Employers all across America are faced with having to deal with compliance issues related to hiring, managing and terminating employees. Outsourcing the Payroll, HR Administration and Benefit Administration to a trusted provider is the best way for your organization to create efficiencies, streamline your employee data management, and ensure that the business is in compliance with filing and notice deadlines. But how do you choose which payroll provider offers the best solution?
Aside from offering the basics of calculating payroll and tax obligations, printing and delivering checks, depositing and reporting the taxes to the proper agencies and assuming the penalties when in error, the key component a payroll firm should be evaluated on is customer service.
Unlike other business services, you will constantly be relying on your payroll provider for deadline sensitive responses to your support issues. In many cases a national provider with a local processing office is ideal, mainly due to the fact that payroll emergencies or corrections that need to be made can be remedied quickly and within the same time zone. Identifying the key factors that provide this information can be subjective but measured.
First factor to identify is the eagerness of existing clients to provide references and in many cases you can identify this in their responses. Obviously a reference should not provide a bad referral, but it can provide some insight into the type of relationship they have with the
The retention of the payroll firms’ clients is a measurable metric that should be easily shared. In essence, determining their client loyalty is a direct reflection on their commitment to high levels of service.
Another important factor to consider is how the providers’ services align with your business needs and goals. For new business, growing companies and established firms, there are a myriad of considerations faced when it comes to management of employee related items. For example, a new business may want to utilize a payroll firm just to handle the employee checks and tax filing and remove that headache.
Over time though, as the business changes and grows, employee satisfaction and retention becomes critical. Employers find that they will need to offer benefits to retain employees and should begin to formalize their policies to provide their staff with clear communication and direction. Many employers pull together multiple vendor relationships to address this and ultimately find that managing this can be cumbersome. By the time they are established firms, and sometimes before this happens, the need to streamline these in order to create efficiencies and meet the goals of the company becomes imperative.
Ensuring that the firm you choose is able to provide services to small, medium and large business and that the firm is not niche specific is critical to making sure that you always have a partner that is able to provide you with what your business needs.
And finally, an equally important item to consider when choosing the provider is trust. It is critical that you identify and choose a stable provider. They should be able to provide you with a proven track record or history of business and produce verifiable documentation on their security protocols and procedures. If they don’t have either of these, then don’t do business with them.
A last item of note – when comparing providers don’t be easily fooled by free promotions and gimmicky discounts or waived implementation fees. Often, within 6 months the rates will go up or charges will be added and you will end up paying more than the comparable firms. Just pick the best firm for your business and long term strategies, and ultimately you will save time and money, which is the whole purpose of outsourcing.