Welcome back to #WeAreGreenKey, where we shine a spotlight on our powerhouse team. 

We had an awesome chat with Anthony Agosto, Payroll Supervisor on the Payroll team at Green Key. Anthony has been with Green Key for over eight years and has played an integral role in the success of the payroll department. He elaborated on how smoothly his team works together, as well as how he plans to grow and improve professionally. 

How did you first get your start in Payroll? 

I had applied for a payroll position on Craigslist with no previous experience. It was an entry level position at a healthcare company working in their payroll department. I knew it was for me as soon as I got into it, as I’m very detail oriented in general. Math was always my strongest subject in school, so working with numbers came easily. I grew and improved in the role very quickly. Within a year, I was already well-versed in the organization and customer service. After a couple years, my manager left and joined Green Key, so I kind of followed him there. Within months, I was promoted from Payroll Coordinator to Payroll Supervisor. I’ve now been at Green Key for over eight years. 

What do the day-to-day responsibilities of a Payroll Supervisor entail? 

It’s a lot of team management and support. I try to continuously train my team as best as I can. I truly believe everyone should be given a fair amount of opportunities to improve themselves and resolve their mistakes. My job is to make sure my team is not only well trained, but maintains great customer service skills. That applies to both our internal recruiters and our temp employees out in the field. I’m here to keep everything organized and in line. 

How does your team work together to create a productive environment? 

Communication is key. The pandemic was difficult, but I take pride in our team right now, as they are open to learn and take constructive criticism. We have open and complete transparency with each other. This also allows us to improve our day-to-day operations based on the feedback from recruiters and temp employees. We also have a tight connection with the other back-office departments, which helps us to feel needed and respected. 

What do you believe sets Green Key apart from other agencies or organizations? 

The managing partners are welcoming and approachable. I don’t feel intimidated if I need to talk to them. Working at Green Key feels like you are part of a family. I take loyalty very seriously and this is an agency where you are both appreciated and trusted. At the end of the day, we are all on the same team and supporting each other. I am batting for you as much as I am batting for myself. 

What are your professional goals for the future? 

My professional goal is to take on bigger projects as we continue to grow. I have a great support system here with Pam [Benedetti], who is always giving me opportunities to experience tasks outside of day-to-day operations and advance to a more senior level. I am always looking to improve myself and run the department, while also managing my team and developing our systems. 

Employers Need to Prepare For Virus Spread

While the US has so far seen few cases of the coronavirus, employers need to plan should the situation change, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a recent briefing.

“Now is the time for businesses, hospitals, community schools, and everyday people to begin preparing,” said CDC spokesman Benjamin Haynes. Employers should “begin to respond in a flexible way to differing levels of severity, to refine their business response plans as needed.”

Among the suggestions, the CDC urged businesses to “replace in-person meetings with video or telephone conferences and increase teleworking options.”

Officially designated COVID-19, the virus has killed almost 3,000 people, mostly in China, and has been detected in several dozen countries. In the US there has been one death among the 60 confirmed cases (as of late last week). Most of those were among passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and those repatriated from China.

Last week the California Department of Public Health reported the first case of person-to-person transmission in which the infected person had not traveled abroad or was known to have been in contact with an infected person. Since then at least one additional case of unknown origin has been discovered.

It’s important, however, to put the situation into perspective. According to the CDC, since October, at least 32,000,000 Americans have come down with the common flu, killing 18,000. Flu has a fatality rate of less than 0.1%.

The coronavirus has a higher death rate, now estimated to be 1.4%, but that’s down from initial reports putting it at 2%. Even that may overstating the rate, infectious disease experts say.

What’s different is that the coronavirus appears to be more contagious, plus so much less is known about how and when infected persons can transmit it to others. The CDC warned of the uncertainty in its briefing Feb. 26. “During an outbreak with a new virus, there is a lot of uncertainty. Our guidance and advice are likely to be fluid, subject to change as we learn more.”

Companies in Europe have sent thousands of workers home and a British TV company has begun screening visitors at some of its European offices, barring those who recently visited countries where the virus has gained a foothold.

Few companies in the US have yet taken such extreme measures, though so many companies pulled out of the annual Games Developer Conference in San Francisco later this month that it was cancelled.

Should the virus spread – and the CDC said to expect it will — businesses could be ordered to close. Travel restrictions likely would be imposed.

“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare with the expectation that this could be bad,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC told reporters.

Joseph Deng, an attorney with Baker McKenzie in Los Angeles,told the Society for Human Resource Management employers should appoint a team to deal with the possibility the virus will disrupt operations. He recommends including HR, legal and IT.

If the company already has a disaster preparedness plan, the team should use that as a starting point, Deng said. Many disaster plans assume a short term event. With a pandemic, the impact is likely to be much longer, as we’ve seen in China. Thus it is essential employers plan both for the short and long term.

Attorney Mark J. Neuberger with Foley and Lardner has a list of specific steps businesses should already be taking. Besides banning travel to virus hotspots, he recommends appointing someone to check the CDC website daily for the latest news on the virus’ spread.

As important as developing or updating a response plan is communicating it to employees. Reassure them the company is taking appropriate precautions and have managers explain the plan and how it will work.

This is also a good opportunity to remind workers of basic sanitary practices including thoroughly washing hands and avoiding close contact. More specific details are available on the OSHA website.

Photo by Anton on Unsplash