Alison Milioto, Partner and Toni Runci, Partner, BlueLion, LLCAlison Milioto, Partner and Toni Runci, Partner
Administrative responsibilities can be taxing on any company, but for SMBs in their early phases of growth, managing human resources can be flat-out burdensome. For a company with limited time and resources, diverting people’s attention from the core business to other intricate HR areas is not practical. Outsourcing human resource functions can reduce an organization’s administrative workload and free up time, allowing leaders to focus on core business objectives.

An HR outsourcing company can manage a variety of human resources functions, including payroll processing, benefit plan management, administration, recruiting, and training. With one provider to take responsibility for a range of HR functions, an organization can spend less time on administration and managing employee relations and more time on the growth of their business.

BlueLion, an HR and operations consulting company, successfully provides clients with an all-inclusive Department of Labor (DOL) HR risk analysis audit and outlines vital areas of compliance, regulation, and best practices. In an interview with Manage HR Magazine, Toni Runci, HR consultant and co-founder of BlueLion, sheds light on her company's services and how they enable employers to run a successful HR department. As a SHRM-CP and PHR-certified HR Consultant who brings over ten years of experience to the team, Toni helps organizations grow strategically by fine-tuning their HR initiatives. She has worked as a strategic HR partner with small and large businesses in the technology, healthcare, automotive, and restaurant industries.

Could you provide us with a brief overview of BlueLion?

BlueLion is a women-owned and operated HR and operations consulting company located in New Hampshire. We provide HR outsourcing and operational support to organizations throughout New England. My business partner, Alison Milioto, and I founded the business in 2018.

Before establishing BlueLion, we worked together for about six years at another company. We share many of the same values and respect each other’s work ethic and passion, which led to the conception of BlueLion. Our company has performed well from the start, even in the face of the pandemic.

We focus on continuous growth by providing services to small and mid-sized businesses. Additionally, BlueLion delivers learning and development programs to large companies ranging from 50 to 100 employees. We train clients in the management of issues like harassment, diversity, and inclusion. We also offer additional support with compliance and policy-related issues.

What are some of the challenges that companies face, and how do you address them?

Through our services, we give our clients back the time they spend on managing complicated HR functions. A small business owner usually manages finance and HR. Sometimes the owner also acts as a receptionist who wears multiple hats.
BlueLion takes the compliance and HR pieces off of the owner’s plate. Our company works as part of the client’s team and ensures the seamless functioning of the organization. We communicate with each client as if we are one of their W-2 employees. Our clients feel like they are working with another team member rather than a consultant.

Through our services, we give our clients back the time they spend on managing complicated HR functions, enabling them to focus on their organizational growth

Most of the clients who engage with us are in their initial phase of growth. Such companies strive for rapid growth by hiring more employees, and they need a little extra support with their HR functions. They reach out to us to evaluate their performance as an organization. We then perform an audit on various HR functions such as payroll, compliance, labor posters, recruitment, terminations, and employee files. With that, we understand the company’s current position and help them improve their overall performance.

Many companies approach us to support their post-recruitment processes. In such cases, we ensure that the company files the documents related to labor regulations mandated by the state and federal governments. Moreover, we help them build a robust onboarding process that instills the core values and culture of the company in new employees.

BlueLion also serves employers who approach us with issues related to compliance and policy, such as performance appraisals. When it comes to issues regarding an organization’s employees, we help them get on track with a development plan or performance improvement plan. We make sure each employee’s individual career goals align with the company’s development plan.

In some situations, an organization requests on-site assistance with functions like checking payroll, interviewing employees, processing new hire paperwork, and starting an employee engagement program. Our services are customizable in terms of offerings, pricing, and size of the business. We focus on getting down to each client’s specific requirements, and we never try to oversell.

Could you walk me through the portfolio of services offered by BlueLion?

First, we offer a hot line number for answering the HR-related queries of small and mid-sized organizations. This service allows an organization quick and easy access to one of our HR experts. Our specialists understand each client’s business and requirements, meaning they are prepared to answer clients’ questions and help them resolve HR issues.

BlueLion also has a complete outsource process through which we provide on-site consultation. We visit these clients physically on a weekly or monthly basis and provide HR services. While spending time on-site, we perform various HR functions, including onboarding, interviewing, performance appraisals, and managing all employee-related issues. When we design and implement a strategic growth plan for our clients, we extensively communicate with senior leadership. We also perform tasks related to benefit renewals and organize employee engagement events. For example, if an employer wants to organize a holiday party, we can help them arrange it.

Our third service area is HR projects and training. In many cases, the client asks us to rebuild their performance appraisal or write a safety handbook for them that is compliant with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We also update the client’s employee onboarding process, if necessary, during such an engagement. Many request that we add employee benefits to their package and review them with their insurance broker to make sure they are robust and cost-effective. Clients can customize our services depending on various requirements such as managing harassment, inclusion, and sensitivity. BlueLion will also take care of matters concerning medical leave, payroll, the Affordable Care Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), making the internal HR manager’s job easier. Finally, we can provide training and development for the client’s HR professional as we handle any of the above projects.

The fourth pillar of our services is what we call our HR gap coverage. Everyone knows the complications associated with hiring a talented HR professional, especially when it comes to finding the right replacement. Our HR gap coverage program enables organizations to fill the internal HR employee vacancy temporarily. BlueLion trains with the incumbent HR and fills the “gap” once he or she leaves the office.

Could you narrate an instance that illustrates the benefits brought to one of your clients after they approached BlueLion?

A rapidly growing HVAC company approached us to manage some of their HR functions. The company consisted of about 22 employees, and they needed an employee handbook that contained safety guidelines. We developed the handbook by complying with OSHA regulations.

As the client’s business quickly grew, we realized that they needed more support. We provided them the services of an HR professional who worked with them for four hours a day, twice a month. The professional discussed performance-related issues with the managers and trained them in improving employee performance.

We have worked with this client for over a year now, and we handle every facet of their HR. We interview candidates, hire, and onboard new team members while also making sure that they have the necessary documents mandated by the state. We deal with the company’s employee-related issues and manage their benefits plan. Every year we review their benefits to ensure they are competitive and remain compliant. Last but not least, we also help the client organize company events and outings.