William Stevens, Vice President of Corporate OperationsFounded in 2017, Access Health Services is a professional employer organization (PEO) providing payroll, benefits, HR services, tax administration, and regulatory compliance assistance services to small and medium-sized companies. Originally a third-party administrator (TPA) and management services organization (MSO) serving Medicare Advantage Plans and others requiring administrative services, the company identified the challenges companies faced in enhancing HR operations, planning cost-effective benefits, and adopting necessary wage and record-keeping technologies. By 2018, it started offering PEO services and is the only PEO based in Arkansas. Access Health Services provides cost-effective, higher-quality benefits and enhanced HR programs to organizations, helping them grow and prosper. In the past 12 months, the company has successfully increased its market share by 28 percent and PEO employee growth by 321 percent.
In an interview with the Manage HR magazine, William Stevens, Vice President of Corporate Operations at Access Health Services, talks about how the company delivers the best PEO efforts to small and mid-sized businesses in Arkansas and beyond.
Please throw more light on the current state of affairs in the PEO market. How has Access Health Services positioned itself accordingly?
The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the challenges companies face in fostering effective HR services, affecting areas like employee safety, remote work, and profitability. The constant evolution of the federal and state guidelines in this regard makes it difficult for businesses ensuring their compliance and remain profitable. All these components drive companies to partner with PEOs who have in-depth expertise and years of experience in the field in providing affordable benefits to their employees and create a safe and worthwhile workplace experience.
Access Health Services strives to maintain its agility and proactiveness to stay aligned with the ever-changing business world. Our aim is to first understand clients to help them plan for their success while ensuring compliance and profitability. We offer them guidance and assistance and ensure that their organizational culture continues to power the best recruitment and retention efforts. It gets done through the close relationship that we nurture with our clients.
How did the Access Health Services position itself to serve clients better amid the pandemic?
In March 2020, we achieved an incredible feat—going completely remote within 24 hours. Owing to our IT department’s expertise and assets, Access Health Services went above and beyond to allow all employees to go remote. Members of our team also completed COVID-19 Contact Tracing courses so that we knew the process and were prepared to help our clients and employees respond to the pandemic effectively. Additionally, we drafted business protocols and plans to maintain business continuity during the pandemic and closely partnered with the Arkansas Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for guidance and approval of our protocols.
Furthermore, we helped clients procure the latest cleaning equipment, and our staff helped them remain compliant with state and federal guidelines concerning COVID-19. To sum it up, we not only responded well to the pandemic, but also assisted employers in adopting their own COVID-19 plans, answering employees’ questions, and understanding the laws and guidelines.
Within our organization, the PEO department was instrumental in ensuring proper service to our clients, and also the entire organization stepped up to support us. All team members relied heavily on each other which helped us stand strong even amidst the havoc wreaked by the pandemic.
Please walk us through the features and benefits that Access Health Services deliver to its clients.
Employees primarily aspire to receive two things from their employers: good pay and competitive benefits. It is the role of a PEO to help companies navigate employees’ expectations while understanding the nuances of the HR world.
Access Health Services primarily helps clients in four areas: payroll and tax filing fulfillment, employee benefits enhancement, safety and risk management, and expert HR compliance and consultation services. We believe that in order to help clients be successful and address their problems, we have to be knowledgeable in ours as well as their business domain. We help clients build positive work environments that can attract and retain the top talents in the market. We offer unmatched employee wellness and insurance offerings, enabling businesses to offer benefits that are solely uniqueto their organization. In parallel, we seek the latest technologies to help clients overcome their challenges and attain business objectives.
Could you share with us a customer success story?
One of the biggest success stories that we have achieved was helping one of our clients expand across multiple states. An Arkansas-based small business originally having only four employees approached us with an ambitious goal of growing itself through recruitment of talented new employees in multiple states with the objective of them working remotely. We immediately began setting up processes, systems, and plans to make that dream a reality for that client. We upped our game and collaborated with the client to incorporate their ideas regarding their business plan. Simultaneously, we built and implemented the newest HRIS—a payroll platform that allowed them to manage their remote workforce effectively. It was certainly a wildly ambitious task, but we fulfilled the client’s requests and completed one of 2022’s largest mass onboarding events for any employer in Arkansas. Today, they are standing strong with a headcount of over three hundred employees working across multiple states.
What distinguishes Access Health Services from other market players?
At Access Health Services, we are focused on the success of our clients and employees. An employer usually does not start a company to process payroll, file quarterly taxes, or comply with OSHA and other federal laws. Instead, they take the initiative to make a difference in the market or to launch products they are passionate about. But after starting their venture, they get caught up in fixing these challenging aspects, which affects their short-term and long-term goals. Access Health Services focuses on all the parts that usually distract the business owners from what they want to do. We see ourselves as much more than just an HR and payroll organization. We are the profit center for our clients, and that philosophy distinguishes us from other market players.
Our aim is to first understand clients to help them plan for their success while ensuring compliance and profitability
How do you envision the upcoming 12 to 18 months for the company?
The success factors that drive Access Health Services forward are the hard work and dedication of the PEO services team and other departments. Over the past 12 months, we have realized that it is important to upgrade systems, re-imagine ourselves, and shift the team mindset and departmental culture from a traditional HR department to a client-focused one to become successful in the long run. Fortunately, we have attained our goals and improved our performance while meeting objectives that we once thought unachievable. We also believe that our commitment to upholding diversity and inclusion within our company allowed us to see problems from multiple perspectives and experiences. It makes us competitive and agile in today’s business world, and that is why we will continue with our diverse recruitment efforts in the future.