The Best HR Outsourcing Services of 2020

By
Simone R. Johnson
,
business.com staff
| Updated
Jun 17, 2020

Which is the best HR outsourcing service for your company in 2020? Easily compare several top-rated services with our comprehensive reviews.
Small Businesses
Scalable HR outsourcing plans
Custom dashboards
Advanced help center
Benefits Administration
Premium service and support
Custom contract terms
Plans tailored to your industry
Employee Development
Custom HR outsourcing plans
Safety, skills and HR training
In-person and web-based training
Which is the best HR outsourcing service for your company in 2020? Easily compare several top-rated services with our comprehensive reviews.
Updated 06/17/20

We've updated this page to include details about the expansion of ADP TotalSource.

 

Human resources are a critical component of businesses. It comprises recruiting, onboarding, managing health benefits, and providing safe and respectful office space for employees. For small businesses, however, creating and sustaining a human resources department can be challenging because of budget or resource limitations. 

The solution for many companies with these constraints has been to use human resource outsourcing (HRO) services. HROs cut the costs of hiring a full-time HR staff while managing recruiting, hiring, training, payroll and benefits administration. To help you choose the services that's right for your business, we analyzed 30 HROs. Explore our recommendations for HRO firms below.

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How We Decided
Our team spends weeks evaluating dozens of business solutions to identify the best options. To stay current, our research is regularly updated.
30
Considered
11
Researched
3
Selected

Compare Our Best Picks

  Paychex ADP TotalSource G&A Partners
Employee minimum 1 1 1
Employee training Virtual Virtual and onsite Virtual and onsite
Mobile app Yes Yes No
Live chat Yes No No
Customer support A dedicated HR professional A dedicated team of experts and a payroll specialist A client advocate and a large team of certified HR specialists

Our Reviews

Paychex: Best HRO for Small Businesses

Paychex offers tailored, contextual learning opportunities with the Help Center.
Paychex proactively monitors employment laws and regulations to help you stay compliant.
Customizing Paychex reports can be a tricky process to navigate.
 

Paychex provides businesses with comprehensive PEO features, including risk management, payroll, employee benefits, HR administration, and numerous onsite and virtual training solutions. This nationwide company represents thousands of employees and businesses of all sizes, so you'll be joining a provider that is equipped to handle your organization. It also assigns you an HR generalist who remains your point person as your business grows and a mobile application so you can access your services on the go. Plans are scalable as your company grows. Paychex is certified by the IRS and accredited by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC) and the Better Business Bureau, with an A+ BBB rating. For these reasons, Paychex earns our pick for best PEO service for midsize businesses. 

 

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ADP TotalSource: Best Benefits Administrator

ADP is a national company that has major bargaining power with healthcare companies.
It has intuitive and simple dashboards where you can view and modify your benefits.
ADP does not list its HRO pricing online, so you must contact a representative for a quote.

Small businesses that partner with ADP TotalSource get top-of-the-line human resource services including payroll, compliance, risk management, employee benefits, training and development and great customer support. ADP provides personalized PEO services throughout all 50 states, and even offers international client service through their partnership with Globalization Partners. In addition to its fantastic customer service, ADP's benefits offering is ideal for any small business seeking outsourced HR services. Thanks to its impressive offering, ADP is a double winner, earning our best pick for customer service in our PEO category and for benefits in our human resources outsourcing (HRO) category. ADP is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, earning an A+ with the rating agency. It is also certified by the IRS and accredited by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation. 

 

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G&A Partners: Best HR Outsourcing Service for Employee Development

G&A Partners offers in-person and online training as well as performance-boosting guidance.
G&A specializes in franchise services, healthcare, manufacturing, nonprofits and professional services.
It does not have a mobile app for on-the-go HR management.

G&A Partners offers comprehensive human resource services, modern payroll technology, competitive employee benefits, workplace safety measures, and risk and compliance management, but its impressive training programs and technology are what make it the PEO we recommend for employee development. G&A Partners is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau and the Employer Services Assurance Corporation.

G&A Partners Pricing and Terms

G&A has a flexible pricing and services model. You can add and remove HR services to meet your needs. Like most PEOs, G&A requires businesses to enroll in its payroll offering to access the rest of its services. This is a standard practice that roots your business in the co-employment model. 

It is recommended that you have a team of at least five employees before working with G&A, and a flat rate is charged on a per-employee basis. This is an ideal pricing model, because you don't have to pay fees as a percentage of your total payroll (which fluctuates as you give employees raises or hire more people). The company does not list pricing on its website, so you will have to contact a representative for a customized quote. 

G&A doesn't require long-term contracts. Instead of locking your business in for a year or longer, G&A provides its services on an ongoing basis. You can cancel services at any time with a 30-day advance notice. 

G&A Partners HR Outsourcing Services

If you don't want to sign up for G&A's PEO services, you may want to consider its ASO services for HR outsourcing. This model mirrors a PEO service but without the co-employment contract model. The contract structure will be different, so make sure you work closely with your G&A representative to find the right service type for your business. You should be able to scale services to your needs. 

These are some of the outsourced HR services G&A offers: 

HR Support

G&A Partners will work with your company to develop and implement HR policies and procedures, conduct HR audits, assist with documenting employee discipline measures, provide employee termination support, provide performance management and training guidance, and assist with unemployment insurance claims administration.

Recruitment

This PEO will help you with creating and reviewing job descriptions and postings, resume screening and conducting prehire job assessments.

HR Technology

G&A Partners provides assistance with applicant tracking, new hire onboarding, benefits enrollment, payroll processing, e-learning and performance management.

Workplace Safety

G&A can help you create safety manuals, conduct onsite safety and accident prevention training and investigations, as well as provide resources so you comply with OSHA requirements, and assist with workers' compensation coverage and claims administration. 

Your small business can start with G&A's HR outsourcing services and then transition to its PEO as your business grows. One standout aspect of G&A Partners' HRO offering is its employee development programs. In addition to great employee training programs, G&A Partners can provide performance management assistance for workers who have fallen behind. 

G&A Partners PEO Features

G&A offers small businesses a number of convenient, helpful services. Its HR services provide everything you need to manage your employees and hire new ones. It offers all the standard health plans, and its payroll software can track employee hours and complies with state and federal tax requirements. Its PEO features include 

HR Services

G&A can handle all of your HR needs. Noteworthy services include development and implementation of HR policies and procedures. Most PEOs offer this, but if you're a small business with a nonexistent HR department, G&A can help you start from scratch. It also provides HR audits and investigation, employee discipline and termination support, performance management and training, and unemployment insurance, and claims administration. These are standard HR services, but G&A goes further by also providing recruiting services, such as job sourcing, screening, job assessments, job description review and creation, applicant tracking, new-hire onboarding, and general recruitment services. Whether you use its PEO or HRO services, it provides robust HR support for small businesses.

Employee Benefits

G&A offers the standard benefits, including health, dental and vision insurance. There are also flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, health reimbursement accounts, employee assistance programs, short- and long-term disability, employee wellness and discount programs, and accident insurance. The fees for these plans may be separate from the monthly per-employee rate. Additionally, G&A handles employee questions regarding coverage and claims. This is a standout aspect of its service. Instead of your business having to wrestle with insurance carriers, G&A can assist with questions or disputes. It also takes care of healthcare reform matters with eligibility monitoring and annual IRS reporting.

Payroll and Taxes

G&A provides basic time and attendance software, time and overtime tracking, PTO accrual, vacation and sick leave tracking, and scheduling management. It offers a full suite of compliance and tax-related payroll services such as tax filings, wage garnishments, new-hire reporting and automated standard deductions. G&A provides a full-fledged payroll service on a par with several of its competitors.

Risk and Compliance 

G&A offers standard accident prevention services, including development of employee safety manuals, safety audits and inspections, post-audit safety reports and trainings, and onsite and online safety training materials. It helps you comply with OSHA regulations and provides workers' compensation.

Training and Development

G&A can work with you to find the right training solutions for your business. It provides multiple forms of support, such as helping you meet industry regulations, building education programs for your employees and tracking each worker's progress. You can use advanced HR technology to find employee competency gaps, match jobs and goals with available courses, and assign employee courses. The performance management system allows you to set, measure and manage employee goals, keep employee performance records, and conduct 360 reviews. 

Pros of G&A Partners

An advantage of partnering with G&A is the size of the company. Some PEOs we reviewed are major companies that provide support to tens of thousands of small businesses. There are advantages to partnering with a big company, but some small businesses look for more personalized service with one-on-one support, and we found that G&A can provide this level of attention. 

NAPEO whitepaper found that five companies account for 43% of the PEO services available to small businesses in the U.S. G&A is a smaller company than these five and prides itself on providing personal support to clients. 

Another benefit of partnering with G&A Partners is the technology you have access to. The HR technology allows you to offer your employees several e-learning options. You can assign courses, and track employee results and improvement. This is great for growing teams and businesses that want their employees to continue learning and expanding their skill sets. 

Companies in healthcare, franchise service, manufacturing, nonprofits and professional service industries can especially benefit from G&A Partners. G&A specializes in these industries, providing industry-specific human resource options. Since each industry has its own guidelines and laws that it must follow, it is helpful to have a PEO or HR outsourcing company that is knowledgeable on what those regulations are. 

Cons of G&A Partners

One drawback of G&A is the lack of mobile options. We could not find a mobile application to manage  HR tasks on the go. This would be a valuable tool for companies spread out between several locations, or for those whose HR personnel is constantly on the move. 

Another limitation is the lack of info on the PEO's website about the cost of its services. While it isn't a deal breaker, a lot of small business owners want a quick idea of how much each service costs, even if it's a ballpark estimate. Since G&A Partners offers bundled and a la carte services, it is unclear what the cost may be by simply viewing the info on the website. In addition to getting a price quote from a representative, ask about the cost of additional services you may need in the future. You don't want to be caught off guard with unexpected costs as your business expands. 

Customer Service

We interacted with G&A sales representatives by email and phone, posing as a small business owner interested in working with a PEO. Its sales representatives were excellent. They gave us all the necessary info about its services, as well as helpful advice for our PEO search, never pushing us for a sale. Instead, they were cordial and supportive of our inquiry. 

G&A Partners has several helpful online resources, including articles, guides, webinars, videos and white papers. G&A also provides personalized support. When you sign up with G&A Partners, you'll have a client advocate who coordinates your business's services; this person can answer many basic questions related to your service and refer complicated issues to a team of specialists for the coverage area in question.

Pricing

HR outsourcing services typically follow one of two pricing models:

  • A fixed monthly per-employee fee, or;
  • A percentage of each employee's monthly pretax salary

Regardless of which model an HRO uses, your total costs will vary depending on the number of employees you have, the state where your business operates and the specific services you need.

The pricing model of HROs differs from that of professional employer organizations (PEOs), which are companies that provide similar services but under a co-employment model. (There are more details on PEOs below.)

Pricing with both HROs and PEOs can be flexible, depending on which provider you're working with. You'll likely have to sign a contract, but some companies let you pay for services a la carte so you can enroll in exactly the services that you need. Others provide flexible bundles to help you get a comprehensive set of services.

 

Buying Guide

What Do HR Departments Do?

Over the years, the role of human resource professionals has evolved from recordkeepers to an essential component of a business's executive team. Besides coordinating employee activities, HR departments provide conflict resolution and training, help with budget management, and ensure companies comply with employment laws and regulations.

HR departments are responsible for maintaining the security and privacy of employee data, including compensation and personal matters. This department must also ensure your company's compliance with federal regulations surrounding healthcare, 401(k) plans and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).

Another critical function of HR is to ensure your company complies with legal hiring practices, especially when hiring noncitizens. Immigration compliance at both the state and federal level is a complicated process that your HR staff may not have expertise in. If your company hires immigrants, it is important to find an HR outsourcing service that is well versed in the law and has previous experience with the process. This helps protect your company against unintended violations of immigration law, which can be extremely costly.

Many companies forgo hiring HR staff during the early years of the business. However, this is risky. When you do not have a human resources manager, your company is vulnerable to a host of potential legal issues. For example, employees do not have a neutral party to discuss issues with, nor is there a specialist to ensure that your hiring paperwork is appropriately completed. You can't afford not to invest in human resources. An HRO can help you meet all your company's human resources needs, even if you're on a limited budget.

February 2020: The New Jersey Civil Service Commission recently ruled that public employers must follow a new domestic violence policy, which requires public employers to create a confidential system for employees to report domestic violence occurrences. While this new policy is specifically for New Jersey, it is possible that other states will follow suit and implement similar policies. If you choose to handle HR responsibilities on your own, it's your job to keep up to date with every federal and state law and policy change. However, if you partner with an HRO, it will help to ensure your business remains compliant as new laws are enforced. This is why it's important to choose an HRO that is familiar with your industry and region.  

Which One Is Right for Me: Full-Service or Partial HR Outsourcing?

A full-service HRO is a good option if you own a small company and cannot yet afford to hire HR personnel. It provides the resources that an in-house HR staff can offer without the expense that comes with hiring a team. A full-service HRO is also advantageous if you have workers in different parts of the U.S. or world. HROs are knowledgeable about global, as well as federal and state laws, and will work with your company to ensure it is in compliance.

When companies skimp on HR, they put the business and their employees at risk. A full-service HRO helps you appropriately manage day-to-day HR tasks like reporting misconduct and ensuring workplace safety compliance. These services also work closely with your payroll team to handle compensation. In addition to day-to-day tasks, you can enroll in services like recruiting and employee training.

Partial outsourcing is recommended for companies that have an in-house HR staff but need extra help. For example, perhaps you have an HR representative who handles hiring and ensures that your employment paperwork is correctly filed, but suppose you need help with employee development. Many HROs offer employee training programs. If you do not have the resources or desire to hire a full-time training specialist, you can outsource this service to an HR company.

The most common trainings that HROs provide include software and processes training, though other options are available. The best HR outsourcing service will work with you one on one to determine the training programs that are best suited for your company's employees.

Other common partial outsourcing services include payroll outsourcing, employee screenings and background checks, employee recruitment, and immigration compliance.

Many HROs give you the option of selecting a full-service package or the specific services your business currently needs. It should, however, have expertise in employment compliance to insulate your company from penalties or lawsuits.

Each of the HRO services we evaluated offer comprehensive packages to assist your company with its HR needs so you can focus on other tasks pertinent to your business.

Human Resource Outsourcing vs. Professional Employer Organizations

During your research, you may have come across another term ‒ professional employer organizations. While many of the companies we reviewed offer both HR outsourcing and PEO services, they are not the same thing.

The main difference between an HRO and PEO service is the legal employment arrangement. When you outsource your HR functions, you are still the employer of record for your staff members, and you retain full control of your business operations and data. With a PEO, the company you hire acts as a co-employer and is responsible for all HR responsibilities, including hiring and firing, employee training, tax and compliance obligations, and more.

Which option is best for my business?

Whether you use an HRO or a PEO depends on your business's needs. If you need help with a few basic administrative tasks like payroll and benefits management, an HRO might be your best option. If, on the other hand, you'd rather have an expert shoulder the full legal and financial responsibilities of employing staff members, hire a PEO.

If you are interested in learning more about PEOs and the companies we recommend, visit our best picks page.

Methodology

Business.com strives to research and review companies fairly and objectively. For our review of HR outsourcing services, we began with 30 companies. After analyzing each company, we pared our list down to 19 services. From this list, we researched various aspects of the services each company offers, including benefits administration, employee recruiting, payroll management and employee training.

From these 19 companies, we reduced our list to eight companies. We then delved into further research of each company before arriving at our best picks.

What to Expect in 2020

In 2020, the demand for human resources outsourcing to increase. Research from Global Industry Analysts Inc., predicts that the global market for these services will reach $43.8 billion within the next four years. This increase is due to changes made within many companies' human resources departments, like cuts to department staff. Technological advances and software have further reduced the need for in-house HR staffworkers. 

Another factor that has contributed to the rise of HROs (and will continue to contribute to more small businesses using HROs in 2020) concerns compliance, both with state and federal regulations. In-house HR staff may have a difficult time staying up to date with changing regulations, such as new labor laws. Overlooked rules can have expensive consequences. HROs closely monitor shifting employment laws and apprise clients of these changes and how they can comply with the new laws. 

Artificial intelligence in human resource technology is also influencing the growth of HROs, according to HR Executive. One example of this is that AI can scan and sort through hundreds of resumes to find candidates who have the required experience for the role. This saves hours compared to what a small in-house HR staff can do.

Simone R. Johnson: Writer
Simone R. Johnson,
business.com staff
Simone R. Johnson was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from the University of Rochester in 2017 with a dual degree in English language media and communications and film media production. She has been a reporter for several New York publications prior to joining Business News Daily and business.com as a full-time staff writer. When she isn't writing, she enjoys community enrichment projects that serve disadvantaged groups and rereading her favorite novels.

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Other Services Considered

Insperity provides employee benefits administration, payroll processing, risk management resources and human resource consulting, but where this company excels is the employee training and HR outsourcing spaces. Insperity has a five-employee minimum, competitive pricing and a contract structure that can scale with your business. While it bundles some of its services (as most PEOs do), Insperity can grow and change its service offering to meet your business's needs. It is a well-reviewed company with an ESAC certification, IRS and BBB accreditations, and an A+ BBB rating. Few of its competitors can match its quality in all areas of service. Insperity's extensive training resources and flexible services make it our pick as the best PEO for small businesses.

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