Mike Brodsho studied accounting and computer science at Minnesota State University Moorhead. In 1987, he founded an IT company that implemented hardware and accounting solutions for clients in west central Minnesota. In 1990, he co-founded a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), PRO Resources. Mike is the acting CEO of PRO Companies of Detroit Lakes, Minn. (PRO Resources Corp., PRO Systems, Inc., Professional Workforce, Inc., Professional Employer Corp.).

PROduction Workforce Professionals is a Professional Employer Organization (PEO). What is the PEO service model?

Mike Brodsho: The PEO service model offers a couple of major benefits for small and mid-size business owners (SMBOs) to level the playing field. One, it gives them the ability to compete against larger organizations for the best talent and second, it allows owners and leadership to focus on profit opportunities, which facilitates faster and steadier growth.

We provide Human Resources expertise, talent acquisition and hiring, benefits, payroll, workers’ compensation management, safety compliance, worksite wellness, and more. As advisors to our clients, we become the “one stop shop” that relieves them of many HR-related issues, both administrative and transactional. They are still responsible for the common day-to-day activities and directives, while we’re responsible for payroll information, benefits administration, and a host of other HR activities. We even take care of annual handbook updates and help with coaching clients through different — sometimes sticky — employee-related situations.

With the advent of the COVID pandemic, the PEO service model has shown the important role HR plays in the lives of employers and their employees. For example, we relieved our clients of compliance burdens related to COVID, we were instrumental in helping small businesses participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and we helped them manage their COVID-related leaves.

How would you describe the optimal relationship between an employer and its PEO?

Mike Brodsho: As a business owner, you are an expert in your field of business. You chose that industry because you have expertise in that field. However, it’s somewhat counterproductive to try and become an employment law expert or an expert on a certain technology platform and deal with many of the other employee administration burdens. It takes you away from your profit producing activities. A business owner’s time is better spent on expanding their markets and increasing their customer base. They have direct access to an expert in whatever area they need, whether that is workers’ compensation, safety, online onboarding, etc. Because we provide an enhanced employment model — along with their participation in our economies of scale — it is not unusual for businesses, regardless of their size, to see a greater return for less than they could provide on their own.

How do you advise manufacturers to cope with the worker shortage as the economy emerges from COVID?

Mike Brodsho: Competition for good employees has never been tougher, and once they are part of your workforce you want to keep them on your team. That’s a big part of what we do. We help our clients appeal to top talent and retain good employees. Talent acquisition and low turnover are linked to a company’s ability to offer benefits and provide services that fit their workforce. For instance, a little over 50% of small businesses offer any type of retirement plan to their employees, but all PEOs offer retirement options like a 401(k) plan to their clients. Through good HR practices, and policies, you keep your good employees. Focusing on the workforce itself — when leadership shows they care — has a far-reaching impact.

How did you grow a company with statewide and regional growth from a base in Detroit Lakes?

Mike Brodsho: Our business model itself has evolved greatly over the years. Our primary marketplace is mainly in the Upper Midwest, but by leveraging technology, we have been able to expand our services to reach companies all over the United States and provide the same services to a business owner who is 1,000 miles away or our next-door neighbor. We have Minnesota-based clients who have one or two locations and/or have employees working remotely in another state, which allows them to be strategic with hiring.

While technology is a large part of why we’re successful, what makes us unique from other PEOs is that we are very hands-on. Our employees are extremely dedicated and willing to travel great distances, such as going on overnight trips away from their families to meet with our clients and their employees. Our clients like that we are engaging, and by doing so we improve the worksite employer’s overall HR operation and culture.

With a comprehensive service model that includes Human Resources, benefits, payroll, talent acquisition, workers’ compensation, employee assistance program (EAP), safety and wellness and online HR technology, we alleviate the administrative responsibilities that require a business owner’s attention. This has been a great fit especially for those in the manufacturing industry.

Featured story in the Summer 2021 issue of Enterprise Minnesota magazine.

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