Giving Back: Choose The Gunnar Project

At AssetHR, one of our family values focuses on different ways that we can give back to the community. We have many groups and organizations that are close to our heart, and one of those groups was founded by part of our client family. The Gunnar Project is an organization founded by Marc Miller, Chief Happ(i)ness Officer at Imagine IT.

Several years ago, Marc and his wife were devastated by the loss of their 19-year-old son, Gunnar, in a surprising skateboarding accident. Gunnar, full of life and a true source of happiness for everyone who knew him, jumped on his skateboard while helping a friend move. He grabbed onto a car, fell and landed on his head and neck, and was killed instantly.

The loss of Gunnar was a tragic loss for our community. He was about to start college following 14 months of sobriety after a struggle with drugs and alcohol through high school.  He had a bright future ahead of him.

After Gunnar passed away, the outreach from the people who knew him was amazing. Marc and his wife received texts, letters, cards and voicemails from people across the country, and a consistent message surfaced: Gunnar had a unique ability to create happiness in the people around him.

It was at that point that Marc knew he had discovered the mission for the Gunnar Project: to help young people understand how to find – and thrive – on the happiness they create for themselves, every day.

 “Instead of people looking back on their lives and saying, I wish I would’ve done this or that I wanted to get out in front of young people and challenge them to rethink their happiness.  We all need to understand how to create happiness each and every day. It is vital the young adults are fully responsible for their own happiness from the moment they get up in the morning, until the moment they go to bed.”

After spending some time doing research on the topic of innate happiness, Marc learned that there’s a direct correlation between the rise of drug use and depression and the material version of society that we’re cycling through. But what is surprising is that there is a very simple way to combat this.

Many studies show that people who pursue their passions, who have strong relationships, who are healthy, and who have a deeper connection to something bigger than themselves, are less likely to be driven towards depression and drugs, because they find innate happiness outside of the material world. Making this type of mindset more common among young people is truly just a matter of bringing it to the forefront of our conversations, and giving them the tools to be more intentional about how they shape their lives.

A lot of Marc’s message is centered around the idea of finding happiness in the everyday things that we often overlook, and how these are the things that can help us intentionally increase our happiness throughout the day. How we’re presented, on a near constant basis, with the things we need to buy in order to be happy, and how that leads to a life of chasing a bigger house, a fancier car, and a bigger paycheck – instead of being content with what we have.

Marc brings this focus of finding happiness to local schools, youth groups, and even some companies to put a stronger focus on being in the moment. To find the opportunities in life that support your passions. To intentionally show kindness for others. To step back, see the positive, and fill your contentment bucket.

The great thing about how Marc brings this much-needed conversation to the youth of our community is that there’s no cost to it. There’s not a financial investment that people need to make to learn these skills or learn from Marc – it’s simply an open mind, and a willingness to stop, slow down, and look at life from a new perspective. To choose joy first.

We are proud of all the work that Marc is doing to help shape a brighter future for the youth of our community. Marc’s message and the conversations he has are life changing.

So how can you help?

  • Invite Marc to speak to your organization. This is the primary way to get this important message to more people in the community.
  • Support Marc’s efforts with a donation. Marc brings a free copy of his book, The Happ(i)ness War, for every person who attends his presentations. You can help get more of these life-changing books into the hands of kids by donating to the cause here:
  • Finally, request a copy of his book for yourself. Marc is happy to send out his book on happ(i)ness to anyone who requests it (although, we would be very appreciative if you’d donate to cover the cost of the book and shipping!).

Outsourced safety training drives significant insurance savings

The Problem.

Our client, Chemstar, is a manufacturer of starch-based products. They have been part of our payroll family for years, and throughout that time have slowly layered in some of the additional capabilities that our intuitive HR system has to offer, like online benefits enrollment, applicant tracking, and our identity theft prevention program.

Our deep relationship with Chemstar is built on extensive industry knowledge, responsiveness across our team and an ability to quickly tackle any special needs or requests they have. So, when their internal safety training person left the company, Chemstar turned to us. They had had a wildly positive experience as a payroll client and knew they could trust us to deliver current and on-trend safety training programs for their multiple facilities.

Our Solution.

With three locations across the US, we have a multi-prong approach to the different types of training this client needs. Each month, we visit one of their locations to facilitate an on-site compliance training. The topic of these trainings can range from lockout/tag out training to building evacuations.

The Results.

We partner with Chemstar to make sure that we have all the information needed prior to each training, then compare that to how an outside regulator would approach their facility, and craft a customized program for their staff. By utilizing our safety consultants, we’ve provided deeper training that’s led to a significant decrease in injuries and claims. This has had a substantial impact on their MOD, creating considerable savings on their Worker’s Compensation insurance.

Beyond this, we are able to leverage our extensive knowledge and insight to keep both their leadership team and their staff up-to-date on the best safety protocols and practices, giving them the ongoing expertise they need in an efficient, cost-effective way.

A new system brings HR efficiencies to maximize time and cost-savings

The Problem.

Our client had inefficiencies with their payroll admin time, specifically in relation to pay codes. They had been using a large payroll company for a long time, and were forced to create workarounds for the limitations within the system they were provided.

Our Solution.

By sitting down with our client to listen to their concerns, needs, and wants, we were able to construct a plan that worked for them. We looked at all union contracts and worked with them to create a process that they had wanted for managing all of their workers, but not been able to implement with their previous system.

During the switch, an issue arose causing the time in their system to continuously revert back to Hawaiian time. To mitigate this, we came in for two days leading up to the 4th of July to make updates to their system and get new clocks overnighted. To ensure this issue was resolved quickly, one of our employees installed them on the 4th of July while also manually inputting all the missed punches.

The Results.

We were able to quickly mitigate their issues and eliminate the need for manual entries to their system, saving them a significant amount of time and money on the basic functions of their business. This was done with minimal downtime to their system, and without creating an impact on their staff’s ability to work.

Our dedication to resolving the pay clock issue also demonstrated to our client that we are willing to go the extra mile. We both understand that issues and problems will arise, but how we react to and fix problems is what sets us apart from the competition.

Today, after two years of working with this company, we have also brought in one of our HR consultants to help streamline their processes, ensuring they are compliant in all facets of HR.

Automated solutions create cost and time savings for a seasonal company

The Problem.

Our client is a company with seasonal workers. Many of their employees work a 34-36-week season, but their pay and benefits are stretched out over the entire 12-month year. Our client wanted a way to streamline payroll and better track benefits to help limit possible errors that can occur with this type of set up.

Streamlining payroll and benefits in this type of situation can get tricky, because it can make it look like employees are changing their coverage plan during the year, while most are not.

Our Solution.

We provided our client with calculated overrides and created capped benefit plans for each coverage code. This allows employees to have increased premiums taken during the time that they are working. Once they have paid for a full year-long premium, the deductions are shut off.

To manage the carrier fees, we worked directly with our client and their broker to ensure the medical provider only received information related to actual changes.

The results.

By providing our client with simple workarounds, we decreased the greater responsibility of manually tracking the premiums themselves. We also helped build automated safeguards into the system that made the process far less manual. By implementing these new systems, our client will spend less money and time managing their programs and they will encounter fewer costly issues over time.

Documentation is Key

By Susan Fentin, Skoler, Abbott & Presser P.C.

I hate to break it to you, employers, but in employment-related disputes, the world is not likely to view you as a sympathetic figure. Instead, it is far more likely that you will be viewed as the Big Bad Employer and the individual who has brought a charge of discrimination against you will be seen as the Poor Innocent Employee. After all, she has lost her job, lost her health insurance, perhaps will not be able to make her car payments or feed her small children, all because you treated her unfairly based on her protected class or protected status.
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