Optimum HR Review
Optimum HR is a professional employer organization (PEO) that provides payroll processing, employee benefits administration, hiring and onboarding services, compliance and risk management, performance management, employee training, and HR software. Pricing varies depending on the size of your organization and services required.
Human resources is an involved process for any company, but HR for small businesses is even more complex because you likely don’t have on-site staff members to handle this vital aspect of your business. And between hiring and onboarding new employees, managing employee benefits, measuring employee performance, and more, there are a lot of things to keep track of. Using a third-party service can simplify the process, but finding one that can tackle all of your HR to-dos can be challenging. That’s where a human resource information system (HRIS) like Optimum HR comes in.
In their own words, Optimum HR (also known as Optimum Employer Solutions) offers their clients a “dedicated point of contact” while being large enough to provide small businesses with all the services they need at an affordable rate. Because of this, Optimum reports a 93% customer retention rate.
Sounds great—but in the interest of helping small business owners, let’s do a little more digging. In this Optimum HR review, we’ll break down everything Optimum HR offers, from features to pricing, to determine if they’re really the right HRIS for your small business. We’ll also suggest a few alternatives so you can come away with a complete picture of the small business HR market.
Optimum HR: The Basics
Optimum HR is a specific type of HR services provider known as a professional employer organization (PEO). A PEO works with small and midsize businesses to provide human resources support, payroll services, benefits, and other administrative services. What makes a PEO different from a regular HR services provider is that a PEO co-employs a company’s employees.
This means that the PEO shares liability with the employer, and is legally responsible for paying your employees and dealing with taxes, benefits, insurance, and other agreed-upon HR-related matters. The benefit for you, the employer, is that the PEO is highly incentivized to provide top-notch service, given that they share liability.
The other reason small businesses choose to work with PEOs is that it gives them access to more comprehensive and affordable benefits packages. This is because PEOs are able to group employees from all their client companies together, giving them the buying power of a larger organization.
As a PEO, Optimum HR specializes in providing hiring and onboarding services, risk management, benefits administration, payroll, employee training services, and HR software. These services are available for all business types, and Optimum HR also allows you to add on or take away specific services to create a solution that matches your business’s specific needs Payroll processing, HR software, HR support, 401(k) plans, and employment practices liability insurance come standard.
When you contract with Optimum HR, you will be assigned a payroll professional, benefits professional, and HR professional who will collectively manage your account.
So that’s the basics on Optimum HR. Now let’s learn a little bit more about each of the services they provide.
Optimum HR Services
As a PEO, you can expect a lot of different services out of Optimum HR. Let’s explain each service in more detail:
Optimum HR partners with national insurance carriers to provide a full range of employee benefits. Employers will be able to select from HMO, PPO, and high-deductible (HDHP) medical insurance plans that cover preventive, routine, and emergency care, as well as prescription drugs. There are also HMO and PPO dental plans that cover routine cleanings, x-rays, major restorative services, and orthodontia; and vision plans that cover eye exams, eyeglasses, and contact lenses.
Other benefits offered through Optimum HR include:
- 401(k) plans: 401(k) paperwork, compliance, and testing is managed by Optimum HR in its entirety.
- Flexible spending accounts (FSA): Set aside pre-tax income for eligible health care and dependent care expenses.
- Health savings accounts (HSA): Used in conjunction with an HDHP to allow employees to set aside pre-tax income for eligible healthcare expenses.
- Life insurance: Flat-rate and one-time annual salary plans are available.
- Short- and long-term disability insurance: If an employee becomes disabled or is unable to work for an extended period of time, this insurance plan will replace a portion of their income.
- Employee assistance program (EAP): With an EAP, employees receive a confidential 24-hour hotline for family, health, and other personal matters.
- Employee discount program: Provides corporate discounts on movie tickets, theme parks, retail goods, and more.
- Critical illness insurance: Reimburses eligible expenses when a critical illness such as heart attack, stroke, or cancer occurs.
- Pet insurance: Coverage for eligible veterinary expenses such as major illness or surgery.
- Pre-paid legal: Employees will have access to on-call attorneys for a monthly fee.
- Accident insurance: Reimburses eligible expenses such as ambulance transfer, emergency treatment, hospitalization, or surgery when a major accident occurs.
With Optimum HR’s payroll system, you’ll get the following features:
- Web-based payroll processing
- Payroll tax filing
- Direct deposit or traditional checks
- Garnishment processing
- Paid time off tracking
- W-2 preparation and mailing
- Time and attendance
- Payroll reports and registers
- Job costing
- Web portal for managers
- Web portal for employees
Furthermore, your Optimum HR payroll professional will assist you with payroll processing during every payroll period.
Hiring and Onboarding
When it comes to hiring and onboarding, Optimum HR provides their clients with a range of consulting services. Clients can receive interview training to ensure they ask the right questions to find the best employees. Optimum HR can also assist with salary benchmarking so that you know what competitive compensation looks like for each role, and background checks that include education verification, credit history, driving record, and drug testing.
When it comes time to onboard, Optimum HR provides an online system for filling out and filing all new hire paperwork.
Compliance and Risk Management
Optimum HR provides a myriad of services to ensure your company is compliant with state and federal laws, including:
- HR audit and best practices
- Employee handbooks, company policy, and job description development
- Employment law updates
- Standard employee/employer forms
- Secure employee file administration
- Unemployment claims support
- Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI)
- Workers’ compensation insurance and claims support
Optimum HR can consult with employers on how to set performance expectations for employees. Specifically, Optimum HR can help you develop a performance management process, write job descriptions, define goals, and determine improvement protocol. If employees are not performing as expected or are having interpersonal issues, Optimum HR will work with you to properly approach these situations. In the event an employee needs to be terminated, Optimum HR will guide you through the process to minimize potential issues.
Optimum HR offers hundreds of different training courses to you and your employees. All courses are conducted onsite at your place of business and feature role-playing and interactive activities. Examples of some of the classes Optimum HR offers include harassment prevention, positive discipline, conflict resolution, delegating effectively, and basic workplace safety.
Optimum HR’s cloud-based HR software provides you and your employees with round-the-clock access to important HR information. From the Optimum HR dashboard employers can do everything from processing payroll to managing new hires and terminations to running reports on employee efficiency, total cost of labor, and more.
There is also an employee interface where your staff can view paychecks, W-2s, and paid time off balances, and update personal contact information and payroll data.
Optimum HR offers phone support during regular business hours. There is also a customer support request form you can submit. For additional help, Optimum has a blog with articles related to HR best practices.
Optimum HR Pricing
Optimum HR does not go into specifics about pricing on their website. Rather, it’s quote-based, depending on which services you need, the costs for similar services today, and which health benefits (if any) you choose. Optimum HR does bill a flat rate per employee per month.
As previously stated, all Optimum HR plans come with payroll processing, HR software, HR support, 401(k) plans, and EPLI. Additional services will cost extra. Note that you must sign an annual contract to work with Optimum HR, and provide a 30-day notice if you wish to cancel your service.
Optimum HR Pros
Now that we have touched on everything Optimum HR provides, let’s hone in on what we see as the benefits of this HRIS:
Ease of Use
Optimum HR provides a sleek and modern interface that allows employees and managers to handle HR-related matters with ease. Furthermore, Optimum HR’s payroll, benefits, and HR professionals make sure your HR operations are handled compliantly and efficiently. In addition, the Optimum HR website is easy to navigate and clearly explains all the services Optimum HR provides.
By virtue of being a large PEO, Optimum HR has a lot of buying power in the market. This means that you can offer fairly comprehensive benefits packages to your employees—and users say the rates they charge are reasonable. Furthermore, with benefits like an employee assistance program and pet insurance, it’s fair to say that Optimum HR is considering the needs of all of their clients.
Optimum HR Cons
The one complaint we have with Optimum HR is the pricing model. Competitors like Gusto and Zenefits offer transparent pricing models, which provides business owners the peace of mind that they are getting a good deal. We’d like to see Optimum HR offer a similar pricing model that prioritizes the needs of the business owner.
It’s also worth noting that there are no reviews of Optimum HR on major review websites. This is pretty surprising for a business founded in 2006. This isn’t necessarily a con for Optimum HR, but it is certainly odd.
Optimum HR Alternatives
If you want to explore options outside of Optimum HR, here are our other HRIS recommendations:
TriNet is one of the largest PEOs in the U.S., serving over 323,000 employees and processing $37 billion in payroll in 2017. Along with payroll, TriNet can handle tax administration, HR consulting, benefits administration, expense management, and time and attendance tracking. TriNet also comes with an employee portal that provides your staff access to their paycheck and benefits information. There is also a reporting suite with 20 standard and customizable reports to help you gain insight into your labor costs.
TriNet assesses fees on a per-employee per month basis. On the software review website G2 Crowd, TriNet ranks in the 73rd percentile in terms of HR software pricing—which is on the more expensive side. However, since Optimum HR’s pricing isn’t readily available, it’s unclear which is more expensive. TriNet’s cost is impacted by the number of employees in your company, and the selection of additional services you plan to use with TriNet.
Another PEO alternative to Optimum HR with a large market presence is Paychex. Paychex is one of the oldest HR service providers in the U.S., and currently works with over 650,000 employees. With Paychex, you get payroll processing, tax administration, risk management services, employee hiring and onboarding services, insurance products, time tracking and attendance, payment processing, marketing tools, and several additional services.
The products you have access to depend on the pricing plan you select. Currently Paychex offers four different subscription plans, from the bare-bones Paychex Payroll plan to the scalable Paychex Flex Enterprise plan.
For a limited time only, Paychex is offering 3 months free payroll; so if you’re thinking of refreshing your payroll services in 2020, now is a great time to get Paychex.
Optimum HR appears to offer a highly personalized and multifaceted PEO product. However, without a lot of customer feedback, it is hard to know exactly what kind of experience you will be getting with Optimum HR. So this goes back to our initial question: Do we take Optimum HR at their word about the quality of service they provide?
That’s risky, especially with something as important as you HR operations. We recommend contacting Optimum HR for a free demo to learn more about this HRIS and how it can serve your business’s needs.