July 01, 2022

What Have We Learned About Staffing Efficiencies in the Last Two Years?

Featured Article
By Melanie Rhodes, Corporate Vice President, LandrumHR

The workplace certainly doesn’t look the same as it did a few years ago. The days of entire companies working out of the same physical location during standard working hours have been replaced by remote work and flexible workweek options. PEOs are having to identify the best way to communicate and provide high-touch service to clients that don’t operate the same way they have in the past. What was once a standard way of servicing clients has become a strategic mix of in-person and virtual connections.


For our firm, these changes meant we needed to look inward first to ensure our staff was prepared to meet client needs that had changed quickly. The hiring strategy for internal employees had to be evaluated to identify the key characteristics of individuals who would thrive in servicing clients through a variety of communications channels. Because employees didn’t necessarily have to live in the location of our corporate office any longer, they needed to be self-motivated to handle the requirements of their positions without someone working right next to them.

As client needs changed, we needed internal employees to collaborate with one another to discuss client challenges and develop resolutions that added real value to our clients. To evaluate internal and external communication skills for internal new hires, we incorporated the delivery of a presentation during final interviews for client-facing roles. This allowed us to experience the communication skills and confidence level of the candidates in a client-like setting.

Recognizing internal efficiencies in onboarding and new hire training was a key next step. Onboarding workflows and timelines were improved to ensure new hires received computers, headsets, and other operational equipment a few days prior to their start dates. Our new hire portal was enhanced to create a seamless virtual experience for all new hires.

With a strong emphasis on collaboration, we needed to find and implement a tool that worked well for all employees and could also be used on a smaller scale within departments and with clients. We now use Microsoft Teams to share training information and other resources, chat real time with stakeholders, hold meetings, and collaborate. This has aided us in working in a paperless environment and enabled us to train employees from anywhere. Training guides were established so everyone receives the same training, which is much more efficient and produces a more consistent result than 100 percent in-person training. Virtual meetings through Microsoft Teams have also given internal departments the flexibility to role play for training purposes, and by including employees in-person and virtually during the same exercise, everyone can participate, learn, and grow.


Embracing remote work and flexible employee work schedules has taught us a lot about the well-being of our internal employees, what they value, and how best to keep them engaged. We check in with our staff now more than ever to see how they’re doing and discuss any workload challenges. We encourage employees to attend virtual meetings with their cameras on to see faces and body language, which helps them feel connected and engaged with each other. Supervisors are equipped with tools to help them measure employee production and success. We have internal employee surveys to help us monitor job satisfaction and act quickly on employee feedback. We encourage departments and groups to gather at the corporate office throughout the year for team building fun and strategic planning.

To the best of our ability, we align employee time zones with clients as well as adjust all internal employee meetings to a time that works well no matter the geographic location. Employees have access to new tools and data and can share analytics and key performance indicators (KPIs) with our clients, which positions us as consultative partners. These efforts have made a direct impact on servicing our clients better. Our client satisfaction surveys have shown steady increases and we recently won a Best of HR Services award from Clearly Rated.

But it’s not just about the clients. We want all of our employees to feel included and supported, which gives them the confidence to service clients to the best of their ability. Using the same methods of communication for our internal employees as those we use with clients has allowed employees to become comfortable in a variety of situations. Our CEO is on a mental health task force, and we offer training and resources to our staff to ensure good mental health is a priority.


One of the most significant things the past few years have taught us is to be agile. High-touch service will always be a priority, but the way to deliver it will continue to change over time. We now strive to connect with clients in a variety of ways throughout the year, including in-person meetings, virtual check-ins, and video email messages. While driving to an in-person meeting with donuts for the office may still be effective, the ability to have meaningful strategic conversations virtually with client decision-makers now provides options to touch base more often.

During our process evaluations, we were surprised at the amount of time employees were spending pushing things through our systems. Looking ahead, we will focus on automating the processes that do not include client interactions to better use employee resources for client-facing needs. We would also like to better equip our supervisors who haven’t managed remote teams before with enhanced business intelligence tools to monitor production and communication, along with the knowledge to support team relationship-building skills. As the pendulum swings back to more in-person meetings, we will concentrate on building hubs for hiring new staff, allowing employees to get together in person periodically in locations convenient to them.

It’s important to take the necessary steps internally to position your employees to be their best selves. For us, this centered on creating efficiencies and supporting our employees’ growth and development on a much wider scale. It’s all about embracing the changes happening around us, adjusting often, and not losing sight of our goals.

Read in NAPEO's PEO Insider June/July 2022 Issue