Scott Meichtry trail blazed his way out of a down economy by helping others navigate the decline. He built a career in real estate
development and construction in Colorado, but moving his family to O‘ahu in the midst of the financial crisis left him at a crossroads. “Real estate wasn’t the best place to be,” he recalls. Scott was on the lookout for an opportunity insulated from economic fluctuation.
As a business owner, he understood the value of outsourcing in the growth of small business. Contracting out ancillary business processes reduces overhead costs, restores focus on core functions and utilizes the expertise, technologies and security of a specialized third-party provider. “Outsourcing is the future,” Scott predicts. “The new young professionals are much more focused on their priorities than on the minutiae of the back office.”
As an entrepreneur, he recognized the industry’s growth potential on both ends of the economic spectrum. Whether to aid in expansion due to increased demand or to enable downsizing during a decline, outsourcing lends itself to a variety of situations and industries, affording inherent diversification. “The outsourcing business is only cyclical by the industry,” Scott says. “If construction takes a dip, only that part of the business is going to hurt. Other parts, maybe restaurant and hotel, they’re still thriving.”
Scott and co-founder Matt Delaney formed Hawaii Human Resources (also known as HiHR) in 2009. They went over a year without paying themselves, growing their independently funded company through sweat equity, employee incentives and client relationships. “After the first year of Hawaii Human Resources, we felt there were synergies between all the businesses we were talking to,” Scott explains. “We knew there was more to offer.” Scaling their services to include accounting, staffing, recruiting and marketing assistance, they established The Hawaii Group as a holding company for Hawaii Human Resources and budding subsidiaries HiAccounting, HiEmployment, HiMRK and HiHealthCare.
“Outsourcing is the future. The new young professionals are much more focused on their priorities than on the minutiae of the back office.”
“Hawai‘i is a really strategic place to do business as an outsourcing company,” Scott says, citing the state’s abundant small businesses and unsaturated market. In just five years, they expanded their single-client operation to satellite offices on the neighbor islands and in California, amassing a network of over 900 clients and 10,000 worksite employees across the United States.
“We customize our approach,” says Scott, who recently succeeded Matt as chairman and CEO of The Hawaii Group. “That’s how we’ve completely differentiated ourselves from the competition.” In addition to payroll and professional employer organization services, Hawaii Human Resources offers the increased flexibility of an administrative services organization, in which clients selectively outsource tasks without entering into the more common arrangement of co-employment. Their unbundled system and full disclosure policy ensure clients aren’t paying for services they don’t need.
Fueled by a genuine passion for driving success in others, Scott’s commitment to corporate transparency addresses the symbiosis of business, company culture and community presence. An emphasis on outdoor recreation pervades The Hawaii Group’s culture and reflects Scott’s own affinities for golfing and the outdoors. He treasures the bond he and his father shared out on the green and today, rounds of golf are one of the ways Scott connects with clients. From sponsoring charity events to promoting health and wellness in the work environment, the company maintains a profoundly transparent identity mirrored in the glass walls adjoining its executive offices.
Company values are the lifeblood of The Hawaii Group. Rapid-fire expansion, exponential revenue growth and lauded reputation aside, Scott is enthusiastic about the return on investments with regard to employee mentality. Take, for example, a recent Monday morning kickoff meeting, when a member of the team reiterated the importance of community service in their company culture. “It sounded like Matt and I talking,” Scott marvels. “It sounded like us three years ago going, ‘this is our culture, this is what we do, this is how we give back.’ We’re seeing all the pieces come together.”
Putting down roots in Hawai‘i was a long time coming, Scott says. Family vacations to the islands sparked his fascination for the place from a young age. “Every time I looked to the ocean from California, I’d look beyond the horizon and think, Hawai‘i is out there. Someday I will live there.” These days, Scott’s view of the ocean is from The Hawaii Group’s penthouse headquarters, Honolulu’s burgeoning downtown development at his feet and the boundless horizon stretched before him.
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