New Research Shows Impact of COVID-19 on HR Service Providers’ Business, SMB Concerns, Areas of Opportunity

Hopkinton, MA — October 15, 2020 — PrismHR, the leading SaaS HR technology provider powering payroll, benefits, and HR for businesses across the U.S., today announced the publication of its 2020 HR Service Provider Trends Report. This is the fifth year PrismHR has produced the study to identify industry trends faced by service providers, and the second year it has concurrently surveyed small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to uncover their biggest HR concerns.

HR Service Provider Trends ReportThis year, professionals at Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), Administrative Service Organizations (ASOs), and payroll providers were surveyed earlier this year to gather information about about key business issues and trends related to the impact of COVID-19, business challenges, SMB market trends, growth, and sales and marketing trends.

“The data from year’s Trends Report shows HR service providers really stepped up and helped their SMB clients as they struggled with issues relating to COVID-19, such as helping them navigate government stimulus programs and dealing with workforce reduction issues,” said Tim Pratte, President, HRO Business Unit at PrismHR. “As SMBs adapt to the ‘new normal,’ HR service providers a clear opportunity to support existing clients and attract new ones with products, technology, and services geared to the current environment.”


View the 2020 HRO Trends Report


Key findings in PrismHR’s 2020 HR Service Provider Trends Report include:

Opportunities for growth post-COVID. According to the survey results, HR service providers noted that the top two HR challenges for SMB clients were COVID-19-related issues (68%) and staying compliant with local, state, and federal regulations (58%). Analysis of survey results indicated that there are opportunities for HR service providers to assist clients with streamlining hiring practices with applicant tracking and job posting as the number of applications rise due to higher unemployment rates.

Services offerings are key to growth. 57% of all respondents said the top reason they win deals is the breadth of products and services they offer. HR service providers who respond to today’s challenges with offerings that meet current customer needs, including expanded support for remote workers, return to work, workforce reductions, and advice and guidance for government stimulus programs and regulations will continue to demonstrate value to existing customers and attract new ones.

Referrals are critical to growth. 71% of all respondents reported that client referrals are their biggest source of leads, followed by networking (57%). Service providers should continue to take an educational approach to sales and marketing as the effects of COVID-19 drive new interest.

About the 2020 HR Service Provider Trends Report

The 2020 HR Service Provider Trends Report includes research from 131 service providers of all sizes. More than one-half (54%) of respondents are executive/owners, 44% of respondents had executive/owner profiles, while the remainder were managers or individual contributors.

About PrismHR

PrismHR’s mission is to fuel the growth of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) across the U.S. Our HR software, combined with our ecosystem of HR service providers, enables SMBs to manage payroll, benefits, and HR, leveling the playing field with large enterprises. Today, PrismHR software delivers world-class HR services to more than 80,000 organizations and over 2 million worksite employees, processing greater than $80 billion in payroll each year. PrismHR is located in Hopkinton, Mass. For more information, visit

Media Contact

Maryellen Edwards
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View the 2020 HRO Trends Report