PEO Dog Days of Summer: Top 10 Strategies to Recapture Your Momentum

PEO Dog Days of Summer:  Top 10 Strategies to Recapture Your Momentum

According to ancient lore, the Dog Days of Summer start between July 19 to August 15 and lasts up to 60 days with “heliacal rising” of Sirius in Canis Major or Canis Minor.  Sirius is considered the brightest star found in the night sky. In ancient mythology, this Dog Days period was often connected with “heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck.”

In the PEO world, the Dogs Day of Summer are often a period of rest, vacations and contentment.  This can occur across all functional areas including sales, operations and client service.  From my operators’ experience, it is very often easy to lose two months of productivity without realizing it during this period.  So, what can an organization do to sustain its momentum and finish the year strong?

Here are 10 important opportunities that you have during Dog Days that can propel you to the end of the year and beyond:

Dog Day Opportunities

  1. Service Levels

PEOs can stratify the service levels and related pricing.  As an example, a PEO should have branding such as a bronze, silver and gold levels of service. Other branding examples of service tiers can include value, plus, and premium tiers.

Many PEOs have a service model in which they are “all things to all people.” However, each client and prospect will have different appetites for products and services levels; therefore, diverse pricing thresholds.

Stratifying your organizations product and service levels can accelerate your business development function by allowing price objections to be addressed deftly.

  1. Value Proposition

Many PEOs struggle to articulate their value proposition.  The more successful sales programs in PEOs are the ones that have simplified their messaging by creating a visual of what PEOs do for their clients rather than how they do it.

For example, here is what our service can do for our clients:

  • Make more money
  • Keep more money, and
  • Protect your business (and by extension your employees and your family)
  1. Re-underwrite, Re-price or Terminate

Many PEOs only underwrite a client at the onset of the business relationship.  PEOs should re-underwrite a client frequently, and it should include an assessment of financial health as well as its underlying risk factors such as unemployment claims, workers’ compensation claims and healthcare.

Unprofitable clients or ones whose business risk has increased should be re-priced.  Those that are unprofitable and do not accept price increases should be terminated. 

  1. Internal Training

The slower pace of the summer months is an excellent time to make an investment to provide skills or management training that will ultimately translate into greater employee morale and productivity.

  1. ESAC Accreditation

The competition for market share has been increasing in recent years and the big have been getting bigger with the consolidation of the PEO Market.  Four of the top 5 PEOs in the country are ESAC accredited.  There are nearly forty PEOs out of the 900 PEOS in the United States that are ESAC accredited.

ESAC accreditation is one of the big equalizers that small and middle market PEOs can obtain that will give them greater competitive parity with larger players in the market.

Recently, we helped one of our start-up PEO clients achieve ESAC accreditation in less than ninety days.

For more information, please visit

  1. Processes

PEOs should use the Dog Days to perform a review of their processes from sales to onboarding to service operations, etc.  This review should likely also include a review of the architecture of the HRIS platform to the general ledger to identify opportunities for efficiency and optimization of the accounting reconciliation process.

Process improvements can have an excellent return on investment through increase scalability and profitability. 

  1. Environmental scanning

PEOs can implement a rigorous environmental scanning function to collect a greater amount of information on its competitors to include pricing, benefits, product and service offerings, market niches, and sales compensation programs.  Much of this information can be provided by your happy clients that periodically receive competitive proposals.

This information can be effectively analyzed using any number of data analysis products that are readily available. These insights can dramatically improve the productivity and close rates.

  1. KPIs and Management Dashboards

We have a complex business.  It is easy to get mired in the hustle and bustle of just delivering services!  Accounting and finance functions are often under-resourced and only have time to be a historian for the business by producing general ledgers and financial statements.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) evaluate the performance of an organization or an activity in which it participates. One of the more popular KPI structures is the use of a “Balanced Scorecard.”

Every PEO should be producing management dashboards and KPIs which will assist senior management in measuring the performance of the business and help navigate a path forward in achieving performance improvement. 

  1. Forecasting and Budgeting

The Dog Days of Summer are an excellent time to begin coordinating the initial stages of the forecasting and budgeting process with a target completion date as early as the beginning of the 4thquarter.

The forecasting and budgeting process should include a review of sales compensation models to ensure that sales compensation is in alignment with corporate goals.

Management should have representation from all functional areas participating in this process.

  • Post Morten obituary

I have saved the most unusual exercise for last.  This can also be included as a by-product of the Forecasting and Budgeting process.

Each year management has an opportunity to “think outside the box” and write an obituary on what risk factors threaten the company.

This could include:

  • Data privacy intrusion.
  • Inability to find affordable workers compensation coverage or benefits.
  • HRIS platform failure.
  • Natural disaster.
  • Unnatural disaster.
  • Market consolidation (i.e. competitive landscape)
  • Adverse regulatory changes
  • Encroachment by vertical markets or technological advances that weaken the PEO value proposition.

Each Senior Manager or department head should write their version of the obituary of the Company.

Sometimes this exercise can reveal any blind spots that can hinder our ability to prepare for the worst.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article, please do not hesitate to contact me at We are always available to help you productively utilize the Dog Days of Summer.


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