Use Your Networks to Find Great PEO Advice

There isn’t a business owner anywhere who doesn’t want HR and payroll to be streamlined, error-free, and inexpensive. Any manager who cares about his or her employees wants them to have solid healthcare benefits at a fair price and a smooth process with any workers’ compensation issues. None of these are tough sells when it comes to considering partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO) who can handle those things for you.


If you were thinking about getting a new item for your home -- let’s say a new grill -- how would you go about it? Maybe you’d go to a few big stores and check out prices, quality, and features to get a rough sense of your options (and maybe you’d make a purchase right there). You’d probably look online to read customer reviews to find out which models were hidden gems and which were lemons. But you’d definitely ask friends and family who know something about grills to tell you what they think.


… and that’s exactly what you should do when it comes to deciding whether a PEO is a fit for your business.


How Do Other Owners Do It?


It’s as simple as this: ask around. You probably already have a robust circle of fellow business owners or executives, but if you don’t, now is a fantastic time to start building it. Offer to take another owner out to lunch or for a few drinks after work so you can pick their brain about what’s working for them when it comes to HR, payroll, and benefits. People love to be the expert, so it shouldn’t be very difficult to wrangle several useful conversations.


It doesn’t really matter what sector you’re in or whether that’s different than what they do. When it comes to management, most companies face the basic problems. There’s no sense in re-inventing the wheel when you can learn from others’ experience.  


Get Involved in the Business Community


Whether you’re in a small town or a big city, you’ll have several options for business groups that can lead you to insight on PEOs and employee administration. From chambers of commerce to regional and industry-specific organizations, you’ll encounter a range of business owners who can share their experiences and offer free advice. Sometimes there’s a small membership fee, but the important thing is that you just show up.


These organizations offer tremendous value -- and they tend to have famously low participation rates. That means you’ll have access to willing advisors just by making an effort to get to their events and introduce yourself. They frequently offer both mixers and small events that address general topics in business and management, so you’ll likely find several excellent opportunities to talk with owners who have experience working with PEOs.


Make the Most of the Internet


Years ago, internet forums and communities were something like the Wild West -- you couldn’t necessarily trust the information you read or even verify the identity of the person saying it. Times have changed, though, and that has serious implications for getting valuable advice on making the most out of working with a PEO.


With resources like LinkedIn, you can know exactly who you’re talking to or reading material from and whether they’re an authority you can trust. Reach out, offer a compliment, and ask questions. Not only will you get excellent information that will help you find a PEO that’s perfect for you, but you’ll also be making business connections along the way. And once you’ve started using a PEO yourself, you’ll become the expert.

Rodney Steele