“We know that people issues are core to our business, but we wanted to free up time to focus on the parts of HR that only we could handle, like creating a meaningful corporate culture, developing our unique service proposition, and providing the training necessary to ensure a consistently positive experience for our customers,” said Frant. “However, as we grew, managing the sheer volume of paperwork and routine tasks became cumbersome. When our full-time staff grew to reach the Affordable Care Act mandatory coverage threshold, we knew we needed to find a larger and more experienced partner, so that we could invest our time and effort wisely and ensure our firm understanding of increasingly complex requirements.”
Because they had opted for web-based solutions for the rest of their business, including point of sale, and were looking to minimize paperwork and physical record- keeping, Frant began searching for a firm that was large enough to handle their rapid growth, while offering streamlined record-keeping and deep HR and compliance expertise. Prompt, proactive and personal service were also key factors in their search.
“We are a very customer-centric operation, so we wanted an HR partner that mirrored our values in terms of the importance of people and delivering on promises,” added Frant.
Sidewall began a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) relationship with QBS in January, 2018. Under this arrangement, QBS retains legal and compliance responsibility for Sidewall’s HR, including tax reporting, compliance and risk management, payroll and benefits administration. While Frant and her internal team maintain control of all policies and strategic HR decisions, the QBS team is available to consult with her as needed on a wide range of HR issues. This relationship allows her to avoid rote tasks and minimize potential exposure, while focusing the bulk of her time and attention on matters that drive and shape her business.
According to Frant, “Starting a business is daunting, and there are so many things to do. Given our very rapid growth and with each new restaurant that opens adding 30-40 workers to our payroll, Sidewall has been in overdrive for all of our five-year history with no sign of slowing down. QBS has been a critical part of our success by offering expertise when and where we need it, negotiating the most favorable insurance rates for us, educating us on key issues and giving us the peace of mind that comes from knowing that, unlike many hospitality operations, we won’t make HR mistakes, and that, whatever comes up, we are covered.”
While Frant is steadfast in her desire to run her own business in every sense of the word, she is quick to add that Sidewall’s exponential growth may not have been possible without access to this HR guidance and the fact that the PEO relationship takes so much off her already very full plate.
Sidewall and QBS have forged a strong and seamless working relationship, which not only helps the business run smoothly for Frant but helps make life easier and more convenient for Sidewall employees and managers. QBS’s web-based and secure technology play a huge role in driving operating efficiencies and conveniences for all involved. Sidewall is committed to being as paperless as possible, leveraging electronic onboarding and an HR portal that can be accessed anywhere and allows employees more self-service options.
Among the areas where Sidewall says QBS has been most helpful are:
– Payroll reporting and tip management. Frant notes, “There are many ways of handing these issues, and QBS has seen them all and can offer suggestions on pros and cons of each option, which is especially important when dealing with the variability of hospitality pay data.
– Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and Fair Labor Standards Act issues – ensuring fair and consistent pay, overtime management and employee classification and establishing practices for extraordinary circumstances, like possible wrongful termination.
– I-9, OSHA, Unemployment and Workers Compensation compliance
– Affordable Care Act compliance and cost-effective benefits negotiation and brokerage services. “We very much appreciate that QBS’s broker searches the market diligently each year to ensure that we are getting the best rates and the best coverage for our employees for the money we have to spend,” Frant adds.
While Frant acknowledges that some smaller organizations may be able to handle payroll and HR issues themselves, she is quick to note that hospitality industry HR is complex and time-consuming. She believes in HR, like in any other area of one’s business, it’s important to find subject matter experts to help. “When spending time on certain tasks takes you away from what you and only you can do to make your business successful, it’s time to bring in an expert. For me, that means I need to focus on how my employees feel, empowering and motivating people to do a good job, and what kind of pizza we should create next, rather than getting bogged down in filling out paperwork or negotiating insurance.”
When evaluating an expert, she says businesses should look for peer recommendations, technical evaluation, and scalability. However, she suggests that personal connection is paramount. Finding a partner that consistently does what they say they will, proactively addresses needs, adds value in all they do and is pleasant to work with makes life a lot easier. “In the end, you will spend a lot of time with an HR and payroll firm, so make sure they not only can do the job, but that they are people you’d like to talk to every day. QBS and its people are not only experts in their fields who help guide us and shape our business, but they do it with the utmost dedication to service and doing the right thing. They have become our trusted partners and friends.”
Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Travelers Rest, S.C., Quality Business Solutions, Inc. (QBS) offers a wide and comprehensive range of integrated PEO/ASO services, including payroll administration, unemployment management, insurance, benefit administration, human resources, workers’ compensation and tax reporting, that can be tailored to meet each company’s individual needs. The company employs a team of experts familiar with the most innovative and advanced business processes and strategies in these areas, providing a cost-effective outsourced solution for non-core business functions. From insight to implementation, QBS is focused on taking the burden of this type of work away from its clients, allowing them to focus on what’s most important to their business and creating long-term, cost-conscious and turnkey solutions that improve productivity, minimize risk and drive value. For more information, visit www.qualitybsolutions.net.