RISKY BUSINESS

BY Casey M. Clark

President & CEO
NAPEO

March 2024

Some of you may have read a little about my previous job in the last issue of PEO Insider. Suffice it to say that the casino industry is risk-based. Anyone sitting at a card table, pulling a lever on a slot machine or making a bet on their favorite sports team is risking money for the opportunity to make more. They assume the risk for a chance at a reward.

Yet, when we talk about risk in other industries, including our own, it’s rarely inclusive of the potential upside. Rather, we consider mitigation strategies to offset the downside. Here are a couple of examples I hear about a lot.

  • Reputational risk – as a career communicator, this has been a focus of mine for a long time. How can we balance operational imperatives with reputation, especially when considering those audiences with the greatest ability to influence our bottom lines?
  • Economic uncertainty – we’ve heard a lot about this one over the past few years. How can we sustain the ebbs and flows of a global economy affected by macro issues out of our control (interest rates, property values, etc.) with real, micro-impact on our communities, our companies and/or our employees.

Another that is increasingly impacting American businesses is public policy risk. A recent study by the US Chamber of Commerce reviewed a decade of 10-K filings from the S&P 500, finding a 27% increase in mention of public policy risk (i.e. “regulation” or “Congress”) over the previous decade.

PEOs understand how adverse legislation or regulatory uncertainty impacts business operations and growth. This added layer of risk only makes it harder to succeed. Yet, you shouldn’t lose sight of the reward.

Your continued engagement with NAPEO brings inherent rewards on each of these fronts.

Reputationally, NAPEO is leading the charge to ensure the PEO industry is better understood, appreciated and engaged. With efforts like National PEO Week and our concerted marketing campaigns aimed at breaking down barriers to entry, NAPEO is enhancing reputation to grow market access and opportunity for its members.

Economically, our work to better define the role of PEOs and the work you do to enable small and medium sized business success is unlocking opportunity and growing the pie for the entire membership. You’ve been at this a lot longer than me, and know that we’re just scratching the surface in terms of serviceable markets and where we can do the most good.

And politically, we’ve never been more relevant or more visible with regulators and legislators in Washington and in state capitals. This hasn’t happened by accident. We’ve increased PEO comprehension with an expanded (and expanding) base of influencers on both sides of the political aisle. Some of this is old fashioned shoe-leather-lobbying. Some is leveraging existing relationships. And importantly, some is more effective use of our PAC to support the campaigns of candidates who can accelerate our growth.

This takes a concerted effort, not only from NAPEO but from everyone with a vested interest in the success of our industry. I’m thankful for everyone who has made this a priority.

The NAPEO team is here to help the industry mitigate risk, and our members reap the rewards of their continued engagement. We’re just getting warmed up.

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