Starting a business is an exciting venture that often brings a steep learning curve with it. Many business owners find themselves navigating unexpected administrative waters—payroll, benefits, and personnel policies. Coupled with family and other responsibilities, they can quickly lose focus on doing what they do best—run their business. That’s where The Alliance Group steps in.
Founded in 1997 by Michael and Carolina Mapes, The Alliance Group is Omaha’s largest and oldest professional employer organization (PEO). A graduate of the University of Nebraska Omaha, Michael worked for several different businesses where many of the Human Resources and payroll issues would fall into his lap — he knew the tasks were important and needed to be done; however, he wished there was a better way to get these tasks handled. And then he discovered the PEO industry: he could immediately see the services offered were invaluable to owners of small and medium sized businesses as well as non-profit organizations. “I started with a two-page business plan and no sales department, so when we got a client, we did everything to keep them,” he said. Now armed with more than 23 years in business and a team of 25 experts, The Alliance Group still put customer retention first, which shows with its nearly 95% retention rate.
That type of track record speaks volumes to the level of detail and care the company provides. Furthermore, as business owners themselves, Michael and Carolina have experienced all the phases of ownership themselves. “We remember the growth journey so we know our clients’ struggles and what they need,” Carolina said. When they first launched The Alliance Group, the goal was to simply make the business viable. Later, as they started growing, they needed to develop a work-life balance with having small children at home. Incorporating the right technology to best serve clients was also a focus for many years. Now they’ve reached a level where they have years of experience, the best technology in place, and can focus on continuing to build personal relationships with their clients.
Any business owner who has employees also has obligations, and they truly want to help their employees thrive in the business. But often they don’t realize what they need to be doing to achieve that. The Alliance Group puts processes in place so that business owners can sleep better at night knowing they are protected and their employees are taken care of, resulting in peace of mind. Any processes related to human resources and benefit administration, workers compensation and safety, and payroll services are all offered by The Alliance Group. Often a business will try to do these processes in house, and if a problem arises, they don’t know who to turn to for help. “If the business wishes they had a solution, there is one: it’s us,” Michael said.
When a new client partners with The Alliance Group, payroll is often the first process transitioned. Human Resource processes such as onboarding new employees is also included. Customization is also a key aspect because creating appropriate job descriptions and hiring is different for every industry and every client. Carolina said nothing is ever just black and white. “We always try to offer solutions that fit the individual business and situation. I liken it to watering a plant—the blooms are the conversations about how we can really help them.”
The Alliance Group also takes a proactive approach to its customer service. For example, if there’s a new law going into place, the Human Resources team communicates with any clients that law will affect and makes sure they will be compliant to reduce any liabilities they may have. “Our HR team is mission critical for us and for our clients,” Michael said.
The beginning of the pandemic was a time when The Alliance Group really shined by helping its clients navigate through all the unknowns. Taylor Stormberg, Executive Vice President of Business Development, said their entire team was all hands on deck. “Our clients relied on us to give them the most up to date information,” he said. That included ensuring every client has the latest information on the Payroll Protection Program and helping them apply for the loan.
Amy Guerra, Director of Client Services, said The Alliance Group will have a number of new clients starting at the beginning of the year. Their initial conversations, which all occur within the first 30-60 days, will identify exactly what services are needed. Stormberg added they are always transparent with everything they do, breaking down employee-related costs for owners.
In addition to the experience, expertise, and proactive approach, the fact that The Alliance Group is local gives them an advantage over other PEO companies. Any time a business owner has a question, they can call and immediately speak with someone directly. The Alliance Group is also well positioned to grow its client base and help even more businesses grow and achieve their goals. The Alliance Group’s Director of Finance, Jane Dineen, summed it up this way: “Our company’s core focus is to make good employers, great employers.”