What’s more important when selecting the right PEO for your growing business?
A) A strong local presence in your city or state
B) Resources only a nationwide HR services provider can offer
The answer is: A and B. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose one or the other. A number of professional employer organizations offer both: local expertise and presence with the breadth and depth of service you’d expect from a larger, national enterprise.
Having the proverbial “best of both worlds” in an HR services provider can help ensure your company’s success at every stage. Here are some of the reasons having a national PEO with a presence in your city or state is the best move for your business.
Depth of knowledge with local issues
Because of state-specific compliance issues, it can feel impossible to keep up with changing local regulations. And it’s not only states that have different requirements for employment compliance. From city to city in many states, the requirements for HR-related regulatory compliance can vary. For example, up until recently in New Jersey, different cities and townships had their own paid sick leave laws.
Although no one would argue that local governments enact employment laws with good intentions – to help ensure area workers’ well-being – each new law or change to an existing one can present new compliance hurdles for businesses.
One of the great things about your PEO having a presence in your city or state is its ability to drill down and be on top of things faster. At the same time, it’s critical they have the resources available to them to tackle challenging situations.
Let’s say, for instance, a state is about to enact new paid sick leave requirements. A high-quality, well-established national PEO can have its locally based team work to help you know what it will take to be compliant from the first day the law goes into effect.
So, if your company lacks the internal resources to continually monitor HR-related regulatory changes that may affect you, or you simply don’t want to risk anything slipping through the cracks, it’s wise to partner with a PEO with local service team representatives.
As a business owner who’d rather be focused on profit and growth, having a team dedicated to keeping up on evolving regulatory changes in your area could be a game changer for your bottom line – and your peace of mind.
Breadth of expertise beyond local regulatory compliance
Simply put, HR compliance in one state may not look the same as compliance in another state.
You guessed it. This is the part where we have to talk about California and its expansive regulatory requirements.
Anyone who’s ever owned a business in the Golden State knows this. One of the more recent laws passed there is Ab1008, also known as “Ban the Box.” It forbids companies from asking an applicant’s criminal history in the hiring process. California also passed legislation banning companies from asking salary history on employment applications.
But the salary history question isn’t just a California thing. Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, Philadelphia and New York City all have similar laws on the books.
If you already have employees in multiple states (or are planning to expand), and you’re struggling to stay in compliance, find an HR partner that knows the ropes and can guide you in best HR compliance wherever you do business.
Convenience and accessibility
You don’t want to have to wait for your national service team representative to fly across the country every time there’s an HR problem that deserves their full attention. That’s not ideal for anyone. It’s also not very responsive.
Maybe you’re considering a national PEO that specializes in deploying state-of-the-art HR technology to clients across the United States. Sounds great at first, right? You’ll have access to the tools you need to run your business more efficiently and get your employees paid on time.
Not so fast.
Does that same nationwide company have human beings in place near you? What happens when you need unexpected help on site? Are there real, live people available to meet with you in person if you need help with something beyond technical support?
Those are important questions to ask. Because, while you may have access to everything you need on an average day, there will be times when you need the support of a trusted HR advisor. You won’t get that from technology alone.
In contrast, a national PEO with representatives or a service team nearby can provide you with that local, personal touch.
For example, you won’t be asked to do everything by video-conference or phone. They can show up in person to meet with you and your employees, answer questions, administer orientations and even help with benefits enrollment if needed.
But this is where the national aspect is also important. A local PEO that lacks nationwide reach or influence may be physically close to your business but struggle to prepare fast enough due to a lack of resources.
They may not, for instance, be able to deliver training on demand for a company that has more than 150 employees. They also may not have access to the range of benefits providers and options that a larger, national PEO likely will.
The resources just may not be available to a local-only PEO, which means they won’t be able to provide timely solutions tailored to your needs in the same way a nationally backed one can.
In terms of speed of delivery and execution, there’s really no substitution for a national PEO with a local presence. They’ll have the resources necessary to help you tackle challenges faster and guide you every step of the way.
Market-specific awareness and expertise
The cultural and demographic makeup of the vast cities and states across America are as diverse as the employment laws that govern them.
Having a PEO with local reps who understand and can communicate effectively with the different markets you serve is critical for your company’s growth and long-term success.
For example, let’s say you’re a company based in Utah opening a new location in Arizona, where a large percentage of the population speaks only Spanish. A reputable PEO will have the local insight as well as the available resources to ensure your onboarding process takes language needs into account.
They might have a Spanish-speaking service representative on hand, or they could help you arrange to have an interpreter or translator present so things go more smoothly. In comparison, a small, regional PEO may be hard-pressed to provide that level of service.
A large, national PEO with local offices across the country is simply better positioned and equipped to serve its clients with solutions tailored to the local market. The advantages of having a trusted HR advisor nearby go beyond logistics. Having an understanding of cultural nuances and norms can prove invaluable for communicating effectively with your target audience.
A team ready to support your growth
A strictly local PEO could probably make a great sales pitch for being high-touch and on top of city or state regulations. They may even be a good HR partner for many small businesses that intend to stay small.
But do they really have the resources to service your business once it expands beyond the region?
That’s a question any company with future dreams of expansion should ask a local PEO before making a decision.
In most cases, a national PEO with locally based service team members who stay up on new HR-related legislation is the best fit for a company looking to expand. In this case, it’s essential to have an HR partner that already has reach and influence across the country.
Let’s say, for instance, you own a manufacturing company based in Texas with 200 employees, and you’ve just purchased a company of 50 employees in San Diego. If you’re working with a Texas-based national PEO that already has knowledgeable “boots on the ground” in California, you can worry less about compliance and focus on your strategic vision.
On the other hand, a PEO whose presence doesn’t extend beyond El Paso may not be ready to help you in other regions.
You can have it all
You don’t have to settle for a national PEO with no presence in your local area. And be wary of a local PEO with limited expertise beyond your city or state. You can – and should – have both.
That’s why, when you decide to outsource your company’s HR, your due diligence should include making sure any PEOs you consider have local representatives with access to national resources.
Want to learn more ways a PEO can help your business grow? Download our free e-book: HR Outsourcing: A step-by-step guide to professional employer organizations (PEOs).