HALFMOON — A local human resources company has expanded its footprint in town, acquiring the building next door and retrofitting it with many of the amenities that have helped it win annual best-workplace honors for much of the last decade.
GTM Payroll Services cut the ribbon Thursday at 9 Executive Park Drive but also will continue to occupy 7 Executive Park Drive, its headquarters for nearly 20 years.
Founder and CEO Guy Maddalone said the business had grown to the point that it needed more space for its 70 employees, even though some of them are off-site at a Glens Falls office.
“We couldn’t fit everybody into our existing building, No. 7,” he said Tuesday.
Talking to the employees, he found most wanted to not only stay in town, but stay right where they were, near Northway Exit 8A. So GTM bought the office building at No. 9 in January, and spent the next nine months overhauling the 20-year-old structure.
It now has desks that switch from standing to sitting with the push of a button (“That was a big hit for all of our folks,” Maddalone said). There’s also a private lactation space (two employees are on maternity leave and a third just returned); a lounge with no computer screens (so employees can get away from work without going away); an open floor plan for most of the staff; and workstations with dual computer monitors mounted on swing arms (to increase elbow room).
“We did that with some of the ergonomics in mind,” Maddalone said. The reason for all this was twofold he said — to do right by the employees and reap the benefits of a happier workforce and better workplace.
A pleasant workplace boosts employee satisfaction and ideally that reduces turnover in a tight labor market.
THREAT TO REPUTATION
As the renovation was wrapping up, Maddalone and GTM got an urgent new project to undertake. The company headquarters has a Clifton Park ZIP code, making it a “Clifton Park payroll firm.”
In early September, a payroll firm actually located in Clifton Park made national news when tens of millions of dollars entrusted to it went missing. The owner of the now-defunct MyPayrollHR on Route 146 faces federal charges in alleged bank fraud to the tune of $70 million, as well as a series of lawsuits over the matter, which left thousands of people nationwide scrambling to pay bills and recover salaries paid to them.
Maddalone said it was a scramble, starting shortly after the MyPayrollHR fiasco became public knowledge. But GTM appears to have escaped being tarred by being in the same location and having some of the same lines of business, he said.
“We got in front and communicated with our clients how they could trust us,” he said. GTM thanked their clients for their trust, Maddalone said, told them why that trust was justified, and showed them how they could verify what they were trusting.
“I think all we can do is stress who we were and how we do business,” Maddalone added.
There were some long days, but the campaign appears to have succeeded, he said: GTM didn’t lose a single client, and in fact gained nearly a dozen in the immediate aftermath.
Maddalone said in retrospect, having inflicted no damage on his company, the situation was useful because it provided a model of what businesses should look for and avoid when retaining a payroll or human resources firm.
He said GTM has three layers of protection against fraud: independent annual audits under the SOC1 protocol created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; annual audits for compliance with the rules of the Automated Clearing House, the electronic money transfer system by which many payroll checks are distributed in the United States; and cybersecurity protocols overseen by the state Department of Financial Services.
“Those are totally opposite of what they were doing,” Maddalone said of MyPayrollHR. “The other thing I would say is, we’ve been a member of the community” for three decades.
PAST GROWTH, FUTURE AMBITIONS
Maddalone started GTM in 1991. In 2001, he moved the company from Wolf Road in Colonie to the new headquarters he constructed at 7 Executive Park Drive.
The company now processes more than $1 billion a year in payroll payments for its clients’ more than 40,000 workers. The payroll business splits into two distinct groups: about 8,000 individuals who have domestic employees such as nannies or butlers and about 1,700 businesses, mostly small to mid-sized.
Maddalone’s wife, Diane, is GTM’s controller. His brothers Todd and Michael are vice president of operations and director of business sales, respectively.
The roughly 70 other employees include certified payroll professionals, licensed insurance brokers, PHR-certified human resource managers, employment tax experts, and CPAs.
Between the two buildings, there is space for additional employees and more services, and Maddelone hopes to fill that space.
Just in the past year, GTM has expanded its portfolio to include human resources tasks such as management of client employment applications, incorporation of new hires, benefit management, time management, performance tracking and open enrollment for health insurance.
GTM also offers clients training on that portion of the HR process that they retain control of — either in person at employers’ sites, remotely through a data link or in person in GTM’s office. The newly refitted space at 9 Executive Park Drive includes a classroom for 35 people.
Maddalone expects those training services to be an area of growth. “We’re continuing to grow, we continue to add more and more clients around the country.”