Top HR Consulting & PEO Firms in Knoxville

Are you a business owner or HR leader in the Knoxville area looking for various types of HR support? HR support and consulting can range from a few hundred dollars all the way up to tens of thousands of dollars per month. Here is a fast breakdown of the types of services HR consulting companies provide and a quick definition of each.

We’ve also reviewed local and regional Knoxville-based providers below so depending on what you’re looking for, we can point you to the right provider.

Need HR Infrastructure

For small companies, you sometimes need the basics to get started. You need an employee handbook, pick payroll provider, onboarding forms, and basic compliance in different states.

Need Monthly Ongoing HR Advice

For small companies, you can’t hire a full-time person for HR but you still have HR needs. Every month certain things have to happen such as payroll getting run, reports being submitted to each state, HR compliance questions, and someone to help onboard and offboard employees. There are HR consulting companies to help you with this.

You Want to Outsource HR Projects

You may have one-off projects like a strategic hire you want to outsource, or you want someone to build a training program for your company. There are hundreds of types of one-off projects that may need to be accomplished where you need a training consultant.

You Want to Outsource All or Portions of HR

Some companies decide not to hire HR people as they grow. Instead they outsource all or certain functions of their HR. This can happen in a lot of different ways but thinks like payroll processing, benefits administration, recruiting, and the HR hotline can all be full outsourced or certain functions can be outsourced. Everyone is still hired as an employee of your organization, you just don’t need actual W-2 HR employees or you may only have one or two HR people vs building out an entire team.

You Want to Outsource to a PEO (Professional Employer Organization)

Many people are confused about a PEO and exactly what it is. At it’s most basic level, a PEO takes on employing all your employees. Your organization has little to no employees and everyone works for the PEO (but they still do tasks for your company). This usually has a per employee cost but the benefits are mostly reduced risk and better benefits than a small business can get on their own.

In this article, we aim to simplify this process by highlighting the top five HR outsourcing service providers and PEOs in Knoxville and providing you with important tips to help you choose the best fit for your business.

Why Should a Business in Knoxville Consider HR Outsourcing?

  • Many small businesses hire an HR person once they get to a certain size (50+) employees. When you’re a small business you have a decision of having someone internally handle HR that also has other responsibilities, hiring part-time HR employees or looking for an third party service to help 
  • Understanding HR can be very difficult, there are a lot of unique situations that come up where having professional support would help
  • Not having appropriate HR representation can be very risky and potentially expensive. Ensuring you have the right setup, processes, and ongoing support is critical
  • For most businesses your people are your business. Ensuring you’re hiring the right people and making sure they’re engaged is critical – not all business owners know how to do that.  

5 Best HR Consulting and PEO Firms in Knoxville

1. Integrity HR Services, LLC

Integrity HR Services, LLC, stands out in Knoxville for its dedication to providing comprehensive human resources solutions tailored to the unique needs of small and medium-sized businesses. They emphasize personal touch and local expertise, ensuring that each client receives customized support for all their HR needs, from payroll and employee benefits to compliance and risk management. Their focus on fostering strong client relationships and delivering cost-effective, high-quality services makes them a trusted partner in managing the complexities of human resources.

Address: 318 Nancy Lynn Lane, Suite 22, Knoxville, TN 37919
Phone Number: Office: 865-862-7284, Cell: 865-209-9358
City: Knoxville

Key Features:

  1. Specializes in human resources services for businesses.
  2. Offers brokering and benefit administration and payroll services.
  3. Tailored HR solutions for small and medium-sized businesses.
  4. Focuses on personalized service and local expertise.

Pros:

  1. Comprehensive HR services from payroll to compliance.
  2. Customized support tailored to each business’s unique needs.
  3. Strong focus on client relationships and quality service.

Cons:

  1. May be more suited to small and medium-sized businesses rather than very large corporations.
  2. The specialized focus on HR may not cater to companies looking for broader business consultancy services.
  3. Physical location in Knoxville might limit in-person service to regional clients​​.

2. Lyons HR

Lyons HR serves the Knoxville area with a full range of human resources services, focusing on the efficiency and effectiveness of small and medium-sized businesses’ HR functions. They are known for their comprehensive PEO services, including employee benefits management, payroll processing, HR compliance, and risk management. Lyons HR distinguishes itself with its commitment to personal service and expertise in navigating the intricacies of employment law, providing businesses with peace of mind and the ability to focus on growth. Address: 424 Ebenezer Road, Knoxville, TN 37923 Phone Number: 865-221-7932 City: Knoxville, TN Key Features:
  1. Comprehensive PEO services
  2. Employee benefits management
  3. Payroll processing
  4. HR compliance and risk management
Pros:
  1. Lyons HR has earned a remarkable client rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars based on 167 ratings, indicating high satisfaction levels among their clients​​.
  2. The company has been recognized with the 2024 Best of HR Services award, showcasing their excellence in service quality within the HR services industry​​.
  3. Testimonials highlight Lyons HR’s commitment to personal service, quick responses, and efficient assistance, ensuring clients’ HR needs are met with a personal touch​​.
Cons:
  1. While Lyons HR specializes in PEO services, businesses looking for more niche or specialized HR services might need to look elsewhere for those specific needs.
  2. For companies outside of Lyons HR’s primary service areas, there may be limitations in accessing their full range of services or experiencing potential differences in service quality or responsiveness.
  3. Specific details about pricing or the cost of services are not readily available on their website, which may require potential clients to reach out directly for quotes, potentially slowing down the decision-making process.

3. Marvel HR

Marvel HR in Knoxville specializes in creating a winning workforce by offering comprehensive HR services designed to improve employee experiences and operational efficiency. Their services range from HR compliance, consulting, and technology solutions to employee engagement, payroll processing, and benefits administration. Marvel HR is recognized for its customizable solutions tailored to meet specific business needs, ensuring that companies can leverage cost savings, access to expertise, and compliance with labor laws. Their dedication to personal service and the ability to handle complex HR tasks efficiently makes them an ideal partner for businesses aiming to optimize their human resources management​​​​.
  • Address: 6025 Brookvale Lane, Suite 211, Knoxville, TN 37919
  • Phone Number: Not explicitly listed on the provided pages.
  • City: Knoxville, TN
Key Features:
  1. Marvel HR offers comprehensive training for managers and employees on navigating their software, ensuring familiarity with its functionalities​​.
  2. They provide a cloud-based software that streamlines HR functions, including electronic onboarding, employee self-service pages, and benefits administration, tailored to each client’s needs​​.
  3. Marvel HR offers customized payroll services with a high attention to detail to ensure payroll is processed accurately and on time, along with dedicated payroll specialists for each client​​.
  4. Their HR services include compliance, consulting, employee engagement, and strategic HR solutions to improve operational efficiency and employee experiences.
Pros:
  1. Tailored services to meet specific business needs, ensuring optimal employee experience and company branding.
  2. Clients can leverage Marvel HR’s expertise in HR management and technology solutions for better compliance and operational efficiency.
  3. Their services help businesses streamline processes and ensure compliance with labor laws, reducing the risk of legal issues.
Cons:
  1. There is no explicit information on pricing or costs associated with their services, which could be a consideration for budget-conscious businesses.
  2. The lack of an easily found phone number on the website could make initial contact slightly more challenging for potential clients.
  3. While their technology solutions offer many benefits, businesses not comfortable with digital transformations might find the adjustment challenging.

4. Robert Half

Robert Half is a global leader in professional staffing and consulting services, with a strong presence in Knoxville. They specialize in matching skilled professionals with companies in need of temporary, temporary-to-hire, and permanent staffing solutions across various sectors, including finance, accounting, IT, legal, and administrative roles. Robert Half’s unique approach involves a deep understanding of the local job market and industries, combined with their vast network of skilled professionals, enabling them to provide unparalleled service in meeting Knoxville businesses’ staffing and consulting needs. Key features:
  1. Specialized staffing and recruitment services focusing on finance, accounting, IT, and administrative support.
  2. Leverages a global network alongside deep local market insights to match candidates with companies.
  3. Offers a full spectrum of staffing solutions, including temporary, permanent, and project-based placements.
  4. Recognized for exceptional service and a commitment to ethical business practices, holding a strong reputation in the professional staffing industry.
Pros:
  1. Extensive experience with over seven decades in the staffing industry, providing a deep understanding of employer needs and candidate qualifications.
  2. Comprehensive services covering a range of professional fields from entry-level positions to executive roles.
  3. Highly regarded for its ethical standards and equal opportunity employment practices, ensuring a fair and inclusive recruiting process.
Cons:
  1. The broad scope of services and wide range of industries covered may not cater to highly specialized niche markets.
  2. As a large, global company, the personal touch and individualized service may vary depending on the specific office or recruiter.

5. Snelling ProSearch

Snelling ProSearch in Knoxville offers a blend of traditional and innovative staffing solutions to meet the evolving needs of the job market. They provide temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire staffing services across a wide range of industries, including administrative, medical, technical, and professional fields. Snelling ProSearch is known for its rigorous candidate screening process, ensuring that businesses receive highly qualified individuals tailored to their specific requirements. Their commitment to excellence and understanding of the local labor market dynamics makes them a valuable resource for Knoxville companies seeking top talent. Address: 10805 Kingston Pike #110, Knoxville, TN 37934 Phone Number: (865) 777-2150 City: Knoxville, TN Key Features:
  1. Over 50 years of service in East Tennessee, with recognition as Best Employment Agency, Best of Staffing, and Best Headhunters.
  2. Services span across Law & Legal, Accounting & Finance, Human Resources, Sales & Marketing, Logistics & Supply Chain, Administrative Roles, and Professional Management/Operations.
  3. Utilization of state-of-the-art AI and recruitment automation tools for unmatched access to opportunities and talent.
  4. Established presence in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Johnson City, Tennessee, as well as Tampa and Orlando, Florida, enhancing their ability to serve a diverse client base.
Pros:
  1. Ensures businesses receive highly qualified individuals tailored to their specific needs.
  2. Blends traditional methods with cutting-edge technology for efficient staffing processes.
  3. Offers unique insights and expertise across a variety of specialized roles, ensuring the right fit for both companies and professionals.
Cons:
  1. While they have a broad reach, their focus on certain regional areas might not cater to all potential clients outside these regions.
  2. More in-depth information on each service offering could provide clearer expectations for clients and candidates alike.

How to Choose the Right HR Outsourcing Service

  • Packaging – Different HR outsourcing vendors have different packages they often. Below are the most common types of packages. You need to find someone that provides exactly what you’re looking for.
  • Offers the right types of services – Not all HR outsourcing firms are the same. If you need recruitment services and they don’t offer recruitment, that’s not ideal. You’ll want to consider your current needs and what your needs may be as your company grows
  • Support – This is the big one. How do they support the account. Some HR outsourcing companies provide support locally, regionally, or even overseas. Will you have a dedicated account manager? Do they have things like employment lawyers on staff if you have questions. I’d think through your most common use cases and then ask the vendor how they’ll support that
  • Location – There are local vendors, regional players, and national players. For the most part local players only focus on companies in that city/state. Regional focus on an area of states usually. National are focused across the US. If you want local support and a local person to talk to everytime, you want to consider their location. Some of the national players will have local support to help sell the deal, but when you call customer support the person isn’t local.
  • Pricing – Along with packaging, pricing can differ quite a bit. Some of these services start as low as a few hundred dollars a month for phone/email support. Others will fully outsource your HR and you’ll be paying thousands per month. Try and figure out what you need now vs what you need in the future. 

Conclusion

In summary, HR outsourcing is an increasingly strategic choice for Knoxville businesses because it offers a blend of expertise, efficiency and cost-effectiveness. By choosing the right outsourcing partner, companies can navigate complex HR landscapes, ensure compliance and drive growth. This article outlines the top 5 HR consulting & PEO firms in Knoxville and gives you key tips for choosing a suitable provider. Whether it’s cost management, access to specialized services or scaling operations, HR outsourcing is a flexible solution tailored to the diverse needs of Knoxville’s dynamic business environment.

FAQs

Are there local HR outsourcing firms in Knoxville that specialize in small businesses?

Yes, firms like Integrity HR Services, LLC, and Marvel HR offer tailored HR solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, focusing on personalized service and local expertise.

What is the difference between a PEO and traditional HR outsourcing?

A PEO (Professional Employer Organization) provides comprehensive HR services including employee benefits management as a co-employer of your staff, while traditional HR outsourcing may offer a more a la carte selection of services without the co-employer relationship.

Is HR outsourcing affordable for startups and small businesses?

HR outsourcing can be quite affordable, with options ranging from basic support packages to more comprehensive services. The cost depends on the level of service required, but it can be a cost-effective solution for businesses that are not ready to hire a full-time HR team.

What should I look for in an HR outsourcing firm’s track record?

Look for firms with strong client testimonials, high satisfaction ratings, industry awards, and a history of success in helping businesses similar to yours manage their HR functions effectively.

How do HR outsourcing firms handle compliance and risk management?

They typically offer expert guidance on employment law, help implement compliant HR policies and practices, conduct risk assessments, and provide training to ensure that businesses minimize legal risks and remain compliant with local and federal regulations.

HR Services Regularly Outsourced:

HR Management and Admin Services

  • Termination processing
  • Promotion and transfer processing
  • New employee onboarding
  • New hire/rehire processing

Compliance:

  • Establishing corporate policy manuals and employee handbooks
  • Printing and distribution of compliance documentation
  • HR audits and full summary reports
  • EEO-1/VETS-100 reporting
  • Compliance assistance and response to formal HR complaints
  • Electronic I-9 file compliance audit
  • E-Verify services
  • Employment posters distribution

Strategic HR Services:

  • Performance management, succession planning, employee engagement consulting
  • Creating job descriptions on behalf of the company
  • State unemployment guidance (key strategy depending on the type of business)
  • Custom exit interviews for employees leaving the organization
  • Any type of project based consulting
  • General legal advice from an employment perspective (most have employment lawyers on retainer or staff)
  • Custom training projects
      • Compliance

      • Leadership development

      • Coaching

      • Harassment

      • Safety, etc.

  • Online employee training (compliance or otherwise)
  • Drug and background check process
  • Salary survey work to determine correct pay ranges by location

Payroll Services:

Payroll Processing:

  • Providing weekly summary for management to approve
  • Setup of payroll in HRIS/HRMS
  • Initiating payroll cycles
  • Calculating pay
  • Investigating and resolving calculation errors
  • Handling payroll audit issues
  • Schedule annual payroll calendars
  • Retroactive payment calculations
  • Special payment type processing

Deductions:

  • Submitting and approving deduction data
  • Inputting deductions
  • Reviewing and resolving process errors
  • Providing remittance payment instructions
  • Arrears deduction processing

Payroll Files:

  • Monthly/quarterly/yearly commission
  • Bonuses
  • Annual flex perk
  • Annual sick time
  • Annual merit

Payroll Taxes:

  • Calculating and deducting federal, state, and local taxes
  • Preparing and filing payroll tax returns
  • Completing payroll regulatory reporting
  • Handling W-2 preparation and distribution
  • Processing tax adjustments/corrections
  • Handling tax withholdings on non-wage earnings
  • Handling unemployment insurance provider data files

Payroll Reporting:

  • Providing payroll operating reports
  • Offering ad hoc payroll reports
  • Providing employment and wage verifications
  • Handling new hire reporting
  • Multisite reporting

Distribution:

  • Preparing payment distribution
  • Processing direct deposits and print/distributing checks if necessary

Data Maintenance:

  • Submitting and approving employee record changes.

Benefits Administration Services:

Guest Services:

  • Handling employee and customer inquiries
  • First-line support for questions
  • Interpretation of plan designs and policies
  • Incoming inquiries management

Enrollment:

  • Ongoing benefit enrollment and general assistance.
  • Annual enrollment

Event Change Processing:

  • Processing change-in-status events
  • ACA compliance reporting

Premium Administration:

  • Calculating monthly premiums
  • Reconciliation with carrier invoices
  • Benefits billing
  • Benefits billing for participants requiring direct payments

 

Ongoing Services HR Outsourcing Companies Can Provide

 Ongoing Service Delivery:

  • Any calls/questions made to HR

  • Managing and maintaining employee online records

  • Single point of contact for routine service requests

  • Corporate communications assistance

  • Setting up global notifications and HR process escalations

  • Ad-hoc HR reports

  • Maintain security access for system users

  • Updating job descriptions

  • HR action form assistance

  • Communication assistance with vendors

  • Tools and tracking for industry-specific reports

  • System training and tools for clients

  • Recruiting support (excluding sourcing and screening)

  • Rejection letters, disciplinary letters, and offer letters

  • FMLA/LOA administration

  • State unemployment compensation processing

This summary includes a wide range of HR and payroll services that HR outsourcing companies can provide to small businesses. The specific services you choose should be based on your business’s needs and priorities

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