The PEO Revolution

The PEO Revolution


It’s time for a PEO Revolution. Today I’m joined by Dawn Lively and Daniel Fuller of FullStack PEO. We use FullStack at PivotCX for HR benefits, payroll, and everything we do managing our people. If you look at a PEO, they allow a smaller company like us to compete with more prominent companies for talent. It’s an option that can be transformative if it fits your organization.

What is a PEO

PEOs (Professional Employer Organization) are outsourcing firms that provide services to smaller businesses. They enter a co-employment agreement with their clients and become the employer of record (EoR) for tax purposes. Typically, PEOs offerings may include human resource consulting, payroll processing, employer payroll tax filing, benefits administration, recruiting and hiring, regulatory compliance assistance, training, and development. 

Reasons to use a PEO for HR needs:

Although people think of outsourcing accounting as a business function, many don’t connect the dots about outsourcing HR. Using PEOs enables small companies to focus on building their product and growing their company without allocating additional resources to HR tasks.  It becomes pretty simple and can save a lot of time. Many entrepreneurs don’t think that they only have so many hours in a week to put into work.  How many of the things that a PEO does are going to give you, if you do them yourself and you do them very well, will provide a business any advantage over what a PEO can do? I’m not sure there are many. 

Entrepreneurs’ Resistance to the PEO Revolution

There’s a profile of people who think they have to know the ins and outs of their business. The hardest thing to get some business owners, especially some new entrepreneurs, to realize is that they should use PEOs to free up their time and energy instead of holding onto HR tasks until they’ve mastered every aspect before giving any away.

A mentality that has to be learned

“A quick story, we worked with another HR tech going in scale-up mode. Their team comprised HR professionals, and they knew how to do the job themselves because they had done it before but realized from the beginning ‘if we’re gonna grow and scale and positively answer to our investors, we need to give this up.’ The team started with us when they were just three cofounders; they hadn’t hired anyone yet but wanted to have the benefits piece in place for when they recruited and onboarded that first person.

When you have that personality where you want to know and control everything, you have to be challenged to let it go to be successful.”

What are the biggest challenges business owners face when it comes to HR and people?

The first challenge is finding people. Once they find them, the second challenge is differentiating themselves from competitors.

“What will stop that person you brought on six months ago, especially in today’s market, from getting an offer from a competitor for $15000 more. What will stop someone on your team from taking $15000 a year more? If someone hasn’t proactively thought about what besides compensation is gonna keep that person here, and they haven’t done anything about it. I think it’s going to be a big challenge for them.”

Solving this issue has a lot to do with culture fit and being part of the future strategy. Dealing people in on stock options when possible and appropriate. Having buy-in regarding the company’s values, mission, and vision and including them in the decision-making process. Listening to people and getting their feedback (some of the best ideas come from feedback)

It’s also vital to consider ideas and act on them; otherwise, it negatively impacts the culture. 

How many companies are having trouble finding people?

That person was hard to find before the pandemic, and it’s even harder to find now. We hear about that struggle with most of our clients. 

It’s very different when you are a small business vs. a big company. What are companies doing to attract talent?

In essence, there are two parts to this. The first is finding talent and being able to attract it. Secondly, companies have to work hard to retain talent. Companies that usually offer 2-5% raises to their employees in this tight labor market have to do 4-7 or 4-8% increases to be competitive. “But you have to do what you can afford as a small company. So half is trying to keep the talent you already have in addition to recruiting and growing.”

Learn More

Dawn Lively

Dawn has over a decade of experience in the PEO industry, providing administrative, operational, and strategic human resource guidance to small- and mid-sized companies. She has served in a Senior Director capacity, overseeing human resource, client service, benefits administration, and payroll administration functions within a PEO. She was also instrumental in both strategic planning and tactical execution to achieve the strategic goals.

Transformational Book: Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) and related books

Favorite Movie:  first “Point Blank”

Dawn’s LinkedIn: 

Daniel Fuller

Prior to working at FullStack as VP Business Development, Daniel’s background includes coaching entrepreneurial leaders and mission-driven organizations. While completing his MA in Global Leadership, Daniel founded Sycamore Way, a startup focused on developing tangible skills for leaders and organizations to be talent development cultures. He hosts the “Savage to Sage”, a podcast exploring the evolution of entrepreneurs through the crucible of starting and growing companies.

Transformational Book:  “At your best” by Carey Nieuwhof

Favorite Movie: “Dead Poets Society”

Daniel’s LinkedIn:

Podcast: “Savage to Sage” explores the evolutionary journey of entrepreneurs and founders. 

Mike and PivotCX:

Mike’s LinkedIn: 

Pivot2First Podcast:


The Secret Sauce to Employee Retention and Productivity with Traci Chernoff on Pivot2First Podcast

The Secret Sauce to Employee Retention and Productivity with Traci Chernoff on Pivot2First Podcast

In this Pivot2First episode, Mike and Traci Chernoff consider the secret sauce to employee retention and productivity. How to optimize the recruitment process by bringing people, technology, and businesses together. They also cover why peer interviewing is a great idea. The four pillars of employee engagement, and the interaction between AI-powered and human-powered HR. 

Where did we all go wrong? It seems like HR is about humans. How do we get to where we need to be to bring the humans back? 

Although it’s good that we’ve optimized and focused on efficiency, innovation, and technology, we’ve lost our way a little bit in the age of technology. Streamlining, operational efficiencies, labor operations, labor efficiency optimization, and bringing people back into the equation is not an all-or-nothing game. It can all happen together at the same time. While we focus on optimization and efficiency, we should simultaneously focus on the people who make all that happen. Something operators and C-level executives forget is that employment and sales are relationship-driven. They get the sales and marketing piece right, but the HR part wrong. Approaching employment and hiring with a relationship-driven mindset starts with the people in Hiring management positions (whether they’re C-suite, executive/director level) focusing on creating a specific culture or product to solve a problem.

By bringing thought leaders, people with different levels of emotional intelligence, and others committed to giving workers a good experience, we can create initiatives that support that goal. 

Happy employees create happy customer experiences. When you focus on building a happy employee experience and giving them an environment that allows them to be more productive, where they want to get to know the product better, and where they want to make the customer experience exceptional, you don’t have to think about the bottom line because it positively unfolds for you. 

Many companies have spent a lot of time and money automating. Where did we all get it right?

It’s a myth that “if you pay people right and give them good benefits, they’ll stay forever,” people want more than that. 58% of Americans who are eligible to work are hourly. There’s much vulnerability based on pay, benefits eligibility, and being full-time vs. part-time. The truth is that employee engagement is not just about Pay and Benefits.

At Legion we think of The four pillars of Employee Engagement:

  • Pay
  • Benefits
  • Employees, as people, want flexibility and predictability: 

Employees want the opportunity to decide what their lives look like. They want to know they’ll get 40 hrs/week of work. However, they want the flexibility to determine what those 40hrs look like and have the ability to switch shifts or work a different schedule.

  • Employees want to feel connected to the bigger picture through culture and communication:

When employees feel connected to the bigger, they feel connected and grounded in the purpose and mission of the organization. Having tools for frontline communication with employees makes a huge difference in the way they connect with the purpose and mission of the organization. An engaged workforce will do a better job. They’ll be happier and more likely to stay than to churn. 


Why do companies process candidates like chickens instead of building relationships?

Sometimes companies aren’t clear on who they are. They sell blue skies because that’s what they want from the company, but it’s essential to be super transparent about where you are today and what you want your future state to look like. 

Additionally,  companies, hiring managers, and people assigned to recruiting, are not hiring for diversity of thought. They aren’t hiring people different from them, who think differently, who have other priorities. Bringing people onto a team who present and represent different ways of thinking and priorities creates a more comprehensive team environment. In this kind of environment where ideas are challenged, individuals have more growth opportunities.

What do companies get wrong before someone becomes an employee? How do we improve employee engagement?

When we think about what we’re expecting from candidates, there’s an imbalance in expectations and what’s reasonable. We shouldn’t bring just anyone, but there’s a way we can think about candidates differently, getting a little bit more humanity to the interview process.

 As we have experienced throughout the pandemic, the way we interview has changed. Instead of asking the same questions from a candidate over and over, candidates can go through the PivotCX process to screen them for the basic qualifications of the role. Hiring managers can then focus on asking pointed or challenging questions to figure out if a candidate is a good fit for the job. 

 Not having peer interviews is also a big issue. Knowing how a new team member will interact with the group is absolutely critical. The reason people stay even when you see manager turnover is because they love their peers and the group of friends they’ve made at work. If we know 50% is employer-controlled (the way we expect people to work) and the other 50% is whom we are working with, then we should place our intention and energy into listening to peer feedback. Involving peers and giving them the psychological safety of expressing their opinions when deciding who to hire will strengthen the bond between the employees, other stakeholders, and the organization.


About Traci Chernoff

Traci is a self-starter and entrepreneur with a passion for people, strategy, and innovation. She is host of one of the most interesting HR-focused podcasts: “Bringing the Human back to Human Resources.” She has been an HR Manager, Trainer, and Director of HR and is now Director of Employee Engagement for Legion Technologies, an AI-powered workforce management company with a mission to turn hourly jobs into good jobs.

 Book that changed your life: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (reading it in high school allowed me to find my own power and know it’s okay to be exactly who you are), the Nightingale by Kristen Hanna (Historical fiction novel set in France WWII. It awoke my spirit and soul). 

Favorite Saying: “Every problem has a solution.”

Your favorite movie: the Harry Potter series (growing up before the films came out was great!)

Final Thoughts: I appreciate you listening at talking about all the things that make me excited and passionate about HR. Let’s continue to talk about why bringing humans back into business is a great mission to have.

Traci’s LinkedIn:

Podcast: Bringing the Human back to Human Resources


Learn more about Mike and PivotCX:

Mike’s LinkedIn: 

Pivot2First Podcast


Speed Wins in Recruiting, Every Time – Kyle Roed on Pivot2First Ep. 7

Speed Wins in Recruiting, Every Time – Kyle Roed on Pivot2First Ep. 7


Speed Wins in Recruiting, and when it comes down to it, not all HR professionals recruit at the ideal speed. Mike Seidle and Kyle Roed discuss recruiting strategies CEOs can bring back to their team to get ahead in the competition for talent. 

What are the most common out-of-date practices you see out there?

There are a lot of people who still manage people with 40-year-old processes. Examples range from attendance policies to recruiting. However, the world is speeding up, and the expectations of our employees, applicants, candidates, and hiring processes need to get faster. Speed wins in recruiting, every time. Even if an employer comes out with a great job, but there’s a prolonged part of the process, or there are people who halt progress, it makes it hard to hire great people.

Policies and culture can also be stuck in the past. Instead of flyers in the breakroom or 50-page handbooks, people want to access information on-demand from their devices. Moreover, today’s employees want a company with a social media presence they can be proud of, inclusive, and willing to change, listen, and confront issues society-at-large faces these days.

Another issue companies face is a low application completion rate and even HR resistance to change for fear of not being compliant. Applying for a job should be as easy as buying something online. Most of the time, today’s applicants are willing to invest more time in a lengthy application only if they have built some rapport with a business. 1-click applications help counteract this issue. All HR needs to start the recruiting process is an applicant’s resume, and applicants can fill out an extended application after the first phone screen or an onsite interview. 

What should CEOs be asking about their Recruiting practices?

In business, we talk a lot about sales and customer experience funnels. It’s the same in recruiting; it’s a funnel and an experience. The product is your company, and you’re trying to get someone to buy into it. It’s the same KPIs as sales, skewed slightly for HR. 

  • Candidate Experience: Can a candidate apply easily and go through the hiring process smoothly? Having a fast candidate experience is a competitive edge. You’ll win the war for talent if you can do this regularly.
  • Quality of Hire:  Can we keep hires? What’s the new hire turnover rate? Companies should have sound structures to select candidates. Yet, businesses need to be agile enough to adapt to changes and talent acquisition strategies that enable them to make good decisions in hiring. 
  • Candidate Flow: How many candidates are we funneling? How many candidates does it take to hire one person?  Recruiting is a unique skill in HR; not all HR professionals are adept at recruiting, and your best recruiter might not be an HR professional within your organization. 
  • Market development: Who are we reaching out to? Are there other groups/demographics we’re not reaching out to? Organizations with more diversity, equity, and inclusion have a diversity of thought, and they have intensional, inclusive cultures that allow those ideas to bubble up. This is the right thing to do, but it’s good for business too.

Learn more about Kyle

Kyle Roed is the Vice President of Global HR at CPM Companies, Cofounder of DisruptHR, and host of the “Rebel Human Resources” podcast. He fell into HR and fell in love with everything about people practices. In his almost 20 years in HR, he’s discovered that things in HR are ripe for innovation and has sought to challenge the way the HR community thinks about the world of work. 

Transformational Book: In a professional context, Good to Great; has been a true north since college. 

Favorite Movie: Shawshank Redemption; it’s a great story of triumph.

Rebel HR Podcast: Everything innovation in the people space 

Kyle’s LinkedIn:

Learn more about Mike and PivotCX:

Mike’s LinkedIn: 

Pivot2First Podcast


Rethinking Recruiting Marketing with James Whitelock on Pivot to First Episode 6

Rethinking Recruiting Marketing with James Whitelock on Pivot to First Episode 6

 After the Great Resignation, employers are rethinking their recruiting marketing strategies. More than ever before, candidates are looking for companies that align with their values and lifestyles.

Mike and James Tackle Recruiting Marketing

Employers are incentivized to build and maintain a good reputation through reviews on websites such as Glassdoor and Indeed. This poses the risk of hyper-focusing on appearances instead of spending time developing positive interactions with potential and current employees. 

How does a CEO diagnose what’s the problem when they find themselves adjusting hours and production to fit many unfilled positions in their workforce.

The truth of the matter is that it’s never just one problem. Still, to diagnose what is going on, CEOs have to look internally and understand what drives their workforce, what is making them stay or leave, and what their experience is like from the moment they apply through their engagement lifecycle with the company.

What can companies do to improve their “candidate flow” issues, and how can they get more qualified applicants?

Many processes, including how people apply for and search for jobs, have changed since the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead of simply posting jobs online and hoping for a great candidate to show up, companies should commit time and resources to engage great people where they are. Employers who create a relationship with candidates can be top of mind when an opportunity arises.

How do you tell a candidate flow problem vs. a time to offer problem?

90% of candidates still take the first job offer they get. Knowing that candidates are time-sensitive can help businesses plan ahead of a possible hiring problem. 

About James:

James is the Managing Director at Think In Circles, a sales and marketing growth agency, and an expert on Recruitment Marketing. He’s also the host of The Marketing Rules podcast. James hosted Mike about a year ago when they discussed AI and human-to-human conversations in the recruitment process.

Transformative Book in James’ business journey: Brand Sense by Martin Lindstrom because it’s the book that got him into marketing. It dives into how marketers and branders use the other senses available to get you to buy into their company. 


Learn more about Mike and PivotCX:

Rosey on What the C Suite Needs to Know about recruiting in 2022

Rosey on What the C Suite Needs to Know about recruiting in 2022


Pivot to First explores topics and ideas with the goal of turning hiring into a competitive advantage. In this episode, Mike speaks with Rosey Nathan. In addition to being a podcaster extraordinaire based out of New Zealand, she is a Recruitment Partner with Customise Talent Group. You can also find her work as Career & Whole Human Mentor for Rosey on Recruitment and Career. She also has a varied background in Sales, Management, and recruiting in SaaS, FinTech, and other industries.

In this edition we explore:

  • What makes a happy workforce and what benefits does it bring to a company.
  • Explaining Employee Engagement in 3 words.
  • The recruiting hurdles employers are facing in the current market.
  • Some reasons why candidates’ counteroffers have increased up to 40%
  • How can candidates avoid pitfalls when looking for a new job.
  • Tips for happy recruiting in 2022
  • Fixing employers’ candidate flow problem via speed of engagement.
  • Rosey’s reading, movie, and TV recommendations.

Rosey Nathan on the web