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For Brokers: Helping Clients Navigate HR Risks

Quick look: No business operates without risk, and managing workplace compliance, health, and safety can be overwhelming. Luckily, with a PEO partnership in their pocket, brokers can step in as trusted advisors and help their clients remain compliant. Here are four ways to safeguard your clients from HR risks while also further proving your value.

One of the biggest risks of operating a new business is not the provided services or products themselves—it’s the employees. The act of employing workers opens business owners to many risks associated with compliant human resources (HR) management. While an entrepreneurial mindset is crucial to getting a business off the ground, many newly minted employers simply don’t have the knowledge (or the time) keep up with compliance, which can result in major violations.

As a broker, you play an important role in helping small- and medium-sized business (SMB) owners navigate the maze that is HR compliance, both upon business launch and during periods of scaling up. In doing so, you solve their immediate needs and establish yourself as a trusted advisor in their business operations.

Here are four ways to help your clients navigate HR risks and increase your value in their eyes.

1. Consider the big picture

Initially, you may be approached by a client to provide health insurance solutions, but you shouldn’t limit your engagement to strictly benefit-related matters. When it comes to HR laws and regulations, many entrepreneurs don’t know what they don’t know. This is where you can help.

Discuss every aspect of your clients’ HR administration and back-end processes. Here are some questions to consider asking:

  • How are you managing payroll?
  • Are you sure your payroll solution is compliant?
  • Are you meeting wage and hour requirements?
  • Are your employees property classified as exempt or non-exempt?
  • Are you paying taxes for employees?
  • Where do your employees reside?
  • Are you sure you are meeting those local and state compliance requirements?

During these discussions, your goal is to uncover your clients’ pain points, then suggest an appropriate solution. You don’t have to be an expert in HR, but helping your clients think about the true scope of it can open their eyes to areas where they may need additional support.

2. Understand your clients’ challenges

As a trusted business advisor, you are uniquely positioned to help your clients solve day-to-day business challenges and set them up for success as their organization grows and evolves. While they may still be focused on the details, you’re better positioned to see the bigger picture.

Knowing what’s in store for their organization in the next six months (and beyond) will enable you to get a head start on solving the HR challenges accompanying any growing business.

  • What is the company’s projected growth plan?
  • Will today’s benefits packages still appeal to new employees in three years?
  • Are there any seasonal or short-term staffing needs on the horizon?
  • Can you achieve greater cost savings on benefits as the company scales up?
  • Are there any plans to open new company offices in different states?
  • Can the recruiting process be streamlined and standardized to surface quality employees even faster?

Knowing the company’s projected plan—even if it’s still a long way off—will prepare you to help your client take a preemptive approach to potential upcoming HR challenges. This proactiveness can prevent challenges from becoming full-blown crises.

3. Keep compliance top of mind

Unfortunately, many business owners don’t realize compliance violations are a major risk for their businesses. They are unaware of the strict and ever-changing HR laws and regulations that govern employers and vary by jurisdiction.

Many small businesses are ill-equipped to manage the complexities of HR completely internally. They might employ an in-house HR or payroll coordinator tasked with the complete scope of HR functions, from onboarding to payroll to benefits administration and beyond. Depending on this person’s level of expertise, they may not be entirely aware of the nuances of HR compliance that affect the area in which their organization operates.

The most common HR compliance risks involve employee classification, minimum wage laws, and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws. However, there are many lesser-known areas for complication, including: recruiting; workplace harassment; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies; and correct navigation of the Affordable Care Act.

During discussions with your clients, investigate these subjects. If this isn’t top of mind for them, these may be areas where you can help strengthen their processes.

4. Offer solutions—and keep asking questions

Continue to ask questions about the challenges currently facing your clients and what the future holds for their organizations. By proactively checking for potential HR compliance pitfalls, you can propose solutions to ensure clients won’t inadvertently open themselves up to avoidable exposure to liability.

For many SMBs, this is where partnering with a certified professional employer organization (PEO) can help. By leaning on a PEO, the business gains access to a full team of HR professionals who are experts in the laws and regulations that apply to their individual organization. Additionally, a PEO’s enterprise-level technologies were developed with compliance as a top consideration and continue to be updated to match changing regulations.

A long-term partner to leverage

One of the best ways to provide more value as a broker is to be an active collaborator, setting your clients up to withstand challenges that are an inevitable part of becoming a growing employer. Doing so demonstrates you are more than a single-solution provider—it shows you are a trusted advisor who can provide insight into and assistance with every aspect of HR.

A PEO, like ExtensisHR, has professionals who are dedicated to navigating HR risks… a potentially priceless service to offer clients. ExtensisHR’s payroll and risk and compliance experts can help clients confirm they comply with:

  • Risk management and workplace safety
  • State unemployment
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Payroll tax processing, compliance, and auditing
  • Employment and recruiting regulations
  • And more

And as a broker-centric PEO, ExtensisHR also keeps a pulse on compliance issues directly related to your business and prioritizes and preserves your client relationships.

Partnering with ExtensisHR to help your clients navigate HR risks can pay off for brokers now and down the road. Ready to get started? Contact our experts today.

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