What is a PEO? PEO Pros and Cons for Employers

August 25, 2023

What is a PEO?

In the fast-paced modern business world, it can be challenging for small to medium-sized companies to handle all aspects of human resources on their own. This is where a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) comes in. A PEO is a valuable resource that can help businesses streamline their HR functions, manage employees, and provide various services, giving companies more time to focus on their core operations. In this article, we will delve deeper into what exactly a PEO is and explore the pros and cons of using one.

What are the benefits of having a PEO?

A PEO is essentially an organization that provides comprehensive HR solutions to businesses. They become a co-employer, taking care of various HR responsibilities such as payroll administration, employee benefits management, workers’ compensation insurance, and compliance with labor laws. This strategic partnership between the business and the PEO allows both parties to share certain employer responsibilities while also giving the business access to a wide range of HR expertise and resources.

One of the main advantages of using a PEO is cost savings. By pooling together multiple businesses, the PEO can negotiate better rates for employee benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and even workers’ compensation insurance. This allows small businesses to offer competitive benefits packages that they might not otherwise be able to afford on their own. Additionally, the PEO handles payroll processing, ensuring accuracy and timeliness. This eliminates the need to hire an in-house payroll specialist or outsource payroll services separately, which can save both time and money.

Another major benefit of partnering with a PEO is risk mitigation and compliance support. Employment laws and regulations are constantly evolving, posing a challenge for businesses to stay up-to-date and compliant. The PEO’s knowledgeable staff can assist with managing compliance-related tasks such as drafting employment contracts, creating policies and procedures manuals, and ensuring proper recordkeeping. They also provide guidance on best practices for recruitment, training, and performance management. This support reduces the risk of legal disputes and penalties associated with non-compliance.

Moreover, a PEO can alleviate administrative burdens. The human resources function is a complex and time-consuming aspect of running a business. By outsourcing HR responsibilities to a PEO, companies can focus on their core competencies and objectives. The PEO takes care of functions such as employee onboarding, handling benefits enrollment, managing unemployment claims, and more. This allows business owners and managers to allocate their time toward strategic initiatives and growing the company.

What are the disadvantages of a PEO?

However, like any business decision, using a PEO does have its drawbacks. One potential con is the loss of some control over HR processes. Since the PEO becomes a co-employer, they are responsible for certain HR functions, including hiring, firing, and disciplinary actions. While businesses retain control over day-to-day operations, having an external entity involved in these critical decisions might not align with every organization’s culture or management approach.

Another downside to using a PEO is the potential for limited customization. PEOs often offer standardized solutions that may not fully accommodate unique business needs or industry-specific requirements. This can pose challenges for companies that require more specialized HR services or have specific compliance needs. It is important for businesses considering a PEO to thoroughly evaluate their specific requirements to ensure the selected provider is capable of meeting them effectively.

Furthermore, there may be an initial adjustment period when partnering with a PEO. Integrating HR systems and processes between the business and the PEO can take time and effort. However, once this transition phase is complete, it usually results in increased efficiency and ease of operations.

PEO vs ASO: What should you choose?

A company may choose to opt for an Administrative Services Organization (ASO) as an alternative to a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) for several reasons.

First and foremost, an ASO offers flexibility and control over HR functions. Unlike a PEO, where the employer shares certain responsibilities and liabilities with the PEO, an ASO allows the company to maintain complete ownership and control over its HR processes. This can be particularly appealing to businesses that want to have a hands-on approach to their HR functions and decision-making.

Additionally, some companies prefer the ability to customize their HR services, which an ASO typically allows. With an ASO, businesses can select specific HR services that meet their needs and only pay for those services. This gives them more flexibility in tailoring HR support compared to a PEO, whose services are often bundled as part of a comprehensive package.

Another factor to consider is cost. While the cost structure can vary depending on the provider, ASOs generally tend to be more cost-effective than PEOs. This is primarily because companies only pay for the specific HR services they require, rather than a comprehensive package of services.

Furthermore, companies that already have internal HR expertise may find less value in partnering with a PEO that provides extensive HR support. In such cases, an ASO can offer the necessary administrative support without overshadowing or duplicating existing internal capabilities.

Ultimately, whether a company should opt for a PEO or an ASO depends on its specific needs, priorities, and resources. Conducting a thorough analysis of these factors is crucial in making an informed decision that best aligns with the company’s goals and requirements.

PEOs and ASOs offer numerous benefits for small to medium-sized businesses seeking assistance with their HR functions. These advantages include cost savings through shared purchasing power, risk mitigation through compliance support, and reduced administrative burdens. However, potential downsides to using a PEO include a loss of control over HR processes and limitations on customization. By carefully considering the pros and cons, businesses can make an informed decision about whether collaborating with a PEO or ASO is the right choice for their individual needs and circumstances.

share this blog


Sign up for our newsletter for the latest Tesseon information.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Related Blogs

What our clients are saying about us

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog page is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. It is advisable to seek professional legal counsel before taking any action based on the content of this page. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided, and we will not be liable for any losses or damages arising from its use. Any reliance on the information provided is solely at your own risk. Consult a qualified attorney for personalized legal advice.

Scroll to Top