Cognet HRO: Save our CFO a Case Study

For one of our clients, the CFO had too much on his plate. The CEO needed his help due to substantial revenue growth. But, he had to deal with bank recons, journal entries, lack of staff, lack of time and the day-to-day finance tasks that, while necessary, take focus away from building the business.

Learn how cognet came to rescue

Cognet HRO: It’s Time to Focus on Growth

Part of an adaptive business is knowing how to deal with good problems, like growth. The focus of the media and water cooler chatter revolving around the outsourcing business is fear. Fear works, and when you consider we ourselves are in the outsourcing business, you think we would understand it a little more than the average monger. So why would you believe that your business is any different than your customers?

Let’s examine the dual personalities of this dilemma:

  • We sell our clients on outsourcing HR because they can be more focused on revenue growth and customer service, not a cost of doing business. Let the experts handle that, please.
  • However, we don’t sell ourselves on our own concepts. Aren’t there tasks and processes within our business today that aren’t core to providing HR Outsourcing?
  • Do you really think your favorite restaurant baked that bread they put on the table? Let us offer you a slice of advice.

    Outsourcer, outsource thyself!

    Oh sure, you may be a control freak and honestly believe that nobody else on earth could possibly understand those freakishly difficult garnishments, but just hear us out. Now that we have established that fact, let’s dig a little deeper into the reasons why you should consider outsourcing your non-core processes.

  • Growth requires capacity. What happens when you double the size of the company because the orders start streaming in with the recovery, or you acquire a new business? Do you follow the same business model of hiring more people at Corporate and threatening the point of diminishing returns on the EBITDA line?
  • Focus of your Fab Five. We all have five or more people who really run the company, and we can name them without blinking. They are usually a hybrid of “doers” and “thinkers” who are in the trenches with our customers. Typically, as you grow they may get promoted and gradually taken away from that contact to manage internally, rather than solving problems for customers. You can avoid this inevitability, or at least the sound of it.
  • Customers don’t care about or want to pay for Cost Centers. Sure, they understand that your accounting department has to pay the bills or make that critical rent accrual, but they don’t care. They want you to be creative and as efficient as they have to be to stay in business.
  • Strength in Numbers. We know you want to finish those process maps and have your Quality Department full of “six sigma blackbelts” completely obsessed with process improvement, but who has the time. Well, the right partner whose sole purpose in life is to measure, map and improve will do that for you.
  • Do your clients fire people in HR the minute they hire you? Not really – the most successful ones have leveraged you to focus those team members on the things they want them to do, rather than what they have been doing.

    The Best of Both Worlds is what we suggest and do every day. Let Cognet apply actual subject matter expertise in your business to solve your transactional and support requirements, and even improve them. That allows your best and brightest to provide exceptional customer service, develop new products and find savings along the way.

    Sure, we can save you money instantly if it makes sense to your organization, but we are also smart enough to know that being better and more focused pays dividends quickly as well. We are about building sustainable business models, not short-term gain.

    If you want to catch the fish of choice, hire a guide and let them do their job. Catch Cognet.

    Cognet HRO: The Definition of Insanity

    This month’s installment of “The Best of Both Worlds” is about the pace of change in your business today and what to do about it. As we all know, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is, in fact, the definition of insanity.

    So when you ask an employee why they process a transaction the way they do and they reply “Because that is the way we have always done it”, do you sigh? Come on, no time to be bi-polar or defensive, you have to fess up and look in the mirror. After all, it’s that anti-change, anti-depressant of a business model that caused a sense of repression amongst the troops in the first place.

    This is where a Tale of Two Tactics begins, readers, and here is how it goes.

    Tactic 1 – Kodak moment

    Who in their wildest and subconscious dreams would ever not want to give up the process of driving to the store, buying film, taking photos, mailing them off or dropping them at same store, creating massive amounts of silver oxide poisoning, going back to same store or mailbox and then having exactly one copy of a treasured moment to share with friends and family. Well, um ask Kodak and Fuji because it turns out that rather than listening to customers who didn’t want to partake in this flawed process, they just kept watching the paint dry while money flowed in buckets through the bank. A great episode of “Where are they now?” on MTV maybe, but not a great Harvard Business Review of success. Two words for you – disruptive technology.

    Tactic 2 – ADP, not Adderral

    Sure, you can say all you want about the pace of change, but for those of you old enough to remember this tiny competitor has made it through therapy to evolve into a solver of problems. They started with mainly payroll, yet today you can buy HRMS, Benefits Administration, Time and Attendance, Tax Management, PEO, HRO and a host of products. Oh, almost forgot for my agency friends who think change is not eminent, they sell benefits and workers’ compensation now too. Let me inject a bit of our Best of Both Worlds in on top, they also changed their operational model to access a global workforce in order to use price like electric shock therapy on their competition.

    The pace of change from external factors will make these two examples more clear to you when you least expect it. Change comes in many forms, from regulatory to good old fashioned American competition and capitalism. The question is not whether it is coming, but when. Do you wait to find out the hard way? Well, to quote a favorite person of ours Mr. James William Buffett “Indecision may or may not be my problem”.

    We completely understand how easy it is to do nothing, and how hard change is to enact. However, if you find the right partner and stay ahead or even just keep up with your foes you will find long-term prosperity instead of a padded cell. You need the kind of partner that won’t let you go off your meds and who knows your business on and off the couch.

    So consider this short personality test for a moment:

    Do I do nothing and hope it works out for us, or take that first step of admitting we have a problem?
    If doing nothing is not an option, then do I want to make large capital investments, or change the way I use my biggest asset, my employees?
    Do I want my employees talking to prospects and customers about the solutions we provide, or working on spreadsheets and doing a nice George Costanza impression?
    Can someone not physically in my office, or even in the country for that matter, perform many of the tasks you have today the same or better?
    The answer to number one may be “yes”, and we are more than cool with that and wish you the best of luck. It is never our goal to work with those who either don’t need us, or don’t want to. We seek collaborative relationships where we increase the bottom line and help companies meet their five-year financial objectives.

    If the answers are no, no, yes and yes, then talk to Cognet.

    Our owners and operators have been in the Human Resource Services and Outsourcing business for years, both on and offshore. We have built companies that have competed with you, and operations in other parts of the world to ensure that the best skills possible were aimed at the right problems. We believe that you can’t grow revenue by working on a benefits reconciliation, and that our combination of unique expertise in the industry and mastery of operating globally are yours for the taking if you wish.

    You can access global resources to improve your business without leaving your desk or drastically changing your delivery. The Doctor is in, give us a call for a consultation.

    Cognet HRO: Payroll Nirvana – A Case Study

    A client of ours sat down with us in our Quarterly Governance Meeting, included as part of our ISO process, and shared with us why saving less money on their end was the right decision for their business.

    Listen to this case study to learn how to improve understanding of the use of a global business model and explore the two sides of the math and decision-making process.

    Cognet HRO: Imagine if Governments used Governance

    We typically avoid any talk about politics, so we will keep to that standard and let the current happenings at the Wisconsin/Illinois border work itself out between the 2.5 parties and focus on the difference between governance and government.
    We practice governance every day, from reporting on our combined activities with our customers to communicating effectively. It isn’t about oversight or keeping law and order, but more about a consistent way to monitor if we are collectively meeting our goals.

    Imagine if the federal government and our elected officials actually published the budget, communicated what they want to cut and why that made sense. Well, believe it or not, they do publish it, but it is so confusing that you need an economics degree to get into the detail. So you hear what they want you to hear about “cutting taxes”, which now seems to mean either actually lowering tax rates or decreasing spending, and that makes no sense because I thought that was cutting expenses. But I digress.

    You don’t run your business that way! Most of us have a budget; it is not only balanced but its objective is to make money, not print money or issue bonds. When revenues (a.k.a. taxes on our clients) go up, times are good and maybe you hire another sales person. When times are not so good you look at cutting costs and you make sure to have money in the bank for a rainy day.

    That’s where our governance model comes into play. Right up front, we align our interest in your budget and measurable objectives for next year, and even sign up for a few. This isn’t about cutting imaginary costs, or simply not increasing a budget and calling it a reduction like our friends in D.C. No, this is the real deal. You changed your business model and hired Cognet to meet real objectives, like reducing your cost per unit by 40 percent, or eliminating $1 million in specific expenses. We become part of your company and are just as much on the hook for delivery as your own people. Even better, you have a contract with us to hold us accountable.

    The measurement can’t just be about how many benefit recons we did right last month, it has to go past that to how much money you saved quarter over quarter and how you applied it to hiring service professionals to get client retention up two percent.

    Come on man, there are no “non-budgetary items” in our relationships. Neither of us would put a couple of wars on the American Express and keep it out of the budget, we would put that line in there and get ourselves a plan to manage through it as a team.

    Governance is about saying the thing costs $89 billion a month and finding a way to pay for it over the next thirty years, not talking about issues that only matter to a few people.

    When you are ready to add accountability, authority and responsibility to your business with some governance on the side, give us a call.

    Cognet HRO – At Least the World is Convex

    In our continuing theme of “The Best of Both Worlds”, our spring installment comes fresh from a trip around the world, seeing for ourselves the gap that has separated the businesses and cultures of our world disappear into the sunset.
    At the same time, while the worlds converge and becomes more connected, little nuances develop in between the two groups as they do business together, and that, my fellow travelers, is where the rubber meets the road and where Cognet is different.

    The key is having a tour guide, or Ombudsperson if you will, that can tell you where the two sets intersect and where they don’t touch at all. The only way that a person can succeed is if he/she has walked in both sets of shoes and has the ability to translate on both sides of the line.

    Within the history of Cognet lies the simple three-step process that we share with our partners, customers and friends every day:

    Step 1: Spend years working in the trenches to move the domain expertise required to do the job from A to B.

    Step 2: Live and work in both worlds, and Skype doesn’t count!

    Step 3: Use experience to bring the two together.

    We spent six years on planes, trains and elephants to complete these three steps so you don’t have to rack up the Star Alliance miles and see what sleep deprivation can do to someone not in Navy Seal training. We’ve been in the trenches, Step One.

    Our owners and operators have been on the ground on both sides, with over 80 years of experience in the U.S. market running HR Services companies. That includes resumes with payroll bureaus, third party administrators, HRMS developers, PEO, ASO, HRO, internal HR and all the fixings. We know your business because we competed with you, not just serviced you.

    We have also operated offshore service centers specifically for HR Services companies since 2005, and our offshore team can probably name more capitals of the States than most people on the street. It is our core belief that to be in a market, or to properly service a market, you must be in both. We are a “hands on” company and will come on-site, not just to guarantee success in transition, but to build relationships. We love Skype, and it may save our competitors a lot of money. But, long-term success lies in our collective teams trusting and understanding each other. Step Two, check.

    What good is experience if you don’t apply it? Not much! Listen, you can surely take some Western management books about motivating highly effective people, or conversely, force your managers to read Eat, Pray and Make Money until the sacred cows come home. But you can’t magically cross-pollinate the two into a new flower.

    Step Three is earned, and trust us, we have earned it. Experience tells you to move a portion of a process rather than all, and even better what not to move and why. We know when your people will struggle and push back just as much as we understand how to manage ours through it. “How?” you ask? Because we have been both “your people” and us in our history. We formed Cognet on the experience of setting up captive centers, working on the ground in India and running HR Services businesses in the U.S. and you won’t find that anywhere else, not even on e-Bay.

    You can’t run a business in the U.S. the way you do in France, and the French don’t like McDonald’s very much. So why would you go offshore with someone who only knows, well offshore? You don’t, you hire Cognet.