If you read any newspaper, watch any news program, or listen to any business podcasts it’s impossible to avoid discussions of surging gas prices, record inflation, labor shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, and—scariest of all—signs of a looming recession.
External influences like these economic forces are part of any business cycle. You can’t out-grow, out-innovate, or out-think market forces. However, how you respond to such influences can be determinative in how well you fare through challenging economic cycles.
It is accepted as common wisdom that technology improves the work environment, streamlines processes and workflows, and makes a workplace more productive with diminishing costs over time.However, until relatively recently, there has not been much data to quantify or qualify that conclusion.
Long gone are the days when changes to the business climate were easily foreseeable and gave us plenty of time to plan and respond. Pandemics, wars, and competition from new market players are just a few recent trends that make managing your business more complicated than ever.
As PEOs, we are in an industry where service is of utmost importance. Regardless of the service model we operate, we rely on our teams to execute our vision of delivering the products and services that provide the most value to our customers.
Our job is to make sure we have the right people in the right seats and provide the right tools to bring that vision to life. We must be ready to address three emerging issues: the challenge of hiring and retaining qualified staff, the increased use of telecommuting and remote work arrangements, and the impact of automation on service delivery.
PEOs experience many operational issues. This is the only industry I know of in which when you look under a rock, you find more rocks. Three operational issues come to the top of my mind for the large PEO. They are: onboarding new clients, employee benefit open enrollment, and PEO technology. In this article, I will focus on the first two of these issues, but the challenges posed by PEO technology are apparent to many in the industry.
Operational challenges are par for the course for every PEO no matter the size. While we spend countless hours addressing the changes of our clients how do we address the challenges of our PEO? Our challenges are not tackled in the news, press releases, or social feeds. They are overcome in the conference rooms, cubicles, internal webinars, and boardrooms by the dedicated professionals in our field. However, not all PEOs are affected the same way by such challenges. Several factors like external and internal resources, the PEO’s growth stage, and the staffing level will determine how the PEO juggles, balances, and overcomes challenges.
PEO is a challenging, yet highly rewarding business space. And when it comes to challenges there is never a shortage. Revenue, labor, competition, politics, economics, just to name a few. But one of the major operational challenges that mid-sized PEOs face is somewhat wrapped inside the evolution of your business and its lifecycle. Most long-standing mid-sized PEOs face it, but many times we fail to see and address this complex challenge. That challenge is legacy clients.
PEOs are uniquely positioned to lead the conversation about supporting caregivers with their clients to ensure caregiving in the workplace is no longer stigmatized. It starts with providing an objective view of their clients’ benefit strategies as well as organizational structure, and identifying the gaps in support for the worksite employees that might exist. When considering the benefits to implement as we come out of the pandemic, begin with evaluating the culture and environment within your client’s organization so you can help them design a benefits strategy that is tailored to that specific workforce.
The PEO industry has made great strides in recent years in raising public awareness in large part due to NAPEO’s industry marketing efforts. While the future seems bright, it is unfortunate that still many people do not have a clear understanding of what PEOs are all about. Regrettably, many legislators and regulators fall into this category which is why industry advocacy is so very important.
In the early days of the PEO industry, a PEO salesperson only had to submit a census of employee and payroll data, workers’ compensation codes and health plan participation to get a proposal/pricing. There was no underwriting or scrutiny of the prospect’s information, no credit check, no comparisons. Consequently, due to a failure to manage risk, some PEOs went out of business or lost their workers’ compensation insurance or health insurance plans. The PEO industry’s reputation took a hit in some markets.
Just as the pandemic seems to be at a manageable point and you think you can breathe easy for a bit, it’s time for you to gear up for the next wave of workplace troubles. A confluence of several events will likely lead workplaces across the country to face a wave of employment litigation at the end of 2022 and well into 2023. What forces are leading to this inevitable future, what will it look like, and what should PEOs do to prepare?
In upcoming articles in this series, we will cover some of the different types of hacks and hacktivism that are most common today in greater detail. And while each of these different types have specific preventative and reactionary steps that should be taken, there are some measures that are universal regardless of the type of attack and resulting outcome of them.
For example, if it is an email that contains links or attachments that you don’t recognize then don’t click on anything. Deleting the email immediately is the safest option. If you get an email from someone and the wording doesn’t seem consistent with previous interactions, then don’t just take it at face value. Contact the sender in a different email or phone call and confirm what you are seeing is legitimate before you do anything else.
While walking one day, I ran into a neighbor doing yard work. We hadn’t spoken much before, but upon striking up conversation I soon learned of his love of woodworking. His excitement led him to take me on a tour of his basement, where I saw all manner of intricate saws and Depression-era tools, along with beautiful pieces of furniture. The neighbor was giddy as he showed what was clearly one of the great joys in his life.
Similarly, as an actuary, “finding the right number” is one my great joys. Best yet, this topic is applicable to all industries and coverages. So, how does an actuary find the right number?
Stay on the lookout for the slate of nominees and I hope that you will join us for our 2022 Annual Conference & Marketplace, September 12 – 14, in Palm Springs, CA. It’s NAPEO’s largest event of the year and offers great education and networking opportunities that you’ll not find anywhere else. You can register at napeo.org/annualconference.
Greetings from NAPEO Global HQ where we’re still waiting for the summer doldrums to begin. Since our Annual Conference and Marketplace takes place in September, it has forever guaranteed that there will be no summer doldrums here. So much planning goes into the extravaganza, the team is busy all summer. I only have to show up and look beautiful. Easy peasy.
As the Co-Chair of the NAPEO Gives Back Committee, I’m proud to share that Coachella Valley Rescue Mission has been selected as our 2022 NAPEO Gives Back partner.