It’s not uncommon for a PEO to feel almost invisible in the marketplace in some areas of the country. But then again, in other areas, it seems like you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a PEO. This is a pretty strange predicament for an industry that has been around for more than 30 years, and it makes for some interesting challenges.
This past December, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) took a number of steps that will have a major impact on NAPEO members and primary employers at large. Chief among them was a decision that now protects an employee’s right to use employer email systems for non-business purposes during non-working time, along with the implementation of an expedited election rule that will soon require disclosure of personal email addresses.
Since the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), claims against employers for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have increased in an unsettling fashion.
A couple of years ago, I received a call from a CEO needing closing training for her sales team. Following a discussion about the PEO’s discovery and sales process, we set two follow-up calls where members of her sales team role-played a closing proposal meeting.
In the spring of 2012, industry leaders gathered and agreed upon a handful of key goals for the PEO industry. One of those goals was the passage of the Small Business Efficiency Act (SBEA) to provide federal certainty to our industry. The other goal was to increase the awareness of the industry among the business community, regulators and lawmakers, and the media. Of these two important goals, we knew the passage of the SBEA could be a long and daunting task, given the years dedicated and the slow progress made, but nonetheless critical to the industry. We also agreed that increasing awareness was just as critical, as it would provide additional footing for our growing industry.
I’ve always said that the best part of my job—indeed my favorite part—is the opportunity to go out and visit members. It’s always great to see them in their natural habitats and hear what’s on their minds. I’m also gratified to see how many members proudly display their NAPEO member certificates in their lobbies or reception areas. I can assure you, PEO owners and executives are never shy about expressing their views. Everyone is always so welcoming, happy to introduce you around the office, and eager to talk about their companies and the industry. There’s simply no substitute for it.
For the past 15-plus years, many of us in the NAPEO family have been talking about, supporting, and working to pass the Small Business Efficiency Act (SBEA) with our congressional champions in Washington. As we are all now aware, the NAPEO-supported SBEA was finally passed by the 113th Congress and signed into law by President Obama on December 19, 2014.
NAPEO’s state legislative plan for 2015 calls for NAPEO staff to engage in a proactive and aggressive strategy that will continue NAPEO’s focus on creating operational certainty for PEOs in the states. Specifically, the 2015 plan calls for NAPEO to undertake active lobbying efforts in 13 states (California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah), while monitoring legislative and regulatory activity in most other states. To pull all of this off, NAPEO will require a concerted and collective effort and, as with any successful game plan, NAPEO will have to get off to a good start to achieve success.
The so-called “ban-the-box” movement is on the march. The objective, which has been pushed by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) among other groups, is to prevent prospective employers from failing to consider job applicants solely because of a criminal background—NELP and advocates have argued this gives applicants a “fair chance” to be judged first on their qualifications.
This new column, “PEOs in the Community,” explores how PEOs are developing and nurturing relationships in their communities. Being embedded in the small business world, PEOs are uniquely positioned to lend their time and expertise to serving their communities, while at the same time enhancing industry visibility. This month, Nylen Lee Allphin of The Employer Advantage relays his PEO’s experience with community service and the reasons behind it.
Despite the spate of economic releases indicating a general slow-down in the economy, the labor markets continue to demonstrate considerable strength. For the first time in several years there seems to be a general correlation of the PEO Employment Index with unemployment data and GDP data. This indicates continued strength for the index. There is some deterioration regionally in the central U.S., primarily a reflection of the weakness in oil prices and energy in general. Apart from this regional weakness, the general environment for PEOs remains very positive, indicating continued growth.
Last fall, Sageworks, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based financial information company, released its list of the 10 fastest growing small business industries. The list highlights double-digit growth sectors in the last year for companies with annual sales below $5 million. The top 10 industries are:
In 1987, Andy Lubash founded Financial Management Associates, Ltd., an employee benefits consulting agency that worked with businesses of all sizes and became fairly successful. In the mid- to late-1990s, Alan Cooperberg came on board as his partner.
At the outset of the new year, our economy showed some encouraging signs of life. Now we need to build momentum for long-term growth. Our leaders have the opportunity to restore a governing center and rally around a common bipartisan cause—stronger and deeper economic growth in order to create jobs and expand opportunities for all Americans.