As a professional employer organization, Propel HR provides human resources services including payroll processing, regulatory and tax compliance, benefits administration, and workers’ compensation expertise to about 400 small and medium-sized businesses across 43 states with 10 to several thousand employees.
“We’re really a one-stop shop,” says Yarborough, who serves as the company’s president. “We take on all the back-office type support for our customers. I think we do a good job of treating each client as special and form a unique partnership with each one.”
Yarborough handles the day-to-day operations and Paul Garrigan, the company’s executive vice president and partner, focuses primarily sales. Even at age 78, Cutchin, who is executive vice president, comes into the office daily and works with sales and special projects.
Initially named Personnel Resources, the family-owned company started out focusing mostly on high-risk workers compensation. A rebranding in 2007 had the company name changed to Propel HR and added on payroll-only clients and a la carte options for its customers. Currently, Propel has about 40 employees.
“We’ve kind of evolved as the government has evolved and with so many more regulations and compliance-type issues, we’ve situated ourselves to have a strong HR team where we’re able to help our clients grow and focus on growing their business,” Yarborough says.
Clients come from every type of industry. Some have HR staff, some don’t. Propel can handle pretty much everything except staffing, Yarborough says. The company provides services such as training supervisors on how to hire, finding the right way to attract and hire employees, assisting with insurance for businesses, and coordinating special projects that clients may not have the time to do on their own.
“HR is best when we’re able to have an ongoing relationship, but we realize that not everybody needs that,” she says. “We’re a great outsource solution for those that have special projects or need additional assistance and more strategic HR.”
Propel HR earned the designation of Certified Professional Employer Organization in 2017. CPEO is a designation by the Internal Revenue Service which is awarded to less than 10 percent of professional employer organization companies in the country.
“We really believe and understand the importance of what we do. There’s a person behind the 401k account. There’s a person behind that paycheck. There’s a child behind the benefits. We don’t ever want to lose sight of what we do. We do some of the most important work and it can be monotonous and time consuming, but it’s all connected to people.” — Lee Yarborough, president, Propel HR
Those companies that have the CPEO designation take on paying federal payroll taxes for its clients and provides and allows for more transparency on federal tax credits due.
“As a Certified PEO, Propel HR offers clients an extra level of protection,” Yarborough says. “Our company has been vetted by the IRS and our clients have a partner they can trust.”
Changes come quickly in the HR industry and keeping up with new regulations is paramount. A new Fair Labor Standard Act that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020, has Propel HR auditing its client’s employment records to ensure they are compliant with the new federal law.
The biggest challenge for small to medium businesses is keeping up with what is required for businesses, she says.
“Whether it’s payroll tax rules or minimum wage changes or the classification of employees — even things like the recent #MeToo movement — we had customers who wanted us to provide additional training to their company and we were able to be a resource,” Yarborough says.
Add in Affordable Care Act regulations, I-9 verification and E-Verify rules and it’s a lot to keep up with, she says.
“From a risk-management standpoint, there are so many penalties that may come from not doing something,” Yarborough says. A lot of clients don’t necessarily have the resources or expertise to keep up with all that. That’s where we come in.”
At the core, it all comes down to the employees of its clients — and connecting with people.
“We work for our clients, but we advocate for the employees,” Yarborough says. “We really believe and understand the importance of what we do. There’s a person behind the 401k account. There’s a person behind that paycheck. There’s a child behind the benefits. We don’t ever want to lose sight of what we do. We do some of the most important work and it can be monotonous and time consuming, but it’s all connected to people.”
A PEO, defined
A professional employer organization provides comprehensive HR solutions for small and mid-size businesses. Payroll, benefits, HR, tax administration, and regulatory compliance assistance are some of the many services PEOs provide to growing businesses across the country. Small businesses that work with a PEO grow 7% to 9% faster, have employee turnover that is 10% to 14% lower, and are 50% less likely to go out of business.
Source: National Association Professional Employer Organizations
What is FSLA?
The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal law which establishes minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, record keeping and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state and local governments.