The Alcott Group   Good for Your Business ~ Good for Your People
    •  HR Outsourcing Remains Strong
    •  Alcott in the Community
    •  Did You Know?
    •  Alcott In the News
    •  On the Regulatory Front
    •  Is Your Customer Service OK?
    •  What's New at Alcott?
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Welcome to the Winter 2009 edition of the Alcott Advisor. I would like to wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year! It is my hope that 2009 will exceed everyone's expectations and that by the end of the year our economy will be well on its way to recovery.

This month's feature article discusses the fact that even in these difficult economic times the HR Outsourcing industry is faring well. In addition, there is an article which discusses major changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and how these changes will affect the workplace.

This month's contributing editor is Randi Busse, Customer Service Trainer & Coach at the Workforce Development Group, Inc. In her article, she discusses the importance of properly training your customer-facing staff and how they can make a huge difference in customer retention.

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 Al Anastasi at 631-420-0100 extension 313 or via e-mail at

Again, we wish you the very best for 2009.

Enjoy the newsletter.    Al Anastasi

HR Outsourcing Remains Strong

  For the past several years, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) has gained in popularity, resulting in steady growth of Human Resources (HR) Outsourcing. However, this past year, marked by the economic downturn, had some industry observers concerned. While there had been some mega-size HR outsourcing contracts awarded in 2008, the question was would small, growing and middle-market businesses continue to fuel the HR outsourcing trend? The answer, based on AMR Research, appears to be "Yes." In fact, some believe 2009 may well be a banner year for HR outsourcing of all types, including Professional Employer Organization (PEO) relationships.

Many companies are under great pressure to reduce costs, stabilize their operations and focus on revenue generations without compromising regulatory compliance or employee relations. HR outsourcing benefits them on all these fronts. They gain access to a corps of HR specialists, leading-edge HR solutions, a full suite of employee benefits and services and, peace of mind relating to their companies' due diligence and compliance with various workplace legislation and tax regulations.

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Did You Know?

  • Less than 50% of America's so-called "micro-businesses" (i.e., those with 10 or fewer employees) provide health benefits to their employees or owners and this percentage is rising. In his article for The Practicing CPA (November 2008) titled, "Health Care Costs: Hard for Small Businesses to Absorb," author Milan P. Yaeger, Executive Vice President of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations, highlighted several key strategies to help small businesses contain their health care costs. They included: keeping employees healthy, streamlining coverage, considering health savings accounts (HSAs), establishing a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), joining a larger group through an outsourcing relationship and/or outsourcing to a PEO.
  • The penalties for child labor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) have increased. Employers found guilty of violations of sections 12 or 13(c) will incur penalties increased to $11,000 for each employee who was the subject of the violation. Additionally, under the new Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which amended the FLSA, there is a $50,000 penalty in the event of a death or serious injury of an employee under 18 years of age who is employed in violation of the child labor laws.
Click here to read more

On the Regulatory Front

ADA Amendments Act of 2008 Became Effective
January 1, 2009
The Alcott Group wants businesses to be alert to The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 ("ADAAA") which went into effect on January 1st, 2009. The legislation introduced new amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA")
and . . .

Click here to read more

What's New at Alcott?

The Alcott Group Expands West -- Opens
Oklahoma City Office
As building evidence of the steadily growing Professional Employer Organization (PEO) industry and its own continued success, The Alcott Group has opened its first office outside of New York State in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This latest office is in close proximity to a key strategic partner, American Fidelity Corporation (AFC), parent company of American Fidelity Assurance Company, one of the largest, private, family-owned insurance companies in the United States. It represents Alcott's fourth office. Other locations include its headquarters in Farmingdale, NY; Western New York Division offices in Buffalo, NY; and its mid-town Manhattan office.

A joint statement was made by Alcott's co-founders, President Louis Basso and Executive Vice President Barry Shorten: "We are excited about this latest development in our company's 22-year history which will enable our organization to bring our comprehensive HR solution to more businesses in the Midwest and West Coast. The Oklahoma City location will also give us better access to different industries which are inherent to those parts of the country." Alcott already serves businesses in states across the country.

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The Alcott Group Names Karen Fessel Sales Coordinator
The Alcott Group announced that Karen Fessel has joined the company as Sales Coordinator. Ms. Fessel will be responsible for a wide range of sales support and marketing activities on behalf of Alcott's two downstate New York offices and its new Oklahoma City, Oklahoma office. Her role encompasses sales communications materials coordination, event marketing, networking support, conference research and scheduling, proposal project management, database management and public relations liaison. She brings a strong background in sales support to the position.

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Alcott in the Community

The Alcott Group Receives 2008 Alfred P. Sloan Award for
Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility
The Alcott Group was named a winner of the prestigious 2008 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility. The award recognizes employers in select communities nationwide that are successfully using flexibility to meet both business and employee goals. Alcott was honored with the award based on its flexible work policies and innovations and received its award at the 13th Annual NAMC Work/Life Conference held on November 7th at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, NY. NAMC ( is the leading organization that recognizes the challenges, realities and importance of caregiving and work, offering educational and support programs in local centers, libraries and the workplace, as well as doing advocacy in the fields of work/life integration, early care and education, and the economic impact of being a care giver.

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Alcott in the News

  • The Alcott Group was highlighted in an article on the winners of The Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence and its Director of Employee Relations and Counsel Dawn Davidson Drantch was quoted in Newsday's "Companies Honored for Wiggle Room," article recognizing their flexible workplace policies.
  • Alcott President Lou Basso recently served as a source for Newsday's Business Section in an article titled, "A Close Look at Health Benefits," in which Mr. Basso noted that the Fall 2008 open enrollment periods will include more offerings of health plans with higher deductibles but lower premiums.
Click here to read more

Is Your Customer Service Helping or Hurting?

  Dear Business Owner,

I am in need of the product or service that you offer. I already know that. I called you or came into your business because I know you have what I want. I don’t have to be “sold.” But I can change my mind and decide to buy the product or service from someone else. See, you’re not the only game in town. Actually, you probably have many competitors. And their product or service is in all probability very similar to yours. The price is likely comparable as well. So why should I buy it from you instead of “Joe down the street?"

What happened when I called you on the phone? The person who answered sounded like I was bothering them. They didn’t sound happy that I was calling TO DO BUSINESS WITH YOUR COMPANY. And actually, come to think of it, they were downright rude to me.

Click here to read more


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Strategy Evaluation

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