Human resources is a critical aspect of any business.
Historically, HR departments were reserved for larger organizations. Small businesses might just have a bookkeeper handle HR responsibilities.
But today, businesses of all shapes and sizes can leverage HR outsourcing to perform crucial tasks. Large businesses can use HR outsourcing to reduce operational costs. Outsourcing tasks and roles is much more cost-effective than in-house employees.
What’s the best HR outsourcing service? Find out below.
The 8 Best HR Outsourcing Services of 2021
Lots of companies offer some form of HR outsourcing, including most of the best PEO service providers on the market.
After researching dozens of HR firms and outsourcing services, I’ve narrowed them down to the top eight for you to consider.
- Paychex — Best HR outsourcing for complex payment cycles
- Insperity — Best HR outsourcing service to set it and forget it
- ADP — Best HR outsourcing to handle some (or all) of your HR needs
- TriNet — Best for big business benefits on small business budgets
- Zenefits — Best HR platform to wrangle your current HR systems together
- Engage PEO — Best HR outsourcing for unique compliance needs
- G&A Partners — Best HR outsourcing for employee training and development
- Tandem HR — Best HR outsourcing for minimizing your risk liability
Below, I give in-depth reviews of each, covering their features, benefits, and other key considerations.
Best HR Outsourcing Services Reviews
#1 – Paychex — Best HR Outsourcing for Complex Payment Cycles
- Wide range of HR services
- Pricing based on # of employees
- Great for smaller organizations
- Knowledgeable HR professionals
That’s because they have solutions to handle virtually any payment situation you can throw at them.
Have a mixed workforce of contractors and full-time employees? They can take care of that.
Have a unique payment cycle that’s out of your typical “twice a month paycheck” norm? They can take care of that.
Does your employee prefer to be paid via prepaid debit cards for some reason? You bet they can take care of that.
In addition, they also have fantastic HR outsourcing services.
Some of their top features include:
- Retirement services
- Insurance services
- HR professionals
- Benefits administration
- Compliance services
Paychex has an awesome mobile app that can be used to track things like hiring, labor costs, and employee turnover. The app can also be used for employee self-service tools and employee training.
This is great for mobile and remote workforces, like if your employees are digital nomads or distributed across the world.
For those of you who have an existing HR department in place, Paychex can act as an extension of this department by providing you a dedicated outsourced HR manager. They can assist with hiring, onboarding, and retaining top-level talent.
An outsourced HR manager from Paychex will handle workforce analytics, benchmarking, corporate culture strategy, manage benefits, and basic employee training.
It’s essentially everything you’d need in an HR manager, without having to hire a full-time in-house staff member. Learn more at Paychex.
#2 – Insperity — Best HR Outsourcing Service to Set It and Forget It
- Full-service HR solution
- Individual & custom HR packages
- In business 35 years
- Best for mid-sized organizations
Insperity offers excellent PEO and HRO services.
While they do offer individual HR offerings like ADP, I highly recommend them just for their full-service solutions. That’s because they often bundle their individual offerings (e.g. payroll comes with their human capital management software), so they’re not the best if you’re looking for just one thing.
However, that just means their full-service solutions are that much better. From bookkeeping to recruiting, you’ll be able to keep each and every one of your HR tasks working in concert with one another like a finely tuned orchestra.
They also allow you to fully customize your HR package based on your organization’s needs.
Insperity gives your employees great benefits including medical, vision, and dental coverage while also allowing you to outsource processing payroll, handling W-2s, W-4s, and employment verification.
They’ll also help you with liability insurance, workers’ compensation, and other areas of risk management. This service provider helps with HR-related compliance for things like unemployment claims and government reporting.
Every business wants to retain the best talent. Insperity will help you create recognition programs, an employee handbook, and improve your employee training process.
I’d recommend Insperity to mid-market organizations. They do have solutions for businesses of five to 149 employees, but their main focus and expertise is for businesses with 150+ workers.
In addition to the full-service HR packages, you can also use Insperity for individual solutions like:
- HR consulting
- Performance reviews
- Expense reports
- Time and attendance
- Accounting and bookkeeping
Having been in business for 35 years and having over 70 offices across the country, Insperity is a top consideration for HR outsourcing that your midsize organization will never have to worry about.
#3 – ADP — Best HR Outsourcing to Handle Some (or All) of Your HR Needs
- Full-service HR solutions
- Flexible plans and services
- Solutions for any size business
- Top notch customer service
ADP offers a full-service suite of HR software and solutions.
However, I really like them because they’re great for companies that need piecemeal HR services.
Think of it like an a la carte HR solution. You might not need the full spread from payroll to retirement to insurance—and ADP allows you to choose one service or all of them!
This is great for small businesses that might not have the budget for everything under the sun. As you grow, you can add more until it makes sense to go with their PEO arrangements.
ADP also offers enterprise plans for companies with more than 1000 employees.
Some of ADPs HR services include:
- Time and attendance
- Retirement plans
- Employee management
This provider offers business insurance as well, along with group health insurance for your employees. Since ADP is such a large company, they have leverage and bargaining power with all major health insurance providers.
I also love ADP’s support team of knowledgeable HR professionals who can be reached via phone, email, or live chat. They can create and distribute all of the necessary forms, policies, and job descriptions for your organization. You can even create a custom employee handbook in compliance with local and federal laws.
They also give you guidance to help you get the optimal HR experience.
From benefits packages to compliance and setting up employee self-service tools, ADP has it all.
Their pricing is obscured on the website, but you can get a free quote from them today.
#4 – TriNet — Best for Big Business Benefits on Small Business Budgets
- Full-service HR solution
- Wide range of industries
- Comprehensive HR platform
- Flexible plans and services
TriNet is another full-service HR outsourcing solution. They provide flexible plans and services to meet the needs of any sized business.
What makes TriNet really stand out though is their ability to provide some of the most competitive benefits on the market to attract top talent.
That means they’ve partnered with some of the biggest health insurance carriers throughout the country to help you get the highest quality coverage to your employees. Some of TriNet’s top carriers include MetLife, Kaiser Permanente, Transamerica, Aetna, Aflac, MassMutual, and UnitedHealth Group.
They also offer premium benefits for dental, vision, life, disability, retirement, and transit insurance along with a massive list of voluntary benefits like home policies and even pet insurance. That’s right. You can make sure that Fido is set up, too.
TriNet’s 401k plans are flexible and transferable, and they also give you a ton of discounts for computers, books, office supplies, and even services from places like Verizon, AT&T, and AVIS.
And, of course, you get key HR services beyond benefits administration, like HR consulting, benefit options, payroll services, and risk mitigation. You’ll also benefit from TriNet’s comprehensive HR platform. This technology contains tools for employee self-service and mobile access.
The best part is that TriNet caters to startups and small businesses specifically. That means they’ll give you competitive rates even though you’re getting big-league benefits.
They work with with businesses in a wide range of industries, including:
- Financial services
- Marketing and advertising
- Life sciences
#5 – Zenefits — Best HR Platform to Wrangle Your Current HR Systems Together
- Best HR software
- Built for small businesses
- Streamline your HR tasks
- Pricing starts at $8/month
>> Compare Quotes
Zenefits is a bit unique compared to some of the other options on our list.
That’s because, technically, Zenefits is not an outsourcing service—it’s software for human resources.
They offer a way for you to integrate and centralize your HR systems into one intuitive platform. It serves the same purpose as an outsourced service in terms of ease and cost reduction. It’s also a cheaper alternative than a full-service outsourcing firm.
The best part is that it streamlines everything. You and your employees will be able to take a look at your org chart, access your benefits, request time off, and take care of onboarding all from one easy-to-navigate dashboard.
Zenefits’ software has everything you need to get your HR tasks and administration in order:
- Creating compensation packages and sending them to new hires
- Self onboarding for new employees
- Employee management tools
- PTO policies and managing time off requests
- Intelligence reports for your workforce
- Mobile accessibility (for administration and employees)
They also offer dozens of integrations out-of-the-box. The platform also has options for payroll, employee benefits, employee scheduling, and time tracking.
Most HR outsourcing services require you to get a custom quote from the provider. But, because this is software, Zenefits’ pricing is straightforward and available on the website.
- Essentials: $8/employee per month. Includes core HR features, time & scheduling, integrations, and a mobile app.
- Growth: $14/employee per month. Includes all of Essentials, plus compensation and performance management.
- Zen: $21/employee per month. Includes all of the above, plus engagement surveys, employee well-being, and Zenefits People Hub.
You can also add modules for payroll, HR advisement, and third-party benefits administration separately for monthly fees.
If your small business needs to improve the way you handle HR tasks but don’t have the funds to completely outsource the service, Zenefits is the perfect solution for you.
#6 – Engage PEO — Best HR Outsourcing for Unique Compliance Needs
- Full service PEO provider
- Manage complex HR legal needs
- Every consultant is an attorney
- Strict compliance standards
>> Compare Quotes
Engage PEO is a full-service professional employer organization. They provide a PEO experience that always aims to put the client’s needs first with its innovative business model.
What makes Engage PEO so unique as an HR services provider? It’s the people… who are also all lawyers.
Seriously. Every member of their HR consulting team is an attorney. These legal professionals have significant experience with labor and employment law.
It also means that they’ll make all of your nitty gritty compliance headaches disappear like a magical ibuprofen for annoying legal issues.
That makes this a perfect solution for companies with complex HR legal needs. We’re talking about industries with strict compliance like construction, marijuana, healthcare, security, finance, and more. Engage PEO will be a top choice for you to consider.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the top outsourced HR functions offered by this provider:
- Employee policies
- Employee handbook
- EEO, ADA, and FMLA compliance
- State and US Department of Labor and Hour compliance
- Administration of unemployment claims
- Hiring and recruitment assistance
- Background check and drug screening
- Employment practices liability insurance
- Employee training
As a PEO provider, Engage PEO also offers payroll and tax administration, workers’ compensation, risk management, employee benefits, and integrated technology solutions.
Bottom line: If you have complicated compliance matters, Engage PEO is your choice.
#7 – G&A Partners — Best HR Outsourcing for Employee Training and Development
- In business for 20+ years
- Full-service or á la cart
- Payroll, recruitment, & more
- Best for niche industries
>> Compare Quotes
G&A Partners offers full-service HR outsourcing for things like payroll, benefits, compliance, workplace safety, performance management, and recruitment.
There are two different ways that your company can work with G&A Partners—you can also work with them through a PEO or an ASO (administrative services only) model. So, they offer a little bit of flexibility in terms of what you’d like them to help you out with.
But, what I really like about G&A Partners is that they offer an automated training and development system for all of your employees. They give you access to almost 1,500 training courses that can be scaled and customized to your company’s exact needs and specs.
You can assign any number and combination of courses to your employees, and track their progress as they learn. This is a great centralized way to develop and train your employees no matter where they are in their careers.
There are also plenty of reporting tools and dashboards for you and your employees, so you all know exactly what they need to work on.
Training content includes things like quizzes, videos, interactive assignments and AICC and SCORM courses.
Is there something you want that they don’t offer? You can work external training into their programs as well.
Overall, it’s a great option if employee training and development is important to your company (and it should be).
Another unique standout of G&A Partners is its employee development services. This HR function includes candidate sourcing, job description, job postings, resume screening, and pre-hire assessments.
Once an employee is hired, this outsourced firm can handle onboarding, benefits enrollment, and performance management as well.
In addition to human resources, G&A Partners offers payroll services, benefits packages, and HR technology. They’re a particularly great and experienced choice for these types of industries:
- Health care
- Professional services
Boost your employees’ ability from the moment they’re hired by utilizing G&A Partners.
#8 – Tandem HR — Best HR Outsourcing for Minimizing Your Risk Liability
- Fully customized plans
- Easy to scale
- Wide range of services
- Full-service PEO provider
>> Compare Quotes
Tandem HR offers a wide range of human resources solutions for small businesses. This provider has the tools and expertise to help small businesses as they scale.
What sets them apart is their standout risk management solution. They give you solutions such as safety audits, OSHA record keeping, accident investigations, and more to make sure that your company is ready for the worst-case scenario.
And if things go bad, they even offer you worker’s compensation conversation and claims resolution services.
Remember: a safer workplace is a better workplace is a cheaper workplace. It benefits not only your employees, you, and your business, but it also helps everyone’s pocketbook. That’s like a quadruple win.
As a full-service PEO provider, Tandem HR also has tools and solutions for:
- Human resources
- Risk management
These custom HR solutions will help you save time, save money, boost employee productivity, retain talent, and remain compliant at the state and federal level. Get started with Tandem HR here.
How to Choose the Best HR Outsourcing Service For Your Business
With so many options at your disposal, how can you possibly know which HR service is the best?
This is the methodology that we use here at Quick Sprout. You can use it as well to help narrow down your choices.
A Hands-On vs a Hands-Off HR Partner
Every HR outsourcing company is going to offer fairly similar services: payroll, insurance, worker’s comp, and 401ks, and the like.
Where they often differ is how hands-on they’ll be with your organization and employees.
For example, some of the companies on our list are personal employer organization (PEO) providers such as ADP and Insperity. They provide businesses with HR services like payroll, benefits (such as insurance and 401k), and worker’s comp. They also can go the extra mile and assist with recruiting and onboarding, for example.
However, they’re distinct because PEO providers are considered a “co-employer” of workers. That means if there’s a legal issue with your employees, both you and your PEO provider assume responsibility. You agree beforehand on the liabilities you each assume.
A PEO provider’s hands-on role means it’s more hands-off for you, allowing you to focus your time and energy on other things.
There are also administrative service organization (ASO) services that also provide assistance in payroll and benefits, like G&A Partners. However, they’re not co-employers of your workforce.
An ASO doesn’t typically offer as comprehensive an array of services as a PEO provider—though they’ll still be able to take care of most administrative work and provide benefits like health insurance.
They’re both typically the same in cost. It just comes down to how much responsibility you’d like to assume over administering your employees’ benefits.
Customizable and Sweeping Service Packages
Of course, not every company is looking for comprehensive medical/dental/vision/veterinary insurance, with a 401k, and a gym membership to every place in town.
The HR provider you use will determine how many (or how little) services you’ll be able to access and provide for your employees.
For example, ADP TotalSource is great if you’re looking for a comprehensive PEO with payroll, time trackers, recruiting, retirement plans, medical/vision/dental insurance, and more.
G&A Partners offers a great ASO service that allows you to pick-and-choose HR services in an a la carte fashion. That might be great for building out an HR package if you have specific needs you want to home in on.
For example, maybe you own a company in an industry with strict labor compliance laws. In a situation like this, you’d benefit from an outsourced HR service like Engage PEO. They have attorneys that specialize in employment law.
Or, maybe you need an HR service that can improve your payroll process. Paychex would be the best option if you fall into this category.
Whatever unique circumstances your business might have, there is usually a human resource outsourcing service that specializes in it.
Another thing worth noting is how easy the HR service you’re considering is to use. Is it intuitive to new employees being onboarded for the first time? Can you easily approve time off requests? Can everyone find their insurance information quickly?
Make sure to request a demo from a service rep beforehand and play around on the dashboard. Make sure you can access insurance and PTO information easily at a bare minimum. Many of the services above allow you to do so.
Current Level of HR Maturity
The level of HR systems a business currently has in place should play a big role in outsourcing considerations.
Your business might be a startup looking to offer employees medical insurance and 401ks. Or your business could be an enterprise-grade operation looking to supplement (or replace) the HR department with a good third-party solution.
Outsourcing firms typically have experience working with certain types of businesses. It all really boils down to if you have an HR system already and, if you do, how long you have had it in place.
For example, if you’re a small business owner with no HR infrastructure, you want to choose a service that has experience building from the ground up with smaller organizations, such as Tandem HR.
Large companies might not need that type of assistance. Instead, a larger business might just need a certain role or task outsourced. TriNet is a good solution for flexible HR services. ADP is another good one if you already have a few HR systems but just want a platform to manage it all from a single dashboard.
No matter what, decide whether or not you’re looking to simply add onto your current HR infrastructure or if you’re looking to fully outsource it.
Prompt Customer Support
Like a jumper cable or toilet paper, the worst time to realize you don’t have adequate customer support is when you need it but don’t have it.
Some common headache-inducing examples include:
- Your employee can’t access their health insurance group ID and policy information—and have a medical emergency they need addressed ASAP.
- You need to recruit and onboard a new employee to fill a role quickly.
- There’s an issue with an employee’s or contractor’s recent paycheck.
- A global pandemic just hit and you need to completely reorganize your employee structure immediately.
That’s why the level of customer support played a large role in determining our list of HR outsourcing services.
Some HR service providers are on hand at all hours to help you at all hours of the day such as ADP. They have live payroll support available 24/7/365 to help answer any questions you might possibly have.
Paychex also has 24/7 customer support along with a massive HR online library that gives you resources and tools for everything you might need related to HR.
Also worth noting is whether the HR service you’re considering gives you a dedicated account manager. If they don’t, who is your point person when issues come up?
Be sure to note how support is doled out throughout each of the HR providers you research. Some of them offer the same level of support no matter what pricing plan you choose. Others, such as Gusto, offer more intensive, hands-on support with more expensive pricing plans.
What’s the best human resources outsourcing service? Here’s a recap of the top options reviewed in this guide:
- Paychex — Best HR outsourcing service for payroll.
- Insperity — Best HR outsourcing service for mid-market companies.
- ADP — Best HR outsourcing service for benefits administration.
- TriNet — Most flexible HR outsourcing solutions.
- Zenefits — Best HR software for small businesses.
- Engage PEO — Best HR outsourcing service for legal compliance.
- G&A Partners — Best HR outsourcing for employee onboarding and development.
- Tandem HR — Best HR outsourcing service for growing small businesses.
From payroll assistance to benefits administration and HR software, there’s an option for every business of all shapes and sizes on this list.