Austin, Texas is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US and is home to one of the nation's largest populations of hearing-impaired people. In fact, 30 Austin businesses were founded by members of the deaf community. One of those, Scan Mailboxes Solutions LLC, offers a workplace where diversity and inclusion are not only goals but an expectation.
As a virtual, private mailbox service (similar to a post office box), Scan Mailboxes provides its customers the ability to access, view, and store all mailed correspondence, including packages, using a smartphone or computer. This was a winning idea when the company launched a few years ago. It is now a critical value in the era of COVID-19 as businesses have moved to remote operations.
In 2017, Scan Mailboxes first looked for an HR solution to maximize its resources as business demand grew. Its initial goals were to assist with administrative support and time management. Taxes had become a huge issue, and Scan Mailboxes’ previous HR system did not automatically withhold funds, nor did it file quarterly federal, state, and local taxes. This resulted in time-intensive efforts to resolve corrections and avoid penalties. Scan Mailboxes also needed a reliable onboarding and payroll solution.
Little did it know at that time, just how important mobile, remote access would be to its own business operations.
Scan Mailboxes found all of this with Zenefits. With features like onboarding and payroll, Co-founders Christopher Landry and Ken Brown III, can approve time-off requests and locate relevant documentation conveniently, efficiently, and quickly. Chris says, “A key challenge is making sure we comply with government agencies. With Zenefits’ help, we can focus on what we do best; customer relations and meeting the needs of our staff.
In 2020, the company recognized the added value of the Zenefits mobile apps they had been using all along. Starting in March 2020, even though the business is considered essential and the office set up met social distancing guidelines, they opted to rotate staff for remote work.
“We’ve always been using the Zenefits app and its mobile features,” says Chris. So when the pandemic hit, we felt like we were in a good place as far as tracking and managing our employees.”
One of Zenefits’ best features is that it is worry-free: it takes away the stress for us.
Co-founder & Co-owner
The Definition of Diversity
Both Ken and Chris understand better than most the needs unique to their community, and they value a partner who can offer functionality and features that allow their employees to participate actively. For example, details like Zenefits’ live chat support options, make all the difference for hearing-impaired staff members.
With the time saved in Zenefits, Scan Mailboxes’ management can also focus on diversity and inclusion hiring initiatives. Scan Mailboxes has hired more than 15 deaf employees and in doing so, created a unique workplace and culture. “Zenefits helps us make sure that as entrepreneurs, we’re not losing sight of the fact that our employees are supporting themselves and their families,” states Ken. With a goal to expand and provide more job opportunities for the deaf community, both Ken and Chris require that their HR system is as inclusive as the company is.
As a two-time Zennie Award winner (for Resilience in 2020 and Diversity & Inclusion in 2019), Scan Mailboxes takes pride in what those accolades represent.
Against the COVID-19 odds, in 2020, their business has grown.
“We’ve actually signed our largest ever client to a long-term contract and that has required hiring additional help. We’re fortunate and grateful to be able to maintain our company’s security and operations in a city that has experienced significant disruption to the small business economy.”
And their 100% hearing-impaired team has flourished too. Their hope is that by setting an example, Scan Mailboxes will encourage more companies to include qualified deaf candidates when they are hiring.
Time is Money
For Ken, time management is one of his biggest challenges. He cannot imagine putting all the additional time, energy, and effort into handling HR, payroll, and taxes manually. Zenefits removes the need to hire a full-time HR administrator and allows them to focus on providing the best customer service. “Because, without our customers, we would not have a company to run,” Chris explains.
Employee needs are also crucial to the organization. The ability to obtain work and tax history information —all from their smartphones—vastly simplifies compliance and data collection requirements. Antiquated tools at former employers, like punch-in time clocks were not only frustrating to use, they slowed down the process and productivity. Scan Mailbox staff members can request paid time off and access relevant paperwork conveniently and autonomously —from anywhere— eliminating the ‘unnecessary need’ of reaching out to managers directly.
Growing Business and Purpose
With plans to expand into multiple locations within and outside of Texas, Ken and Chris reflect on yet another reason why they chose Zenefits: its’ seamless ability to help them scale. Zenefits’ centralized onboarding, payroll, ability to pay taxes in multiple states and provide HR expertise, is priceless to these entrepreneurs. They are also considering adding healthcare benefits administration, 401k, and HR Advisory services from Zenefits and its partners to better support their team and their growth.
Leadership at Scan Mailboxes feels confident and comfortable about what lies ahead. And as a recipient of the community nominated, Austin Armadillo Award, they have cemented their place as a valued local employer and business entity. As they continue to lead by example, they inspire the Zenefits team to do even more to power their purpose.