Interview: NAPEO's 2013 Chairman of the Board
Dale Hageman is Passionate About PEO
You started your PEO in 1992 and joined NAPEO in 1996. How did your PEO get its start, how did you learn about NAPEO, and why did you join?
I was the CFO of a large commercial real estate company which was looking to diversify. I found that many aspects of property management emulated what PEOs do—providing staff to third-party owned properties, along with all the HR, payroll, employee benefits, workers’ compensation and risk management expertise, and services. This service was really unheard of in Oklahoma, and it seemed like a great opportunity with outstanding potential for growth and market expansion. In the course of my research, I attended a series of symposiums on alternative staffing hosted at Oklahoma City University and sponsored by a Texas employee leasing company. My exposure to NAPEO was a result of my search for all the information and knowledge I could possibly gain regarding co-employment.
How and why did you choose the name Accord?
The Accord name conveys our belief that the value of the PEO offering relies on three key parties working in accord with one another—the client, the co-employees, and the PEO. Our logo also represents this sentiment, with the Accord triangle representing those three parties as one cohesive unit. If any one of these pieces of the triangle is not working in harmony with the others, the PEO ceases to make sense for anyone, so it is this passionate pursuit of working in accord with our clients and co-employees which led us to the name. Of course, choosing a name that started with an "A" and a second letter early in the alphabet also gave us prime placement in phone directories, sponsorships, and other company lists—something we saw as a definite perk of the name.
Accord started up in 1992 with four employees. In 1995, it expanded into Florida. Accord experienced exceptional growth and now has nine offices across the country. How did you drive this growth and subsequently manage it? What stages did the company go through?
We established and continued our growth by setting goals for ourselves and the business. Our first BHAG (Readers will remember the concept of "big hairy audacious goal," from the feature in the December 2010/January 2011 issue of PEO Insider®) was to reach 5,000 worksite employees. Through a dedicated PR initiative locally, we were able to establish strong market share in Oklahoma City. Our national growth—related to both location and associated worksite employee growth—was a product of our exceptional team. In our early years, our sales team possessed nationwide contacts, and we based the placement of our expanding workforce to support those clients based upon where the support was most needed. In each market we entered, we established a good brand and reputation. The value of our reputation, along with our experienced sales staff, allowed us to grow and thrive in these major markets.
Dale Hageman, President, Accord Human Resources, Inc., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Bachelor of Science, Accounting
NAPEO Activities/Leadership Positions:
Board of Directors:
- Vice Chair—2012
- Board of Directors Member—2009
- Oklahoma Leadership Council Chair—2005-2012
- Board Operations Committee—2012
- Healthcare Task Force Chair—2010
- Inc. 500/5000 winner, five times
- Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Metro 50 winner, 10 times
- Leadership Oklahoma City
- Oklahoma Venture Forum
- The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools
- Allied Arts Oklahoma City
- Oklahoma Business Roundtable
- The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
What influenced your company's culture/philosophy? Has it changed as the industry has developed?
Accord's executive leadership has always operated under the belief that if you take care of your people and deliver a service model they can passionately believe in, they will go above and beyond every day to take care of our clients. Of course, part of that culture includes an expectation of the highest degree of professionalism and integrity from every member of the Accord team. From day one, every employee is exposed to Accord's extraordinary passion for personalized customer service. This passion is contagious, and it is incredibly rewarding to work for a company where the employees in every department and at every level truly do have the clients' best interests at heart. I believe this rare mix of belief in the company and passion for serving the clients is the reason you'll find at Accord a level of staff longevity that is almost unheard of in this day and age.
How did you first become involved in a NAPEO leadership role?
I became involved in state government affairs in Oklahoma when the independent insurance agents approached the insurance commission about passing a "Louisiana-like" PEO regulation bill in Oklahoma. Bill Schilling, Dell Wood, a local law firm, and I drafted the bill that would then become NAPEO's model PEO bill.
What will your focus be as 2013 NAPEO chair? What are your goals?
My primary goal as 2013 NAPEO chairman will be to advance our strategic plan: increase awareness of the PEO value proposition, build PEO market share, and improve the regulatory environment for PEOs. To that end, I will focus on protecting the PEO's right to sponsor health plans and further create opportunities for PEOs to grow and flourish in a post-ACA business environment. I invite you to read my column on page 3 for a more detailed explanation of my vision for the upcoming year and the challenges and opportunities I expect us to encounter both as PEOs and as an industry.
What is your vision going forward of NAPEO and of the industry?
As I'm sure is true of any one of you who are passionate about PEO, my vision for the industry would be that all small to medium-sized businesses would view using PEO services as essential to their survival, their success, and their growth. PEOs and NAPEO share the responsibility for realizing this ideal tomorrow, which I believe can be achieved through high professional standards and ethics, development of PEO-friendly regulations and laws, the pursuit of a favorable perception of the industry and its members by regulators, carriers, employers, and employees, and the education of these individuals on the concept and value of a PEO.
At NAPEO meetings, you are usually walking around with a contented smile on your face. Is that how you are all the time, or just at NAPEO events?
I asked my staff for their response to this question, and one of their responses is as follows: "Dale is indeed like that all the time. I believe this outward appearance is a reflection of the satisfaction he derives from what he does for a living. PEO isn't just a job for Dale. It is his passion, and that passion is evident to anyone who hears him speak about Accord or the industry," said Marketing and Communications Manager Cara Sharp.
A March 2010 feature in PEO Insider® revealed that you paid your college tuition by working your family’s concession trailer at summer state fairs. What did that experience teach you that you still rely on today?
That experience taught me that with creativity, a great product or service, a talented and loyal team, and a lot of hard work, you can provide something meaningful, make a good living, and enjoy success.