEO can swoop in and save the day when you feel like you’re completely lost without your key employee managing HR.

This might especially apply to you if: You’ve never played any part in the HR department at your business.

#7: Your industry has higher Workers Comp exposure causing higher workers comp rates and premium

Every business does it best to keep its employees safe, but understandably some work environments provide higher risk to their employees than others. When you are in an industry that has higher risks to your employees, the cost of your workers comp insurance can be quite high.

Because PEO’s are shopping for this insurance in higher quantities they can provide better rates on workers comp insurance plans. And since the company partnering with the PEO can often take on the EMR (Experience Modification Rate) of the PEO, even those companies with high EMRs can benefit from the PEOs lower rate.  In addition, PEOs can provide safety compliance guidance, improving your environment’s risk factors and your personal EMR to qualify your business for lower rates even if taking on the PEOs EMR is not an option.  So essentially a PEO can both make your business a safer place to work and save you money on workers comp insurance. Now what’s not to love about that?

This might especially apply to you if: You are in the construction or manufacturing industries which have high risk environments.

Okay, you have to admit it, at least 2 or 3 of those signs apply to you. If that’s the case, you definitely can benefit from a PEO.

Still not convinced? Contact ARC Consultants today so that they can determine if a PEO is right for you and if so, which PEO is the right partner for your exact business! Now, that’s something to cheer about! Happy New Year to all!  Wishing you a stress-less and successful new year.

The Apple, the Check Mark & Coffee: What they have to do with your business & why a PEO can actually help improve it

By: Shraga Jacobowitz

Okay, if I did my job correctly, you are right now scratching your head and are intrigued by the title of my article.  Because what do apples, check-marks and coffee have in common? And further, what in the world can these three things have to do with the business world, my business specifically and even more confounding, PEOs?

However, it’s really quite simple. These three seemingly unrelated items each represent three mega-corporations: Apple, Nike and Starbucks. One of the core things these three corporation hold in common is that these three companies distinguished themselves from the thousands of companies across the country by clearly establishing their company culture.

Think Apple, and you think simplicity, serviceability and quality. The Nike swoosh brings to mind athletic prowess and reaching for impossible goals. Similarly, Starbucks is synonymous with fantastic customer service and even better lattes.

Okay, you’re thinking, you’ve piqued our interest, but you still haven’t answered our more important question, “What do these companies have to do with my company and a partnership with a PEO?”

Again, the answer is simple. Creating your company culture is one of the key components of attracting faithful customers, (ask an Apple user to use an Android, a Nike enthusiast to wear any old sneaker or a Starbucks connoisseur to G-d forbid drink home brewed coffee and you’ll see what I’m talking about). But this culture is not just about retaining your customers. Having a strong company culture is almost as important to retaining your employees as it is to retaining your customers.

Back to our apple, check mark and coffee, all three of these corporations have excelled in retaining their employees, with Apple retaining about 81% of its worldwide employees. Nike was listed as one of the top 100 companies to work for with a mere 9% voluntary turnover rate.  Meanwhile, Starbucks has bucked the trend for quick serve restaurants, which usually has a 150-400% turnover rate, with an astounding 65% turnover rate, beating the industry average by 140%.

So, we know now that creating and maintaining a strong company culture can be the key to increased employee productivity across the board. This is because when there is a strong culture attached to your company, employees feel like they belong to something important, and they want to be part of making it better. In turn, your employees will love coming to work when they are part of something bigger than themselves. When employees feel like they fit into a company’s culture, they will develop deeper relationships with their colleagues, be more loyal to the company, and be more productive than ever.

Of course, employers benefit from a strong company culture, too. Having happy, productive employees who are giving their job their all, is one of the best things you can do for your company.  In fact, having a winning company culture cannot be overstated. According to a Bain & Company Survey America, 81% of 365 companies throughout Europe, Asia, and North America believe that a company lacking a high-performance culture is doomed to mediocrity.

But again, you’re probably asking yourself, “What in the world does all this have to do with PEOs?”

Elementary, my dear Watson (a change from my normal answer of “It’s simple”). Your company’s culture is the personality you infuse in your company. It defines your office environment, the way your employees feel about their work, and creates your company’s goals. It includes a range of elements, including company mission, values, ethics code, and expectations.  And because it fosters a great work environment it increases productivity across the board.

The importance of establishing and maintaining a strong company culture leads many business owners to question if partnering with a PEO or a current PEO partnership will affect their well-established company culture. It is normal to wonder if it’s possible to still maintain the mission, goals, attitude of their company, when their employees are now being dealt with by an outside party.

Worry not, business owners. As I stated in the title, partnering with the right PEO shouldn’t change anything about your company culture. Seems a little too good to be true? Are you having flashbacks to your last co-living arrangement that went south really quickly or your elementary school science project that you “co-worked” on, and thinking co-anything (whether co-living, co-working or co-employment) has to change everything?

Many business owners worry that partnering with a PEO or their existing PEO partnership will make employees feel disenfranchised or set aside or that they will not know who they are working for or what company goals they are working towards.

I repeat, if implemented correctly, joining a PEO or being part of a PEO should change NOTHING about your company’s culture. In fact, handing over all your HR duties to a PEO, allows you to focus more fully on developing and maintaining your company culture. In addition, by utilizing the services of a PEO, you’ll be better equipped at finding the right employees for your business that fit your company’s culture. A PEO can assist you with the tedious recruiting process, including interviewing candidates, resume-screening and performing background checks on prospective employees. A PEO can also help you create, implement and change company policy. And in doing so, PEOs enable you to create a team that personifies your company’s culture.

So what is the SECRET to joining or being part of a PEO, without upsetting your current company culture?

It really is simple this time: KEEP THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN!

Honesty and transparency are crucial to good company culture, so if you’re considering partnering with a PEO, simply TALK to your employees about this decision. Simple, right?

This lesson can be learned from Zappos, another leader in maintaining a thriving company culture. One of Zappos’s ten core values is “Build open and honest relationships with communication.” Zappo’s founder, Tony Hsieh embodied this value when he announced Amazon’s $850 million acquisition of Zappos in an open letter to all Zappo’s employees in 2009, eliminating the normal panic that ensues when rumors of a corporate takeover begin to circulate.

Let your employees know of your decision to partner with a PEO and why you’ve made this decision. Explain to them the benefits to THEM in bringing the PEO on board, including better benefit packages, access to better health, dental and vision insurance plans, and a safer work environment. In addition, because PEO has access to technology that an average company cannot afford, your work process is made that much easier.

Be upfront about what the PEO will handle and what your company will handle. Most importantly, explain that while you and the PEO are now co-employers, your company is still the one leading your employees and therefore your company still holds the same values as before.  A PEO should align with your company’s existing infrastructure to provide complementary expertise– they should not be taking it over.

In fact, if the transition to joining a PEO is handled correctly, working with a PEO can actually improve your company’s culture. After all, happy employees is one of the key elements of having a strong company culture. With the new benefits and the streamlined responsibilities, employees will be glad to know that your company is still looking out for what’s best for them and the company. A PEO consultant/broker and the PEO you choose to partner with should be able to help you complete this transition seamlessly. Communication between your company and the PEO throughout the transition period and the partnership is essential to maintaining your company’s culture in this arrangement. In addition, because PEOs employ seasoned, certified HR professionals who have experience with various industries, these experts can also help in making shifts in company culture, when necessary. This expertise can prove invaluable when structuring, maintaining or changing your company’s culture, and as a partner of the PEO, it’s at your disposal.

So, take the advice of the apple, the check mark and the coffee, and build up your company culture for optimal customer and employee retention, but don’t let this goal stop you from taking advantage of all the benefits a PEO can offer your business. Now, all of a sudden, I’m in the mood of wasting endless hours on my iPhone, running a mile and getting a coffee simultaneously…. I can’t begin to imagine why.

Still not convinced bringing a PEO will not adversely affect your company’s culture?  Call ARC Consultants and let them help you partner with a PEO that aligns best with your company’s culture.

Is Your Workspace Really SAFE? The experts weigh in on what safety truly means.

By: Shraga Jacobowitz

As Memorial Day approaches, we thank those who have lost their lives in service so that we can live and work with freedom and in safety. It is in remembrance of these great men and women that we recognize that these privileges afforded to us by their sacrifice should not be taken for granted.  And as employers, we have a duty to ensure that this freedom and safety is being provided to our employees.

Any CEO will attest to the fact that a business’ employees are its biggest asset.  Innovative vision and/or superior products or service means nothing if you don’t have the workforce to implement that vision and produce, market and sell that product or service.  It’s no wonder then that providing this invaluable asset safe working environments should be our number one priority.

But besides the right of employees to work in a safe environment, providing such an environment just makes business sense. One single work accident can cause a company through both direct and indirect cost upwards of $200,000. And with an average of 3 million workplace injuries reported a year (as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics), that is a lot of money bleeding from American companies due to unsafe conditions.  In the face of those numbers, it is understandable why so many companies are adopting the attitude of “prepare and prevent, rather than repair and repent.”

So how does a company go about preparing and preventing? Some of the safety industry’s top experts weigh in and you won’t be surprised that they all have the same things to say – in order to have a safe work environment you must create a Safety Culture.

What is a Safety Culture, you ask? Judy Agnew, Senior Vice President of Safety Solutions, explains that to truly provide a safe environment, the key rules of safety must be ingrained in the very fabric of the organization.  It is created through positive reinforcement of safe behavior, rather than discipline of unsafe behavior, and incorporating safety into every daily decisions, rather than once a year workshops. OSHA VPP, has stated that “strong safety cultures have had the greatest impact on accident reductions of any process.”

Tom Krause, CEO of Behavioral Science Technology, furthers this idea and differentiates between safety leadership vs. safety management. Safety leadership is showing employees why a safety culture is important rather than dictating the safety protocol employees should follow.  With safety leadership, employees are much more willing to get behind safety initiatives and protocols. As Krause explains, “If senior leadership gets it right, then the culture will change. If senior management doesn’t get it right, then everything else is like swimming upstream. It’s a struggle.”

Neal M. Leonhard, a manager at Safety Systems, adds to this point and stresses that a management that is committed to safety and encourages employee participation will create a stronger safety culture.  Management should provide for and encourage “meaningful employee involvement in the accident prevention system,” he notes. “Employees should be given the opportunity and should be encouraged to provide input into the design and operation of safety processes/programs and the decisions that affect their safety and health.”

Michael S. Deak, corporate director, Safety and Health, Compliance Process Safety and Fire Prevention at DuPont, takes this one step further and states that all companies should make EVERYONE accountable for safety, and he means everyone…from CEO to janitor assistant, all rules should apply equally. Higher management “walking the talk” as he says, is the number one way to get employees to walk the walk.

Donald J. Eckenfelder, a consultant for Profit Protection Consultants, has another take on safety culture. His advice, avoid SAFETY…that is, the word “safety”, at least.   He advises companies to not have anything with the word “safety” in it, i.e., safety meetings, safety committees, etc.  Instead, integrate safety into your normal business processes. This means there is an overall culture of safety and the responsibility to have a safe environment is shared by everyone rather than a select few.

Deak also feels Safety should not be a priority. He theorizes that as companies’ priorities tend to shift and change as the company grows or due to outside influences, many employees actually do not take these priorities seriously. They adopt the attitude, this too shall pass….Therefore, Deak recommends not making safety a priority, but instead just making it part of the everyday company culture.

A final way to improve your safety culture is to POLICE your safety program. And while obviously, all programs should have some form of oversight, James Kendrick, president of the American Society of Safety Engineers, uses this acronym to indicate the steps every company should take to maintain their safety culture. 

Plan

Organize

Lead

Inspect/investigate

Correct

Evaluate

Creating your safety culture is never finished; it is a constant process that involves inspecting and re-inspecting, correcting and re-correcting, evaluating and reevaluating, and is consistently changing based on these steps.

Many of the changes to a company’s safety culture will be based on trial and error within your own organization, while others will be necessitated by the ever-changing government regulations and policies. In fact, Employee Safety and Health Compliance (ESH) has evolved into one of the most complex compliance issues for businesses, meaning many HR departments are unable to keep up with the new regulations, causing many companies to be fined and penalized for policies they aren’t even aware of.

Due to this need for constant evaluation and the complexity of government regulations, many companies are now turning to PEOs for help maintaining their safety culture. PEOs are staffed with certified risk management specialists who can help oversee and ensure that you are compliant with safety and health regulations. These experts will even come on-site to see where safety measures can be implemented and what is lacking in your current safety culture.  As an added benefit, many PEO clients receive decreases in their workers compensation insurance modifiers as a result of these services being provided by their PEO.

To find out more about how a PEO can help you with your safety culture and compliance, contact ARC Consultants today.

The Popularity of PEO’s: It’s history, growth and effect on your business.

By: Shraga Jacobowitz

A recent survey conducted by the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) this past February has some not so surprising results.  Well, not surprising to anyone who is currently working for, with, or partnered with a PEO.  The survey revealed that the PEO industry is experiencing continued growth across all areas including: revenue, gross profits, operating income, average number of worksite employees, and average number of clients.  What these survey results all boil down to is one simple fact: PEOs are becoming increasingly more popular and an increasingly more common way for businesses to provide their employees with the best HR, benefit, and insurance packages.

Of the 71 PEO executives who took part in the survey, a whopping 99% are optimistic about the prospects for strong industry growth in 2017.  We assume that the remaining 1% were just having a bad day the day of the survey.  The remaining executives all agree that more and more businesses are recognizing the value of a PEO, creating a bright future for the PEO industry.

So why are PEOs becoming so popular? And more importantly, what does all this mean for your business?

Unbelievably enough, the concept of PEOs has been around since the 1960’s, then known as Employee Leasing Firms. The industry was established as a way to help companies cope with the rising costs of workers’ compensation coverage.  However, it was not until the 1980’s when regulatory laws were increased and businesses were forced to deal with even more complex legal red tape than ever, that PEOs really began to gain popularity.

A PEO firm can handle payroll, and even assist with the hiring, training, and firing of employees. With a PEO, the employer is no longer left to deal with such tedious tasks as onboarding new hires, handling all the necessary paperwork, providing employment information, conducting performance reviews, managing expenses, recruiting, conflict resolution, providing substance abuse services, conducting company policy review, dealing with OSHA and EEOC and I-9 requirements…and the list goes on and on.  Plus, a PEO allows companies to offer insurance and benefit packages that rival those of bigger companies. With a PEO, it’s no longer only the bigger fish that get the bigger benefit package.

PEOs basically take on the tasks that are too time consuming, expensive, and complicated to handle in-house, so that your time is freed up to grow your business, allowing you to save money. But even better, with a PEO, less mistakes occur, allowing you to build a better company with better employees and better incentive packages to retain employees.

But PEOs do a lot more for business owners than rescue them from HR and red tape purgatory. Since the PEO’s job is to stay on top of business regulatory laws, including all those new ones that seem to endlessly pop up, a business that partners with a PEO is more likely to always be compliant. A PEO also helps their clients navigate the hundreds of regulations and labor laws that are applicable to their specific industry, undertakes audits to determine if the company is in violation of any laws, and then helps their client address any issues they may have.

And as any business owner understands, better compliance means fewer penalties and fines, saving businesses time, money, and frustration, while increasing employee contentment, productivity, and as a result, the company’s bottom-line.

In recent years, PEOs have begun including even more sophisticated services, such as employee screening and training, safety training and audits, lawsuit protection, processing payment of premiums, certificates of insurance and injury claims, giving businesses further reason to partner with a PEO. With workplace lawsuits and increasingly complicated government regulations becoming more and more common, it’s no wonder that the idea of using a PEO to handle these tasks have also becoming more and more common.

So as I stated at the start of this article, the results of the recent NAPEO survey are not very shocking.  PEOs are definitely becoming the standard way of business for many smart businesses. The only question remains is: Is your business one of them?

To find out more about how a PEO can help your business or if you are getting the most out of your PEO partnership, click here or contact one of our PEO consultants today.

Is Trump’s ban on immigrants a ban on business too?

Whether you agree with President Trump’s policies or not, everyone can agree that the new President has definitely started his first term in office with plenty of sound and fury. Whether it signifies nothing or not is yet to be seen. However, many business owners are wondering how his ideology and campaign agenda will affect business. Are they looking at massive changes in regulations, hiring practices, insurance laws or is it just going to be business as usual?

Trump claims to be a friend of business; his recently signed executive order pledging to repeal two existing regulations for every new one, a promise to reduce business tax rates to 15%, his appointment of Linda McMahon to the SBA, Scott Pruitt to head the EPA and nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court all seem to indicate he is moving in that direction.  NFIB CEO and President commended Trump on his address to Congress (2.28.17), stating “President Trump delivered a very strong economic message that hit the right notes,” regarding tax reform, repealing the affordable care act and reducing business regulations.

But its Trump’s other agenda, i.e., his crackdown on illegal immigrants that has some businesses worried. Trump’s push to tighten our borders may provide some unanticipated challenges for business owners, they include:

  1. The controversial travel ban to the U.S. from specific countries
  2. A limit on H-1B and other visas allowing foreigners to come to the U.S. to work
  3. Stricter enforcement of the E-Verify system that is meant to screen these workers.

As such, many businesses are wondering how Trump’s immigration plans will affect their staffing strategies, business travel and expansion plans.

Trump is suggesting that this crackdown and his “America first” agenda is meant to create new jobs, but many are skeptical if that will truly be the case.  While we tend to think of immigrants taking low paying jobs and therefore having little effect on business, according to a recent survey conducted by Envoy, an immigration service provider, 63% of U.S. employers describe foreign workers as being extremely important to their company’s recruiting and hiring strategies.  Many would be surprised to know that a majority of new patents in the U.S. are registered by non-U.S. citizens.

Additionally, immigrants have been responsible for some of the most successful U.S. startup companies, which in turn, has created many jobs for U.S. citizens.

Foreigners have always been a crucial source of talent across all industries, and if qualified options are not available in the U.S. talent pool, companies may be looking to move or expand their offices outside of the U.S. or outsource some of their tasks to foreign companies.  In addition, companies will be hesitant to send current employees to overseas conferences, short term assignments or client meetings, further limiting a company’s growth potential.

Additionally, Trump’s strict policies have more dire consequences, says immigration lawyer, Austin T. Fragomen Jr., (Fragomen, Bernsen & Loewy), “making the U.S. an undesirable location because of the unpredictably, sends a very negative message,” and will further scare qualified foreign workers from taking U.S. jobs.  Giselle Carson, a corporate lawyer who litigates for many companies employing immigrants, echoes this sentiment, stating, “The Trump administration actions sends a message to talented foreign nationals that ‘You’re not welcome,’  and we don’t want to send a message that we’re closing our doors and closing our borders.”

This leaves many businesses wondering, what’s a company to do in the face of Trump’s obvious commitment to his hard stance on immigration?  While the uncertainty at this time makes it difficult to come up with a concrete plan, there are several things a business owner can do right now to ensure that if the immigration hammer does fall, he is not left crushed by it.

  1. Make sure you are up to date on immigration policy, including not just hiring policy, but firing policy, as well, which can have additional ramifications to the firing of an U.S. Citizen.
  2. Know the legal status of all your foreign employees, including being on the lookout for discrepancies in any employee’s information. Employers have an obligation to verify the identity and visa status through the I-9 process. While this process is old news, the increased enforcement, with risk of imprisonment for not complying is relatively new and can have dire consequences for a business owner. Businesses should be aware that as of this January, a new I-9 form has been introduced, which will most likely mean more government scrutinization, inter-agency cross referencing and stricter enforcement.
  3. Many recruiting firms suggest using these immigration policy changes as an opportunity to train and create better workers from your current talent pool.

Seems a bit overwhelming, no?

This is of course where a PEO comes into play. (You had to know a PEO was going to come up at some point.)  Partnering with a PEO to provide your HR solutions can help you with all of the above items. Through providing assistance with recruiting and hiring, a PEO can help you strategize to hire qualified employees from the U.S., along with generous employee benefit packages that PEOs can provide can also help attract and retain these employees.  A PEO firm stays on top of immigration law, so you don’t have to, ensuring that you’re always compliant. It is always a good idea to reach out to your PEO to review your current immigration and policy procedure to ensure compliance and to review any new and/or applicable laws that may pertain to your specific workforce.

Finally, through offering employee training programs, a PEO can help you build up a better workforce internally, which may be the direction business owners are going to need to begin considering.

So while Trump definitely does seem to be a great friend to business, we can only hope that he keeps in mind how his need to “build a wall” can and will affect U.S. businesses.

Unleashing the Power of Your PEO

By: Shraga Jacobowitz

So, you’ve just joined a PEO or perhaps you’ve been part of a PEO for a while already. We’re sure you’re happy to have all the nitty gritty of your Human Resources department off your plate, (after all you didn’t start your business to become a Human Resource manager).

But, are you sure you’re really taking full advantage of your PEO partnership?

If you’re simply using a PEO to handle your human resources needs such as benefit packages, insurance, liability and risk management, to name a few, the answer to that questions is a resounding NO!

When partnered with the correct PEO, your company should not only be benefiting from the ability to handle your current needs, but should be able to leverage this partnership to gain top talent, maximize the potential of your current workforce and prevent employee turnover.

The primary reason a company chooses a PEO, over, for example, outsourcing their HR management jobs is because PEOs are a co-employment arrangement allowing companies to maximize their benefits without losing control of their employees. Thus, the partnership should be geared to helping your company, not only maintain control of, but getting the most out of your workforce.

So, how does a company leverage their PEO to maximize their workforce potential?  Here’s three ways your company can use your PEO partnership to do exactly that.

  1. Offer attractive benefit packages. In the changing market of millennial hires, attracting top talent is about more than just the paycheck. Potential employees are looking for great employee benefit packages as well.  And these new hires want it all….the best health insurance plans, a retirement plan that makes sense, life insurance, etc.  Because PEOs aggregate employees from multiple companies, partnering with the right PEO allows you to offer the benefit package of larger corporations at competitive prices.  The PEO’s ability to leverage the combined amount of employees also allows you to offer flexible benefit packages, so you can create the perfect match for your employees’ needs and lifestyle.

So how do you ensure you’re offering your current and potential employees the best packages? When discussing benefit packages, make sure your PEO is offering you and your employees the following:

  • A wide range of options for each employee to choose from.
  • Coverage for new hires with little or no waiting period.
  • A stable health care provider network with an updated administration system.
  • Familiarity with your needs, including a mastery of the complex issues associated with a dispersed workforce, if you are looking to expand out of state or overseas.
  • And finally, make sure that your PEO partners only with companies that resemble your own industry and workforce profile. In this way, your low risk business isn’t being lumped together with high risk companies, or high wage employees with blue collar employees, which can cause your insurance rates to rise and benefit packages to be limited.
  1. Take advantage of professional development and employee training opportunities. Many PEOs offer live/on-site, virtual/video or other learning opportunities for your employees so that they can develop their skills and expand their knowledge and expertise. The ability to offer such development and training is a great way to attract potential employees as well as utilize the full potential of your current ones. Make sure to ask your PEO about such opportunities so that you can take full advantage of what they have to offer.
  1. Utilize their HR professionals. While all PEOs have HR professionals on staff, when you choose a PEO to partner with, make sure that their pros understand YOUR business.  With the right HR professional in your corner, they can help you anticipate and resolve problems before they even develop. These pros can also help you with the interview, training, performance management processes so that you’re assured that you’re hiring the best employee for your business and its potential growth.

An added benefit to having HR pros on your side….it’s their job to stay on top of new regulations and compliance issues, so you don’t have to.  Keeping you up to date, notifying you of and dealing with any regulation and/or compliance changes should be part of your PEO package. Again having pros who understand YOUR business, ensures that they’re aware of any and all regulations or compliance laws that affect YOU specifically allowing you to always be on top of your game.

Taking advantage of these three points are just some ways to maximize your benefits from your PEO partnership.  Knowing all the benefits that can be gained from the PEO partnership is an important component of maintaining your PEO partnership.  Whether you’ve been partnered with a PEO for one day or for several years, reviewing the benefits you’re currently receiving and exploring others that you’re not, can definitely maximize what you are getting out of your PEO partnership.

That way, when you’re asked next whether you know if you’re taking full advantage of your PEO partnership or not, you can answer a resounding YES with absolute certainty.

Not sure how to take the next step in taking full advantage, ARC Consultants can help you review your current PEO and ensure that you are.  Give us a call or email to see how we can assist you in maximizing your benefits.