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HR Knowledge, Inc. was established when outsourcing pioneers Jeffrey C. Garr, Ken Bettenhauser, and Dan Hughes merged their respective businesses to form a single entity that combined their expertise in customer service, HR benefits, and finance. The partnership resulted in the launch of HR Knowledge, a business process outsourcing firm that provides clients with integrated, best-in-class HR services at an affordable cost.
HR Knowledge, Inc. serves emerging to mid-sized companies throughout the northeast. The company has particular expertise working with venture-backed start-ups, non-profits, independent, private and charter schools, colleges and universities, and mid-sized enterprises.
Supported by high-touch customer service, HR Knowledge combines the following capabilities under one roof: human resources, such as compliance, training and risk management; group benefits; payroll processing; and financial services, such as 401(k) plans and individual life insurance policies.
Today, the company services about 200 accounts, of which, about 160 use them for their entire suite of services.
MO: Can you talk about some of the way that you help organizations minimize operational risks, reduce administrative costs and better serve their people?
Jeffrey: HR Knowledge primarily serves clients that have limited or no internal resources to address the vast array of complex HR issues. Managing administrative functions such as HR and payroll is time-consuming, inefficient and costly, particularly for a small business or non-profit that may have limited in-house staff and resources. Even those companies that have staff to manage these functions in-house are utilizing separate payroll vendors and benefits brokers, which is still inefficient. By outsourcing to HR Knowledge, clients save time and money and their operations run more smoothly.
Our model differs from a PEO (professional employer organization) — which also acts as a single-source provider of integrated services — in a key way: PEOs essentially become a co-employer of their clients’ company. HR Knowledge, on the other hand, does not become the employer of record; it provides a consulting arrangement whereby its clients receive their benefits under their own company name. In addition, our service fees are a fraction of what a PEO can cost yet we provide the same sorts of services.
Ultimately, the value that we bring is the integration. We’re not just offering payroll or HR consulting or benefits brokerage. We’re really bringing it all together as a one-stop shop for the client. We support this integrated model using best-in-breed technologies. For example, we partner with ADP for payroll processing, as well as for utilizing its technology infrastructure. When businesses outsource these administrative tasks to us, they can stay focused on growing their own bottom line.
MO: Can you talk about the process of developing your signature “concierge-level client service,” which has helped position the company as a leading provider of outsourced HR?
Jeffrey: Our signature “concierge-level client service” is an important demarcation of our company, and has helped position the company as a leading provider of outsourced HR.
Our commitment is to provide outstanding value to our clients. We make every effort to ensure that all of our client experiences are positive with the goal of creating “raving fans.” We have a dedicated and cohesive team that is committed to accomplishing these goals. We endeavor to:
• Deliver our services professionally and cost-effectively with a guarantee of uncompromising quality and value.
• Cultivate long-term relationships with our clients, which helps to inspire referrals and new opportunities for all parties.
• Become a value-added service provider as well as a trusted advisor.
• Always act with integrity and treat clients and others with respect and good humor.
• Uphold and strive to exceed the highest standards of business ethics.
MO: What are some of the most common mistakes you see clients making when it comes to HR and how can they be avoided?
Jeffrey: One of the most common mistakes that companies make is to assume they have their HR issues under control. If you’ve been in business for 20 years and have never had an HR problem, it may mean that you are lucky, not operationally sound. So many companies are truly ignorant as to their legal exposures and may not be fully compliant with state and federal regulations. They are vulnerable because they don’t have up-to-date HR processes and procedures in place.
Another mistake clients can make is to try and manage their HR and payroll in-house when they don’t have a dedicated or qualified staff. This approach is simply impractical and doesn’t provide the same value that outsourced HR offers.
MO: What’s the difference between integrated HR vs. traditional HR?
Jeffrey: The traditional way of outsourcing HR is to hire an HR consultant who visits your office on a preset schedule, and that vendor tries to manage all the HR issues for the company. The reality is that often the consultant is not immersed in your business and is merely skimming the surface of what needs to be accomplished in order to run a fully leveraged HR department.
By contrast, the integrated model ties everything together under one roof: human resources, such as compliance, training and risk management; group benefits; payroll processing; and financial services, such as 401(k) plans and individual life insurance policies. The payroll solution is the driving force behind everything, and the integration enables the HR function to be managed efficiently end-to-end.
MO: Congratulations on celebrating your 10th year in business. When you reflect upon the last decade, what milestones and memories first come to mind?
Jeffrey: Reaching 10 years is a great milestone for us and our clients. Since we founded HR Knowledge, the outsourcing industry has evolved significantly, and we’ve been fortunate to remain at the forefront.
We grew our company from the ground up. We bootstrapped this business — with no outside funding. It was both a challenge and an adventure. Over the years, we’ve become better business owners. We’re wiser and smarter with the business decisions we make. But, the company isn’t willing to sacrifice service for growth. We believe it’s imperative to constantly evaluate our processes, procedures and technology in order to maximize our effectiveness to clients. And, I’d like to think this has been a successful plan. Many of our clients have remained loyal partners with us for a full decade.
MO: What are some of the advantages of HR outsourcing for start-ups?
Jeffrey: Start-ups derive a significant value from HR outsourcing. These companies typically have limited or no resources to allocate for HR functions. By outsourcing to HR Knowledge, start-ups save valuable time and money, so they can focus on driving revenue and growing their business.
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