The Spot: A Case Study in Third-Party HR Management

Cassie Fishkin understands the John Lennon line: “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” She dreamed of owning a restaurant and her long-range plan was to open an informal cafe with healthy fare after retiring from a legal career. But her passion to be a restaurateur led her to buy into a restaurant partnership and learn the business from the ground up.  She rotated through every position, learning the nuances and challenges of  modern restaurant management. Fishkin combined her business acumen and creativity, realizing she had finally found her professional niche.

In 2015,  she opened the doors of her bistro, The Spot, in Montclair, N.J. At first the eatery catered to walk-in, take-out and delivery business, but the restaurant grew and, as most small business owners learn, there came myriad day-to-day challenges that absorbed valuable time and sapped critical resources. Fishkin searched for various solutions to help her run her business in a more efficient manner. 

Knowing she needed help help managing the human resources and payroll needs of 20 employees, she decided to implement RUN Powered by ADP®. She also needed help developing an employee handbook to codify her HR policies, employee rights and responsibilities.

“Processing payroll and items related to it, such as workers’ compensation, is extremely time consuming,” Fishkin explained. “Most of my 20 employees are hourly. There’s a lot of math involved and you need to be accurate when you review hours worked and tips allocation. Using ADP’s integrated, online system has made these tasks very simple. ADP’s solution is so much easier to use than the one I was using previously. For instance, I can set a customized template and the system is very intuitive and flexible. I can generate reports, provide copies of pay stubs, complete a special payroll calculation, and correct a check. All of these options are at my fingertips. And I no longer have to deal with separate providers since everything is integrated in RUN.”

Administering payroll, tracking workers’ compensation and providing employees with HR guidelines can be challenging for any business, according to Maria Black, president of Small Business Solutions and Human Resources Outsourcing at ADP®, let alone a small business owner consumed with the day-to-day duties required to keep that business afloat. 

“It all boils down to the time it takes to accurately track and process these items, which can be so vital to the success of the business and satisfaction of its employees,” Black said. “We understand the pressures small business owners experience and pride ourselves on providing them with solutions that can ease critical business functions.”

Fishkin’s employees also appreciate the ease of ADP’s payroll solutions.

“One employee lost his W-2 form and came to me asking if I could help,” Fishkin recalled. “I just went back online and got another copy. Another employee — a college student — needed copies of pay stubs for financial aid and I was able to provide those quickly for her. You can’t imagine how valuable it is to me and my employees to have that level of convenience and ease. They were able to get what they needed in minutes. I didn’t have to call my accountant and make them wait.”

In the past, Fishkin also has experienced some challenges managing her workers’ compensation insurance policy. Specifically, large upfront deposits and time-consuming year-end policy audits were difficult issues.

“Preparing for a policy audit has become a lot easier,” Fishkin explained. “Previously, it would take me hours to go through the year’s reports and gather all the information I needed. With ADP’s Pay-by-Pay® premium payment solution, it’s live, in real time and the workers’ compensation premium is paid automatically. There’s no time-consuming tracking involved. Now, I pay workers’ comp premiums based on my real payroll data, not an estimate,” she continued. “That helps me avoid paying a big deposit when my policy renews, and makes the audit at the end of the year easier.”

Gven her legal background, Fishkin also was focused on protecting herself, her business and her employees’ rights.

“As an attorney, it’s important to me that my employees know and understand their rights, as well as what’s expected of them,” said Fishkin. “That’s why ADP’s guidelines for creating an employee handbook were so useful. No business owner wants to be taken advantage of. It’s easier for everyone to know what their rights are and for employees to be informed from the beginning. Guidelines help keep everyone on same page.”

That requirement was especially vital to Fishkin, who has seen what can happen in the absence of these procedures.

“I’ve dealt with labor disputes in the past and in one instance — because I didn’t have accurate records and couldn’t obtain the information I needed quickly — I lost the dispute,” she recalled. “In that instance, I had to pay an employee twice, plus pay some fines. I decided that that was poor business practice and I didn’t want to experience that again. I learned the lesson the hard way. That’s why I wanted a strong payroll system and an accurate handbook. “I believe that once the business reaches a point where my employees want and need access to the solutions — to view their pay checks, for example — I know the tools will be there for them. Equally important, I know that as my business grows, ADP solutions will be there to grow with it.”