Hitting Refresh on the New Hire Module

In May 2018, our clients will be able to access the new iteration of one of the most important modules in eStratEx: the New Hire Module.

The updates in our New Hire module will affect every user who touches it, by giving New Hires an even more positive experience in managing their own data, and giving Managers and HR professionals increased visibility to manage the new hire process quickly and efficiently. We are certain that the module will be more intuitive to use than ever.

Here is an overview of what’s coming, including information about resources that will be available to our clients for training in the updated module.

What is changing?

As we previously communicated to our clients, here are the highlights of the changes to come:

  • Configurable templates will be available to make the eStratEx New Hire process work closely along side our clients’ internal processes, as well as work with any specialized information needed by position. Field requirements will be able to be updated, custom steps can be added, and surveys can be included so that any information can be requested during the new hire process.
  • A new Onboarding Checklist can be activated, which will separate onboarding tasks from traditional new hire steps and paperwork. This will help our clients track steps that are necessary for a successful orientation to the organization, but that may fall outside of traditional HR or Payroll tasks. Examples: tour of the building, introductions to key people, access to key information, product knowledge testing, etc.
  • The refresh will set the stage to fully integrate the e-verify process in coming releases
  • A beautiful new look and feel will make the entire process more intuitive for everyone, including employees, managers and HR

How will it look?

Here is a peek at the new Template section, where eStratEx HR users can create New Hire templates or edit existing templates. Other tabs available (shown in the image below) will allow users to upload or create required documentation (right in eStratEx!), create surveys, setup workflows and notifications for new hires, and access other template settings.

Once template setup is complete, the New Hire Dashboard will now have a second tab: the Onboarding Checklist. Tasks will display here to make the employee orientation process run smoothly and efficiently.

How can I learn more?

If you are not a StratEx client yet, let us know if you’d like to see a demo of eStratEx.

We will send our clients a user guide and video tours of the module, and our Service Team is up-to-date with all of the changes and new processes in the New Hire module. Our clients can reach out to them with any questions that the user guide and video demos don’t answer.

We are excited for this version of New Hire to launch, and look forward to making a positive impact on our clients’ onboarding process!

Jim Vedda Award Winner 2018

Libby Harris and Adam Ochstein, StratEx CEO

Each year, StratEx awards our highest honor, the Jim Vedda Award, to one deserving StratExian. The award recipient is chosen by past winners and embodies the values we hold highest at StratEx: integrity, respect and innovation.

On March 1, 2018, this year’s award was presented to Libby Harris, our Client Service Team Lead. Libby is a sharp, hard-working manager who is dedicated to the success of her team, the company, and our clients. We are proud to have her in our ranks!

Congratulations, Libby!

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“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

-George Bernard Shaw

Just Released: New Security Measures

System security is our highest priority at StratEx. One security measure, two-factor authentication, is required for users with access to sensitive employee data when logging into our HR and payroll system, eStratEx.

Our Current Process

Currently, StratEx creates a token for these users at login and sends it to them through email or phone via SMS text. While using this process, there have been times when external factors have caused tokens to be delayed. An email provider or phone service has blocked or delayed tokens for reasons that are unknown to us and out of our control. When this happens, it prevents our users from quickly logging in and can be can be very frustrating, to say the least.

This authentication process works well for most users, but since there is the possibility of our tokens being occasionally delayed, we wanted to offer a solution that would work for every eStratEx user, every time.

Another Option: Google Authenticator

To meet this need, we have introduced an additional, even more reliable way to authenticate logins.

Using the Google Authenticator app available for Android and iOS, eStratEx users can now satisfy two-factor authentication requirements by using a code provided locally on their phones, instead of relying on an email or text from eStratEx that could be delayed by a third-party email provider or phone service.

The app can be easily downloaded on users’ phones, then they can follow these instructions to activate Google Authenticator within eStratEx.

The process is fast, easy, and best of all — no delayed tokens keeping anyone from logging in.

Once installed on a user’s phone, they will always have access to a time-based, highly secure method to authenticate their eStratEx login.

Google Authenticator is available to any users who would like to opt-in to this two-factor authentication process. Just follow these instructions to get started!

Keeping Politics Out of Your Restaurant

It doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you fall on, things are tense politically these days. Whether your organization embraces the political banter or bans it, it’s true that strong opinions on many issues are leaking into the workplace, regardless.

pexels-photo-429247So, imagine this scene: You’ve met up with an old buddy at one of your favorite lunch spots. You quickly get into a discussion on the day’s political situation when your server approaches to take your drink order, and makes a direct rebuttal to your political point.

That’s an eye opener.

And a quick way for a server to receive a complaint and/or lousy tip. Not to mention the possibility of a longer term backlash for the restuarant due to a single social media post gone viral.

Our head of HR at StratEx, Gretchen Van Vlymen, contributed to an article for FSR Magazine on this very topic: Don’t Let Political Talk Destroy Your Restaurant

Check it out for an in depth discussion of politics in restaurants and how to avoid problems with a clear code of conduct, written expectations in handbooks, and an ongoing discussion with staff to ensure a pleasant dining experience — no matter what’s happening in D.C.

BBB Scam: Don’t click that link

Phishing Alert: The BBB and FLSA?

We were recently contacted by one of our clients because they had received a confusing email from the Better Business Bureau.

image-ashxSpecifically, the email came from the “Better Business Bureau Compliance Department”, and it stated that our client had received an employee complaint claiming that they were in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The email included a link that promised to give our client access to the full claim document and further explanation. Finally, the “BBB” requested a response to their email within 48 hours that included details showing “what you intend to do about it”.

This is weird. Especially since:

a) generally, wage and hour violation claims are not initially communicated via email, and
b) the Better Business Bureau doesn’t enforce FLSA claims – the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the US Department of Labor does

One of our HR Account Managers advised our client to contact the Better Business Bureau directly to check out this strange request. An email was quickly received back with dire warnings about the message they had received:

“These emails are going to companies AND individuals.  In each case, they ask you to click on a link that appears to go to a BBB page, or you are asked to download an attached form or file. These are very dangerous emails.  It is important that you do NOT click on any of the links in the emails or download any attachments.”

Below, you’ll find the full reply from the real BBB, which includes instructions on what to do if you receive an email like this, and here is a link to the BBB website with further information.

Unfortunately, phishing scams like these are not going away. When opening email, the old adage stands: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If something seems strange, ask for a second opinion from someone you trust, and definitely… don’t click that link.

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Here is the full response to our client from the real BBB:

Thank you for contacting the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

You may have received an email that says your company is the subject of a complaint filed with BBB, or asks that you complete a BBB business questionnaire, or claims that a customer review about your business has been posted. It may reference a case number or it may be vague on the details.

These emails are going to companies AND individuals.  In each case, they ask you to click on a link that appears to go to a BBB page, or you are asked to download an attached form or file.

These are very dangerous emails.  It is important that you do NOT click on any of the links in the emails or download any attachments.

If you did click on a link or open or download any attachments, your computer may have unwittingly downloaded a stealthy malware program which is able to pass by most anti-virus programs undetected.  In the event you clicked on a link, you should consider having your computer scanned by a trusted computer repair professional to see if any malware is present and, if so, can be removed.

If you did not click on any links or attachments, you are still strongly encouraged to run a complete virus scan on your system.

You can learn more about these bogus phishing and malware scams at http://www.bbb.org/us/article/email-phishing-scam-hijacks-bbb-name-again-36089

In the future, if you receive an email that appears to come from Better Business Bureau, please check with your local BBB office to determine whether it is legitimate.  You can find your local BBB office by visiting http://www.bbb.org/find   You can also forward the email to phishing@council.bbb.org for assistance.

Thank you for contacting the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.  We hope this information is helpful.

Council of Better Business Bureaus

Get to Know a StratExian: Tony Brink

tony-brink-candid-photoName: Tony Brink

History at StratEx:
I started in November of 2015 as a sales rep, and I’ve since taken on the first Account Management role on the sales team. I really enjoy going the extra mile for our clients in this role. From a sales capacity, my job is to find multi-unit operators in need of an all-in-one solution to better manage their people. My biggest focus is to find bottlenecks in the employee life-cycle of restaurant groups that are exhausting resources. My ultimate goal is to remove these constraints through an automated approach and through an exceptional level of service through our great people at StratEx.

How have you helped a client solve a problem?
A new client coming on, who operates in 9 states, had never used a full-suite software solution before and was self-admittedly unfamiliar with the capabilities of technology today. After deciding to move forward with StratEx, it was time to make automation a reality and get their system going. Because it was a big change for their team, each module roll-out sounded overwhelming to them. I popped my head into their office to say hello and demonstrated how easy one of these modules was to use (happened to be Expense Reporting). After we calculated how much time they were spending on expense reports and how much time they stood to save, they couldn’t have been more excited to roll-out the module.

Are you an ice cream, cookie, or cake person?
I eat ice cream eight nights a week.

Backpacking or luxury hotel?
Backpacking.

What is one thing you will never do again?
Take out student loans.

Which Sales topic/tactic is your Patronus?
Reliability. If a client or prospect contacts me at 10pm on a weekday or any time on the weekend, I respond. I’ve walked employees through basic eStratEx processes on Sunday afternoons and emailed with clients on Saturday nights. A client only relies on the system as much as the people behind it, and I’m always available to them.

Advice to New StratExians:
Ask questions! We are not here to be like every other company in the industry so there is always something new to learn. Ask questions, people are always willing to help.

Jim Vedda Award Winners 2017

On February 23rd, 2017, StratEx’s annual Jim Vedda Award was awarded to not one, but two deserving individuals: Alyssa Garza and Andrea Ljevar.

These StratExians exhibit the traits we value most at StratEx — they are smart, hard-working, and dedicated to not only our clients’ success, but to making StratEx the best organization it can be for their fellow StratExians.

In short, Alyssa and Andrea embody our company values:

Integrity:  Do the right thing, the right way, at the right time.
Respect:  StratEx is a family. We respect each other. We work and succeed together.
Innovation:  Continue to develop and apply better solutions to meet new business needs for our clients and our teams.

Congratulations to them both — well deserved!!

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veddaplaque“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

George Bernard Shaw

Get to Know a StratExian: Carissa Coppola

carissa2Name: Carissa Coppola

History at StratEx:
I started with StratEx in September of 2015 as a temporary accounting and operations specialist and with much excitement, was brought on as a permanent accounting and operations specialist in March of 2016! I assist the Service Teams with implementing, registering and maintaining payroll taxes in our system for our clients. I also handle a portion of the accounts receivable procedures for our company.

How have you helped a client solve an HR or Benefit problem?
From an operations and payroll tax standpoint, our software combined with our team allows our restaurant clients to essentially kick their feet up and let us handle preparing and constructing employees’ paychecks and associated payroll taxes, including the difficult task of preparing tipped employees’ wages, paychecks and W-2s. But, the biggest item our team has to be proud of is the timely, efficient and accurate preparation of W-2’s for all our restaurant clients’ employees. Our team is always up-to-date on all state payroll tax laws, changes and regulations and is constantly implementing those into our system. This gives our restaurant clients the time to focus on other top responsibilities in their restaurants.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a chef and open my own restaurant called Carissa’s Kitchen.

If you could master one skill you don’t have now, what would it be?
Singing. I’ve always wanted to be able to belt out a classic song during Karaoke and not hurt people’s ears!

Which Accounting topic is your Patronus?
Hands down: payroll POAs (Power of Attorney forms). I will always have a special place in my heart for these forms.

Favorite thing about working at StratEx:
My favorite part about working at StratEx is genuinely laughing during the work day. No matter how stressful the day may be, anyone on the Operations Team or in the office always says something to lighten the mood and make me laugh out loud.

Advice to new StratExians:
My advice to any new StratExians is to be confident! You have to trust yourself and your instincts when it comes to starting new roles, tasks and projects. Always remember you know and understand more than you may think.

Which celebrity would you like to be for a day?
Beyoncé, of course!

carissa-collage