The Alcott Group   Good for Your Business ~ Good for Your People
    •  The Workforce Crisis for Business
    •  Client Spotlight: ALTEL
    •  Manufacturers Underpin the Economy
    •  What's New at Alcott
    •  HR Outsourcing Responds to Business
    •  Subscribe
    •  On the Regulatory Front

Welcome to the Winter 2008 edition of The Alcott Advisor. As always, we strive to provide you with meaningful content related to Human Resources in small and mid-sized businesses. If you would like to author an article for The Alcott Advisor or you have a subject you would like us to research and write about in a future issue, please contact me at 631-420-0100 extension 313 or via e-mail at We hope you enjoy the newsletter.

Al Anastasi


  New York businesses do not necessarily need a report to tell them that they are having increasing difficulty attracting and retaining qualified workers. However, in a report by the Hudson Institute titled, “The Workforce Crisis: New Challenges Facing Small Business,” the scope of the problem was clearly depicted.

The Hudson Institute reported that rapid technological change and globalization were two significant factors shaping the workforce of the future. These factors will require businesses to compete more effectively for workers, continually retrain and develop their human resources and place greater skill demands on their workers.

Another market condition highlighted in the report was our nation’s changing demographics. Baby boomers are starting to retire leaving gaps in management and executive level positions and the related expertise. Small businesses, which account for the majority of the U.S. job growth (i.e., an estimated 75% versus large companies’ 25%), are what has been deemed as “HR challenged,” meaning they don’t have the internal resources to properly recruit, train and retain skilled employees.

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  A report released in February of 2006 by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)’s research and education arm, The Manufacturing Institute, in conjunction with RSM McGladrey, a business services provider for mid-sized manufacturers, found that small- and mid-sized manufacturers are assuming a greater role in our nation’s economy even though their challenges have increased tremendously.

The report pronounced that small- and mid-sized manufacturers represent over 99% of America’s manufacturers and account for 40% of the U.S. production. Yet, they are facing enormous challenges in terms of exorbitant energy and health care costs and increased regulation for which this sector bears an unfair burden according to NAM. A finding by U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) report supports NAM’s contention. It found that, between 1980 and 2000, the number of U.S. laws and regulations regarding employment policies and practices alone grew by approximately 60%, and now require owners of small and mid-sized companies to spend up to 25% of their time on employment-related matters and documentation.

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  Small and middle market businesses across diverse industries -- including manufacturing, distribution, and service sectors -- are turning to Human Resources (HR) outsourcing to help address their current challenges.

HR Outsourcing assists small- and mid-sized businesses as follows:
  • The ability to offer a wider selection of employee benefits (i.e., medical insurance, dental and vision coverage, flexible spending accounts, health reimbursement accounts, health savings accounts, and various other insurance plans (life, disability income, long-term healthcare, etc.) which enable employees to select the benefits that best meet their needs.
  • The ability to benefit from their HR outsourcing resources’ greater economies of scale when it comes to their employee benefits.
  • The ability to better recruit and retain employees as a result of their improved benefit packages.
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Immigration Control News
As reported in our last edition of The Alcott Advisor, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is trying to pass a new regulation (i.e., The “Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter”) in support of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) immigration control and enforcement issues. Previously, employers were advised never to treat “no-match” letters as an I-9 issue. Under the new regulations, they will be required to do so. However, the new regulation only matters if a business receives a “no-match” letter from the SSA and, it does not require employers to “match” I-9s to social security numbers any more than the current state of the law requires it, unless the employer actually receives the “no-match” letter. Right now, however, the new regulation is still being challenged and its fate is in question.

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Excell-NY for Business Growth and Job Creation
Led by New York State Senator Dean G. Skelos (9th Senate District), the New York State Senate Majority NextGen Task Force prompted the Excell-NY initiative which is expected to be a major catalyst in helping area businesses grow and generate jobs. Through the Excell-NY program, an estimated $ billion has been infused into the state’s high tech and biotech sectors, as well as related job creation programs. It also placed the spotlight on the need for more incentives, venture capital enhancements and capital/technological infrastructure improvements to foster business growth and job creation.

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Update on State Regulatory Flexibility Model Legislation
In September of 1980, Congress enacted the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) which required federal agencies to carefully consider how their proposed regulations would affect small businesses and to make their analyses available for public comment. The primary goal of RFA was to ensure that regulations would not unintentionally make it more difficult for small businesses to compete or be especially burdensome for them. Because Congress and various small business advocacy groups were not convinced that the agencies were upholding their responsibilities under RFA, an amendment to this legislation was passed.

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  Organizations across diverse markets that require a professional resource to address their audio-visual (AV) requirements know the name ALTEL Systems, Inc. The Company has long been the “go to” source for state-of-the-art, integrated electronic solutions. Founded in 1954, ALTEL has evolved considerably from its initial four-employee company with one office in New York City, serving the Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. According to ALTEL’s co-owner and CEO Andrew Musci, ALTEL’s growth and development was steady and strategic, evolving from the needs of the marketplace.

“Following the company’s formative years, demand for our services spread to markets beyond the corporate sector and into territories beyond the NY-Tri-State area,” said Mr. Musci. “We started moving into larger-scale sound systems for arenas, churches, airports, colleges and hotels. From there, we entered the audio-visual market and began providing AV equipment for various corporate applications including training rooms, network operations centers and board rooms. This led us to segue into audio and video conferencing for corporate clients as well as the education market for distance learning and other applications.

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Alcott’s Athena People Earns Prestigious Certified
Payroll Professional Designation
The Alcott Group is proud to announce Payroll Manager Athena People has earned the prestigious Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) designation which is awarded by the American Payroll Association (San Antonio, TX). To gain the CPP credential, Ms. People had to successfully pass a comprehensive four-hour examination. In a letter to The Alcott Group announcing Ms. People’s new designation, American Payroll Association Executive Director Dan Maddux wrote, "Attaining the CPP designation is a significant achievement.

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Alcott Benefits Specialist Kristyn J. Frank Earns PHR Designation
The Alcott Group also reports on the achievement of Benefits Specialist Kristyn J. Frank, who recently earned her Certification as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR). The prestigious PHR certification is awarded by the Human Resource Certification Institute, an organization affiliated with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This credential signifies that Ms. Frank possesses the theoretical knowledge and practical experience necessary to pass a rigorous examination demonstrating her high proficiency within the field of human resource management.

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