In today’s competitive environment, employers must promote their organization as a desirable place to work and it’s not as much about the job as it is the employee experience.
As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Bill Lyons.
Prior to founding Lyons HR, Bill served as VP and CFO of a large manufacturing company, held a senior financial position with a Fortune 100, and also spent four years as managing director of an investment banking firm. Bill has served on the boards, including the Business Council of Alabama and the Employer Services Assurance Corporation.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! First, please tell us what brought you to this specific career path?
My education and experience are in finance and accounting and before starting my company, I worked for both private and public companies. This experience prepared me well for pursuing my entrepreneurial ambitions. My experience demonstrated that the most critical challenges facing businesses were somehow people-related, and with over 30 million small businesses in America facing the same challenges, the idea for Lyons HR was born.
Over 48% of the American workforce is employed by a small business, defined by the Small Business Administration as having fewer than 500 employees, but most small business owners are not experts in human resources and that leaves them vulnerable to turnover, lawsuits, or worse. That’s why we started our PEO. PEOs can be the best friend the small business owner ever had.
By removing the administrative burdens of payroll, benefits, risk, and HR compliance, small business owners can devote their time and attention to more profitable pursuits like perfecting their products or services and growing their business. It is my belief that PEOs offer the most comprehensive suite of services to help small businesses and that led us to this industry.
Many long-term PEO clients first discover PEOs while shopping for lower-cost health or workers’ compensation insurance. It is only after becoming a client that the real value of the relationship becomes very clear. Virtually every new PEO client is unknowingly out of compliance with one or more employment laws when they sign on with the PEO. But not knowing the law does not excuse any company from complying, and it only takes one disgruntled former employee who files a complaint with the EEOC or the DOL to reorganize a business owner’s priorities completely.
As co-employers of the client company’s employees, the PEO is also liable for the employment practices of its new client, so it makes sense for the PEO to do a complete assessment of their client’s overall HR strategy at the outset of the relationship.
With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?
In today’s competitive environment, employers must promote their organization as a desirable place to work and it’s not as much about the job as it is the employee experience. This means making a strategic initiative out of creating a healthy and dynamic culture, one that starts at the top and permeates throughout the organization.
Compensation and benefits must be competitive, but they are not the most important factor when choosing an employer. The best and brightest people are not unemployed. They are currently working somewhere and if you want to recruit them to your company, you must engage with them where they are on social media.
Companies with an active social media strategy can promote the top 3 priorities people are looking for in their next employer, a positive culture, professional development, and a flexible work-life balance.
- Promote the culture of your company
- Emphasize professional development
- Work-life balance
- Quality of life in your location.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
For the country — Personal responsibility and a return to the traditional values that made America great.
For the workplace — Frivolous lawsuits that hurt businesses and cost billions per year.
We are very blessed to have some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?
Bill O’Reilly — I have admired Mr. O’Reilly’s news reporting and commentary for many years.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your valuable insights with us!