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Dave Foxall TriNet HR Outsourcing Services Review

3.5 stars Average rating: 3.5 (from 103 votes)
 By Dave Foxall

An Independent HR Outsourcing Vendor Solution Brief

TriNet was founded in 1988 in San Leandro, California and after seven years of steady growth, 1995 saw two milestones. First, TriNet received its accreditation from ESAC, the nationally recognized body that sets financial, responsibility and certification standards for HR service firms (TriNet has been recertified every year since). Second, the company was included on Inc. Magazine's list of fastest-growing privately-held US-based companies—a list that the company has subsequently spent more time on than off during the last two decades. The 2000s saw a period of acquisition and further growth within the market with the addition of Boston-based outsourcer HR Logic; the E3 Group in Texas; the west coast assets of ALTRES; the Outsource Group; John Parry & Alexander (JPA); and LMC Resources, Inc. With the addition of Florida-based Gevity HR, Inc. TriNet became the industry's second largest Professional Employer Organization (PEO).

TriNet's HR Outsourcing Service Offering

TriNet offers an all-in-one comprehensive HR business process outsourcing (BPO) solution that includes: benefits, payroll, workers' compensation, and strategic human capital. Of course, TriNet's core services are payroll and tax administration, risk and compliance protection, and benefits plans; however, supplementing these areas allows for a variety of additional human resources services to be added—making TriNet a true one-stop-shop; including:

Payroll & Tax Administration

  • Facilitation and administration of all payroll needs, including direct deposit, payroll and employment tax, W–2 preparation and delivery.
  • Detailed HR reporting capabilities enable a strategic understanding of payroll and benefits spending with more than 20 standard reports, including payroll register, departmental sorts and job costing.

Risk and Compliance Protection

  • An innovative shared employer relationship model – a Professional Employer Organization – allows TriNet to assume many of the responsibilities of being an employer on behalf of its customers.
  • Many of the risks associated with paying workers, administering payroll and benefits, and complying with business regulations are covered by TriNet's services.

Benefits Plans

  • TriNet offers a wide selection of top-tier, comprehensive benefits plans.
  • The breadth of coverage ranges from comprehensive medical, life, and disability insurance to commuter benefits and Employee Assistance programs.

For these core HR services, TriNet offers a suite of web-based manager and employee self-service software to conduct transactions such as: hiring and terminating employees, adjusting employee pay, viewing real-time benefits data, and creating compensation reports. The same self service system allows employees to view and manage their own payroll information, enroll in benefits and view paystubs and W-2s.

As part of broadening the service offering to provide a full range of HR functions, TriNet also offers a selection of "Strategic Services" (comprising software, workshops and consultancy) that together comprise the following:

  • A web-based performance management application focused on performance reviews and a clear alignment of employee and company goals.
  • The Embracing Leadership workshop.
  • A 3-tier talent acquisition service.
  • A web-based employee development platform providing on-demand training opportunities.
  • The Career Transitions workshop, which supports terminated employees as they move to the next step in their careers.
  • The Corporate Ethics Program, which provides incident awareness and resolution best practices in support of governance, risk, and compliance initiatives.
  • The Team Accelerator service, which offers individual talent and strength assessment in the context of team performance.
  • Compensation Consulting, which helps define compensation strategy in line with business objectives.
  • Time and Attendance, which provides a comprehensive management solution for all employees, including hourly and project-based labor.

These services are integrated through a single sign-on to TriNet's HR Passport, making it easy for customers to integrate these capabilities throughout their organization.

TriNet's Customer Target Market & Perfect Prospect Profile (PPP)

As one of the industry's biggest PEO players, the company serves more than 5,000 clients with a base of more than 88K employees. Notable examples of the company's customers include: Jacksboro National Bank, United Community Bank, FEI, the Shea Center, Socket, Global Logic, The Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation, Families International Incorporated, EDL Consulting, Globalware Solutions, Vista Ventures, and Vimac Ventures.

While TriNet's services specifically target small to mid-sized businesses (i.e. a range of 10 to 400+ employees), the market sectors and industries that TriNet explicitly deals with include: Banking & Financial Services, Biotech & Life Sciences, Health Care, High Technology, Non-Profits, Professional Services, and Venture Capital.

TriNet's Primary Competitors

Other service providers offering similar PEO and HR services with a focus on small to mid-sized clients include Insperity, Inc., Paychex, Oasis Outsourcing, Administaff and CBIZ, Inc.

Strengths of TriNet's HR Outsourcing Service

  • TriNet's services are accessed via their web-based HR Passport application. The Passport uses an Oracle-PeopleSoft technology platform in which TriNet has invested more than $30 million, creating role-based, self-service capabilities to help employees, managers, and executives with information access.
  • A broad package of core HR solutions with comprehensive supporting options allowing interested clients to hand over virtually the entire HR function if they so desire.
  • TriNet's service model matches the needs of the client's workforce to specific members of the TriNet service team; ensuring a high level of personalized service.
  • As the second largest PEO in the US market, TriNet's size and stability as a service provider create client confidence.
  • While slow, the website user experience is easy to navigate and provides a simple access point that smaller organizations will especially find useful.

Weaknesses of TriNet's HR Outsourcing Service

  • Customization, for services that fall outside of the TriNet norm, has been cited as an exceedingly slow process that can still result in errors.
  • TriNet's call center staff have been roundly criticized for lacking both operational as well as individual client-level knowledge.
  • Smaller outsourcing firms can likely provide a much higher degree of dedicated attention to individual client issues.
  • Customer satisfaction from an employee perspective is a mixed bag, with employees from smaller companies praising TriNet and other, larger organizations' staffs citing TriNet for poor customer service, questionable business practices, and inordinately long wait times for call center responses.

Bottom-line for TriNet's HR Outsourcing Service

Given TriNet's track record, service range, and overall business performance, it's not a stretch to say that the company comes close to equipping their customers with the TriNet objective of "an unparalleled ability to acquire the best employees, align workforce goals with high-level company objectives, drive new levels of performance and productivity, and develop and mentor their future leaders". However, TriNet has also had some significant missteps in terms of soured customer relationships and many organizations may decide that a partnership with a more evenly-sized HR provider could suit them better. Whatever the case may be, organizations considering leveraging a PEO such as TriNet should be sure to exercise due diligence in order to determine if HR outsourcing is the right fit for their specific company and circumstances. End

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Author  Author: Dave Foxall
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TriNet offers a suite of web-based manager and employee self-service software to conduct transactions such as hiring and terminating employees, adjusting employee pay, viewing real-time benefits data, and creating compensation reports.


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