PEO: the new way to engage your staff

The role of the human resources department in a modern workforce is changing drastically

Traditionally, human resources has been seen as focusing on employment of staff and managing their employment contracts. But the growing number of younger millennial workers entering the workforce, who view salary as only one part of the employment jigsaw puzzle, coupled with the changing dynamics of the working population, is reshaping what is expected from both human resources and the wider organisation.

“Millennials are looking for more than just a good salary. They want to work for businesses that truly embrace social responsibility and they’re looking for more defined benefits. The pension aspect of employment is also becoming much more of an intrinsic expectation of the individual worker, who wants instant detailed access to their pension pot,” says David McCormack, chief executive of Hive360, a leading employee engagement firm.

As a direct consequence, firms must be proactively looking after both the current and future needs and expectations of staff, including their mental and physical health, and their financial wellbeing. Failure to do so can lead to employees not performing at their peak and becoming unmotivated or disengaged. Such employees often don’t leave their jobs immediately and can negatively impact other productive staff.

“The phrase ‘one bad apple ruins the whole bunch’ is very apt when it comes to unhappy staff who are not engaged in their job in the way they should be. They can often start to breed discontent within the entire workforce,” says Mr McCormack.

With the average cost of replacing an employee sitting at just under £14,000 at the lower end and rising to as much as £50,000 for senior leadership, it’s clear the bottom line of an enterprise is at risk from discontented staff. It’s not just the cost of recruiting a new member of staff, and maybe paying a recruitment fee, that adds to this total, but the cost of lost productivity can also be significant.

The PEO, or professional employment organisation, model allows businesses to outsource their employment tasks to a corporate co-operative that uses its bulk buying power

If a business is able to help employees who are facing challenges by giving them access to a solution that is going to assist them cope with stresses, and support a healthier lifestyle, then hopefully this will reflect in the success of the wider business.

“Somebody who has been in a job for a year is going to be far more efficient than someone who is only taking on the job today. So the knock-on impacts are quite considerable in financial terms, too,” adds Mr McCormack.

An innovative new form of employment administration support is being pioneered by Hive360. The PEO, or professional employment organisation, model allows businesses to outsource their employment tasks to a corporate co-operative that uses its bulk buying power to create access to a range of employment engagement and welfare support services at a massively reduced cost.

This organisational model was started in the United States and has been in use for more than 30 years, but it’s only just starting to gain traction in the UK. While there are more than 900 PEOs in operation in America, there’s only a few in the UK at the moment. Hive360 is at the forefront of this revolution. “We’re starting to see many businesses quickly understanding the benefits of this form of employment structure and realising there is a strong business case behind it,” says Mr McCormack.

In an increasingly competitive hiring environment, companies need to be able to offer the most attractive proposition to jobseekers to be seen as the employer of choice. Smaller businesses usually lack the economies of scale required to offer the same level of employee benefits that large corporations can.

“Job seekers are attracted to the glow of that bigger company and the support mechanism which goes with that job. The PEO model links a wide range of employers together for bulk purchasing power and, ultimately, tries to level the playing field in terms of employment. So those smaller employers aren’t just losing all the best talent to the big guys, they’re finally able to compete,” says Mr McCormack.

Businesses can gain massively by partnering with a PEO provider that has more expertise in aspects of employment compliance and employment support. As far as employees are concerned, what they see is an improved level of care and support, as they’re given access to various benefits, from online doctors and mental health counsellors, to money-saving discounts and financial planning tools.

Making the switch to a PEO model can be an uncomplicated project, as long as the right partner is sought. The Hive360 migration process is far from convoluted with support being offered at every stage of the journey.

“Once we’ve agreed that the process is about to happen, we have a team that guides and supports clients through a detailed onboarding process, to bring them under the Hive360 banner. Within that process, we engage with their own staff to ensure that everybody understands what is being done and how they can gain access to their benefits,” says Mr McCormack.

The whole transition process can be as short or as long as a client prefers. But the typical changeover process will take around four to six weeks, from implementation to delivery.

The employee benefits portal offered by Hive360 is web based, enabling users to login via mobiles, laptops or even their TVs and provides access to a range of services, including counselling services and a discount portal, as well as core elements such as digital pay slips and pension performance information.

“It’s all about using technology to make things simple. We are trying to put everything in the palm of the hand of the worker, so they can easily access all their welfare support and benefits at the click of a button on their phone,” says Mr McCormack.

The Hive360 solution is designed to become a vital part of an overall employee engagement strategy and empowers firms to go much further in how they enable employees to be happy and productive at work.

“What we are is a stepping stone to help a client to start that journey. And as we grow, we will add more services and offerings, which hopefully will then help the client improve their engagement process even further,” Mr McCormack concludes.

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