Recent events have made many businesses realize the true value of professional employer organizations (PEOs). Although sometimes taken for granted, the breadth of HR and compliance services afforded through PEO solutions have proven they can help employers overcome turbulent times.

PEO as business partner

Historically, business owners sought a PEO to alleviate payroll and other administrative tasks. But the rise of social media and a 24/7 news cycle has put employers under greater public scrutiny, causing them to look to their co-employment partners for assistance with more than just HR.

PEOs are answering the call and helping their clients develop new business strategies, support diversity and inclusion initiatives and mitigate the workplace effects of COVID-19. The expectation to address workplace issues head on has never been higher, but when employers work with a partner who knows their challenges, they’re often better able to focus on other crucial elements of the business.

Relying on PEO solutions for help with regulatory compliance

As business partners, PEOs are instrumental in helping employers comply with new legislation and regulatory changes. When the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed, for example, PEOs helped their clients with the reporting needed to apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and guided them through the loan forgiveness process.

COVID-19 also made it challenging for businesses that didn’t have HR expertise to keep up with the fast-moving workplace regulations issued by federal and state governments. Those in co-employment arrangements, however, were able to rely on their PEO for help maintaining compliance, as well as guidance on how to take care of their people.

PEO solutions for work-from-home challenges

Of all the workplace response measures to COVID-19, perhaps the most challenging for some businesses, especially those that didn’t already have telecommuting options, were work-from-home policies. Businesses that had a PEO to help them implement workplace best practices were able to adapt more quickly and keep employees engaged and productive while at home. Some businesses even utilized this workplace shift as an opportunity to test the limits of their technology and improve their internal communications strategies.

Traditional PEO solutions are valuable

Despite the expanded role of PEOs as business partners, small and midsized businesses still value the traditional co-employment solutions that help them level the playing field with larger organizations. One of these is access to competitive health insurance rates. By working with a PEO, small businesses are typically able to meet employee demand for high-quality benefits, while also lowering their costs.

The larger benefits picture wouldn’t be complete, however, without technology, which PEOs use to make enrollment and administration simpler. They also offer high-tech solutions for other aspects of HR, including applicant tracking and onboarding.

Engaging top talent with a PEO solution

Another traditional PEO service that remains a critical component of success is recruitment and as businesses recover, it will become even more important. PEOs can help small and midsized businesses compete against larger organizations for the best and brightest by improving their workplace culture. The high-quality benefits packages and employee training programs that often come with co-employment go a long way in attracting applicants, as well.

PEO solutions continue to evolve

New skillsets and deepened relationships between PEOs and their clients are here to stay. As laws change or the workplace shifts, businesses will rely on their co-employment partner to meet the next challenge. PEOs, to their credit, have shown they’re capable of pivoting when circumstances call for it, regardless of how their clients or the world around them changes.