Best Professional Employer Organizations (PEO) — January 2020

A complete guide to finding, selecting & implementing the right PEO partner

Did you know that, regardless of your company’s size, you could have a full-fledged HR department and offer a host of employee benefits that help improve recruiting and retention? While this might seem impossible for small companies, it’s not. PEOs, or Professional Employer Organizations, are vendors that help smaller companies leverage the power of an HR department to minimize employment risk and labor costs, offer employee benefits they otherwise can’t afford, take care of payroll and more.

The best PEOs serve as employers of record and bring a lot of “back-office” expertise to the table — plus, they work with hundreds of companies at a time and leverage economies of scale to get better group rates on benefits packages that you in turn get to offer your employees.

By following a co-employment model, you and a PEO share certain employer responsibilities. For example, PEOs cover all your HR and administrative work while you manage your business operations and people. In the end, you save time and money, and get to focus more on growing your business - without giving up control over your workforce (a common misconception).

To help you better understand PEOs and which one is right for your company, we put together the following guide that breaks down everything you need to know and consider, from who they are, what they provide, how much they cost, and more. Let’s begin.

We spend hundreds of hours researching the best HR and recruiting software so you don’t have to.  We never take money from vendors during our research phase and rely heavily on practitioners and experts to help us recommend the right software.  Most of the vendors featured on our site have no commercial relationship with us, we want to feature the best software for our readers regardless. Learn more

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Top Professional Employer Organizations

We track thousands of HRTech solutions, these are the best PEOs per our research and expert council as of January 2020

Paychex is another massive player in the general human resources space that has a PEO offering for small businesses.  If you’re looking for a partner that will come on site to help setup your payroll, benefits, onboarding, etc - then take a look at Paychex.

Worth Checking Out:

Similar to ADP, PayChex is one of the gorillas in this space that warrants your attention if you want to be comprehensive about the best PEO offerings.

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TriNet is easily one of the largest players in the world of professional employment organizations with 340,000 lives covered and 16,000 customers.  They offer a high level of customer service, and a variety of products you’d expect from an organization with their scale.

Worth Checking Out:

TriNet is the only vendor that offers their PEO by vertical in order to meet the unique needs of Life Sciences, Tech, etc.

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With 2,500 customers, JustWorks is one of the larger players in the PEO space, and offers best in class technology that allows everyone from HR to new employees to seamlessly access and use their offering.  They also offer competitive and transparent pricing.

Worth Checking Out:

JustWorks is one of the newer entrants to this space which means they have a modern user interface that’s easy for employees to use.

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Insperity’s Workforce Optimization product allows small and medium sized companies to have stellar payroll, benefits, on-boarding and everything else you’d expect from one of our best PEOs.

Worth Checking Out:

Take a look at their Quickbooks integration that allows you to see your employee costs and profitability of your organization in one dashboard.

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Best known for their payroll offering, ADP offers a suite of other HCM products including a PEO called ADP TotalSource.  ADP is known for over delivering on customer success, something that has made them a behemoth in the HR world.

Worth Checking Out:

ADP is an industry leader in HR by market share and so worth a demo if you are considering adding a PEO.

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Gusto isn’t a PEO - but we wanted to include them in this list because if you’re a small business looking at PEOs, you may want to check out Gusto as well.  They have a simple to use payroll and benefits platform designed for smaller companies.

Worth Checking Out:

Gusto’s payroll and benefits software is dead simple to use for HR and employees.

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Need Help Buying or Implementing?

Final Advice on PEOs

At the end of the day PEOs can help alleviate a lot of the administrative tasks that are required when running a business, so you have more time to focus on growing successful teams — and your bottom line.

If your company fits the criteria we’ve outlined here, it’s time to pick a few PEOs and schedule demos to find the one that’s right for you.

That's it! If you enjoyed this guide and got value out of it, please give us a shoutout on Twitter, or LinkedIn -we'd love to hear from you. And, if you think we're missing something on this page, let us know and we’ll research it for you!

If you're a TA or HR pro, think about joining our expert council and lend your expertise!  We rely heavily on the thoughts on forward thinking People professionals to help us put together useful and unbiased research.

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