Cobbling together multiple HR vendors with a self-taught approach became complicated, time-consuming, and costly.
TriNet provides the right technology to help the charter schools manage HR duties such as payroll, benefits administration, and scheduling time off.
Far too often, children in underserved communities are born into social, economic and geographically disadvantaged systems that aren’t conducive to accessing a high-quality education experience. Storefront Academy Charter Schools is committed to changing this legacy by providing students with an education option to prepare them academically and socially to become high-achieving, well-rounded adults. They accomplish this through an innovative model which includes effective parent engagement, supplemental skills-based support and enthusiastic teachers who provide differentiated instruction and character development. Storefront isn’t limited to only instructing their students during school hours—they continuously create events and hands-on programs to care for the child emotionally and academically while at home.
“Our model is to focus on the whole child and the social piece is a large component,” said Nidia Evangelista, Director of Operations at Storefront. “What we pride ourselves on is that all of our teachers are trained in social emotional learning before it was even mandated.” Located in the communities of South Bronx and Harlem, the charter schools’ philosophy is that every student will have a stronger chance at a fulfilling life by receiving an intentional, rigorous education.
Before working with TriNet, Storefront took a do-it-yourself approach to HR in conjunction with a patchwork of solutions. Without a dedicated HR infrastructure, managing functions this way proved to be complicated, time-consuming and costly. Employee relations were handled ad hoc by a variety of members on the leadership team. Other responsibilities such as compensation and offer letter development landed on Nidia’s plate as the Director of Operations, a role that juggles numerous crucial functions to ensure both schools run efficiently. Tracking and processing their faculty’s necessary employment paperwork, forms and paid time off was also an insurmountable challenge. Storefront determined that they needed an outsourced full-service HR solution to help the team stay organized and compliant, further enabling them to have the confidence to focus on their core job responsibilities and lead high-achieving schools. TriNet passed the test.
For Stuart Wolf, Director of Finance, a significant benefit of working with TriNet is the price structure. With TriNet’s co-employment PEO model, the nonprofit can offer a breadth of benefits through regional and national insurance carriers that may not otherwise be available to them as a medium-size nonprofit organization. Additionally, TriNet’s transparent pricing for full-service HR includes a flat per-employee-per-month administrative fee so service costs are predictable as compared to cobbling together a multitude of vendors. “It makes things a lot easier to have everything in one place rather than have all these different companies dealing with different things,” said Stuart.
Stuart highly values the TriNet payroll solution and experts. “With the payroll company we were using in the past, customer service wasn’t that great and the product was limited as far as what we could do on the platform. We couldn’t track PTO,” said Stuart. The lack of a time-off tracking system, combined with the inefficient process of submitting and approving requests through an online form, created confusion for leadership and staff alike.
Using the TriNet platform, Storefront leadership can take comfort that their time-off tracking and PTO policy syncs with their payroll. Employees can log in to the self-service platform, see their current time off accrual and PTO balance, and request time off triggering an automated approval process.
Nidia believes that by using the TriNet time off feature, their company culture is more harmonious as the tension around PTO is alleviated. The Storefront team is empowered to access HR functions such as submitting time-off requests, accessing their payroll data and updating personal HR information and documents. Nidia is freed up to focus on other matters such as building maintenance, meals and student affairs rather than devoting time to ensuring documentation such as W-4 and I-9 forms, direct deposit authorization, health benefits records, and more, are completed, compliant and properly processed. “I didn’t have the adequate skills or knowledge to handle HR; it was kind of defaulted to my position,” said Nidia. “So working with TriNet has alleviated a lot of stress for me.”
Working on the TriNet platform, Stuart also relies on the powerful reporting tool, Workforce Analytics. He easily creates custom reports giving him visibility into Storefront’s HR data like their payroll, tax, benefits and HR information. He appreciates that he can tailor the report views by modifying columns, group data to focus on specific information and export in a variety of formats in order to arrange the report exactly how he needs it. This becomes especially helpful when fulfilling data requests for board meetings, government agencies and grant applications. For reports that need to be reviewed on a regular basis, Stuart uses a feature within Workforce Analytics to schedule reports in advance instead of manually running them through the platform. “Scheduling reports is easy. I just set it up and I get an email that our report is ready,” said Stuart.
TriNet understands that not all employment matters can be handled through technology alone. Whenever Stuart requests hands-on support for tricky payroll issues, he can quickly speak to a TriNet payroll services expert to help ensure compliance with pay regulations, reporting requirements and filings, and most importantly, that his faculty is paid correctly and on time.
Nidia relies on the TriNet experts for help on how to handle specific employee relations issues and leverage their expertise with workplace policy development. “I can ask any kind of question and always receive a follow-up with assistance,” said Nidia. While the charter school has a remarkable vision of helping their underprivileged students thrive, the nonprofit isn’t immune to risks with ever-changing employment regulations, especially in the complex employment climate of New York. TriNet compliance experts offer HR guidance and keep up with employment rules to help mitigate risk so Storefront has more peace of mind when it comes to compliance with new employment laws, sexual harassment training, CARES Act provisions and other requirements.
To build upon their commitment to creating lasting change for students impacted by inequity, Storefront Academy has ambitious growth goals. They plan to add new academic grades to the Harlem and South Bronx schools and continue to seek new opportunities for locations in other communities where they can best serve. TriNet is proud to provide a solution that optimizes their organizational processes so they can focus on high-quality education.