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Lever1 Services and News

Lever1 Ranks No. 44 on the 2017 Inc. 500 List

Lever1 PEO recognized as fastest growing MO company by Inc. Magazine

KANSAS CITY, MO (August 17, 2017)


Lever1, an accredited leader in human resources, payroll and benefit solutions ranked No. 44 on Inc. magazine’s list of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies – the Inc. 500. This prestigious list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the dynamic segment of independent small and midsized businesses.

“We are both excited and humbled to be named among the nation’s business leaders. This Inc. recognition is also a testament to my amazing team at Lever1. Every day they move mountains to help our clients achieve their goals,” said Lever1 president and partner Erica Brune. Lever1 is a Kansas City-based professional employer organization (PEO) providing strategic business resources for companies across the country. As an Inc. 500 honoree, Lever1 now shares a pedigree with companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other notable alumni.

“One of the most rewarding benefits since founding Lever1 is being able to help develop other entrepreneurs and ignite passion,” said CEO Greg Gragg. Through a suite of Lever1 services, small to midsize companies can focus their resources on core competencies and growth. It’s a solution that’s gaining in popularity as more businesses understand the advantage. “In our industry we’ve seen clients experience double-digit growth rates over those not in a PEO partnership. By pooling clients together we’ve created a much needed solution to combat the rising costs of benefits and employment.”

"The Inc. 500 is the most persuasive evidence I know that the American Dream is still alive,” says Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. “The founders and CEOs of the Inc. 500 tell us they think determination, risk taking, and vision were the keys to their success, and I believe them.”

Looking deeper into Lever1’s three-year sales growth of 6,560%, Brune says, “Our success is a direct result of our client’s success because we are committed to helping them reclaim their time.” Brune also credits the industry trend in how entrepreneurs look to grow their business by relying on the expertise of outsourced specialists rather than keeping everything in-house.

Lever1 gives clients access to HR experts and opportunities to access pooled benefits at a fraction of the cost to do it on their own, thus not only saving time but gaining lower rates on insurance and other operating costs.

“Clients stay with us because our service is unmatched. We know our clients personally and understand how much they have invested in the services we provide. It truly is a partnership where everybody benefits,” said Brune.


About Lever1
Lever1 is a Kansas City-based PEO providing convenient resources for businesses across the country. Integrated services enable business owners to cost-effectively outsource the management of human resources, payroll and employee benefits. Building partnerships with confidence, Lever1 allows its clients to focus their resources on generating revenue. To learn how the right partnership can increase your productivity, call 866.622.1511 or visit www.rumao.org.cn.






HR Summer Do's and Don'ts

By Nancy Dzurko, Lever1 HR Manager

As the temperature begins to heat up heading in to the summer months, you can be sure there are a couple of related issues that need your attention in the workplace. 

The first of these hot topics is summer wardrobe.  With the warmer weather, you can expect a corresponding change in employee attire.  In particular, if your workplace allows business casual clothes, you will want to be proactive and communicate specifics on what is acceptable for the summer months.  There is a difference between weekend / work out casual and business casual that you will want to be sure everyone is clear on.  Don’t wait until someone shows up in an outfit that is outside of the guidelines and doesn’t meet your expectations. 

A fun way to share the do’s and don’ts is with a picture board.  You can have team meetings and go through the photos encouraging discussion on what is okay or not in your work environment.  Don’t forget to include shoes in your summer dress code policy. 

In addition to maintaining a business appropriate look even on the hottest days, you also want to consider the impact of air conditioning as it may be very warm outside and then cooler inside.  Layers are a great idea to allow for individuals who always have different internal thermostats adjust as needed throughout the work day. 

Finally, factor in safety.  If your workplace has a lot of heavy equipment or health code standards to observe, some clothes and shoes may not be permitted in any season.

Another important issue to plan for in summer months is the vacation schedule.  The warm days of summer are prime time for time off!  If you have been in business for a while, you have a pretty good idea of the flow of work and when there will be peaks and valleys.  You will also have experience with the time frames that your employees will want to take time off.  Have a well thought out process for requesting and approving time off.  Your team members will understand that someone has to be at work to cover the business needs and take care of customers.   They will want to know the rules of the game and how decisions will be made so they can put some planning in to their summer plans. 

It is a best practice to have vacation or time off requests submitted in writing so you can keep track of them.  You may want to date or time stamp if you are going to do a first come, first serve approval process.  You should also know how many team members you can give off based on business volume by day of week, possibly time of day if you are 24/7 and even time of year.  What are the busiest times during the summer months when you will need the most employees around?  Allow as much time off as reasonable so your employees can enjoy some summer fun but also be sure to plan, monitor and adjust in order to make sure the business runs smoothly.  You may want to consider allowing part-time staff to work more hours over the summer months so your full-time staff has increased flexibility for time off.

Just as we know there is a pattern to the seasons, there is also a pattern to what happens in the workplace.  With a small investment of time in preparation and communication, you can ensure that your workplace is cool, calm and comfortable even as things heat up in the months ahead.

Take Your Child to Work Day

HR Planning Guide for Employers

By Nancy Dzurko, Lever1 HR Manager 

Take your Daughters and Sons to work day is this Thursday, April 27th.  Would it surprise you to know that Gloria Steinem, the founder of the Ms. Foundation for Women was a driving force behind the first Take You Daughter to work day almost 25 years ago?  This annual event was so popular that in 2003, sons were also added.  And today, it has evolved beyond our own children to include nieces, nephews and grandkids.

The annual event benefits employers, employees and children.  It is a great way to share what your business does and help children understand what the adults in their life do when they are away at work.  It allows your team members to introduce their kids to their work family.  It’s an all-around feel good opportunity that boosts morale and improves work place relationships yet requires minimal planning and little to no financial resources.

As an employer, you just need to do some basic planning and communicating to make the day a big success.  Invest a little time the day before, thinking about how to make the day work for your employees and their kids.  If a meeting or project is scheduled the day of, can a couple of work parents cover for other parents so everyone can participate and the meeting can go ahead?    Think about and communicate if any areas or conversations are off limits.  Share those in advance so your team members and their young recruits don’t have any embarrassing surprises.  Also be sure to think about and discuss safety issues with your employees to prevent accidents or mishaps.

Accept and plan for the day to be less productive than usual.  Remember to encourage everyone, including those employees not participating (single, empty nesters etc.) to plan to go with the flow and join in the fun.  If possible, have a rotation through different work areas or offices to keep the kids learning, moving, meeting new people, making new friends and giving parents a break for part of the day if they have tasks that must be done but don’t want to leave their kids unattended.  Have a contingency plan available if a “work emergency” arises to allow parents time to take kids home or again have another work parent lined up to step in. 

If possible, some inexpensive treats and refreshments (food allergies may need to be considered) will make this fun day even more special.

And finally, enjoy this break from the routine that can help encourage comradery and increase engagement for all involved.  






Current Trend in Employee Wellness Program

Bettering Your Business Tip Provided by Truss

Employee wellness programs have been around for decades. It’s estimated that approximately 70 percent* of employers currently offer a general wellness program. And while many companies offer these programs to support their employees and family members while they improve their health, the current trend is towards adding gamification as part of the wellness engagement strategy.


Members earn points and rewards for meeting activity based goals like exercising, reaching a daily step goal, running a 5K, or working with a health coach or dietitian. In addition, outcome based rewards also are becoming increasingly popular. For example, such programs could reward employees for meeting goals like weight loss, smoking cessation, or managing a chronic condition.


Many agree that the addition of a wellness program encourages a culture of health and are often designed to reduce healthcare costs for both the company and its employees. In fact, a recent study** found that nearly 87 percent of the business executives surveyed stated wellness programs have helped their employees enjoy healthier lifestyles.


Incentives for these programs may even include reduced employee premiums, employer paid Health Savings Account funding, and reimbursements on everything from fitness devices, gym memberships and yoga classes, to massage and relaxation services.

Looking to add a wellness plan? Insurance sponsored plans are an excellent way for small businesses to launch a wellness program as part of their larger benefits package.

* SHRM, 2015 Employee Benefits research report, http://tinyurl.com/zufwk22

**Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota, “The State of Workplace Wellness in America”




Lever1 Shares Next Steps for Employers with Overtime Ruling Block


On Tuesday, November 22nd, a federal judge in Texas blocked the US Department of Labor rule change impacting exempt and non-exempt overtime classifications—set to take effect on December 1, 2016.

While the exempt level duties test remained unchanged, the regulation was scheduled to increase the minimum salary threshold for employees to be considered exempt from required overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476 annually. By conservative estimates, the new ruling was expected to impact more than 4 million workers who would become newly eligible for time-and-a-half wages for hours worked beyond 40 per week.

What Does This Mean for Your Business?  

Because the overtime rule applied to all states, the judge also decided to apply the injunction to all states nationwide. The preliminary injunction isn’t permanent. It only preserves the existing overtime rule until the court has a chance to review the merits of the case objecting revisions to the regulation.  Because there have been no updates to the salary threshold since 2004, employers should not assume that the ruling and salary threshold change will be permanently barred.

How to Minimize Disruption to Your Workforce

Employers should leave decisions in place which have already been implemented. For example, if you have increased salary levels to maintain an employee’s exempt-level status do not make changes.

However, if there are employees who were scheduled to be reclassified as non-exempt, but the change has not yet gone into effect, employers may want to postpone the implementation of those changes until the courts have had a time to review objections to the new rule change.


Do you have additional concerns about how this overtime ruling delay will impact your business and your employees? Contact the HR experts at Lever1. Email us or call 816-994-1300.




Truss and Lever1 Team Up in Strategic Partnership

Local businesses look to provide Kansas City with new offerings in the business resource and health care marketplace

KANSAS CITY, MO (September 8, 2016) Truss LLC, the area’s second-largest independent insurance brokerage, and Lever1, an accredited leader in human resources, payroll and benefit solutions, today announced a strategic partnership to offer the area’s entrepreneurial marketplace additional collaborative tools and streamlined resources in an effort to help navigate efficient business solutions.

The Kansas City-based Lever1 is a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) providing convenient resources for businesses across the country. This new partnership will expose their current and potential clients to a greater array of quality services and offerings not otherwise immediately available to them. The integration of these services will enable business owners to cost efficiently outsource the management of human resources, payroll, employee benefits, and the management of a multitude of business solutions with access to a PEO.

“We are very pleased to partner with Lever1. This partnership leverages their expertise in PEO and payroll options to expand on our current offerings,” Steve Nicholson, CEO of Truss. “We pride ourselves on finding unique ways of offering our clients the latest in available resources to ensure our clients meet their business goals.”

As a part of this partnership, these two powerful companies will work together, to roll out a new PEO master health-plan designed to overcome the challenges employers face in the current health market space.

“We are constantly hearing employers concerned they don’t have enough options as healthcare costs continue to rise. This partnership will bring clients a convenient, comprehensive solution through quality healthcare offerings and PEO service,” said Erica Brune, Lever1 President. “It is Lever1’s mission to help business owners focus on the core goals of their company and generate revenue. We are excited to share this vision with Truss and offer a unique strategy and service offering that businesses need to thrive.”

Truss serves thousands of clients in the Kansas City region, with 170 employees and over $450 million in premium volume. The Kansas City-based insurance brokerage specializes in risk management solutions, employee benefits, human resources consulting, insurance, surety bonds and retirement planning.






KANSAS CITY, MO (September 1, 2016)  The American Heart Association is pleased to introduce the 2017 Go Red For Women luncheon co-chairs. Erica Brune and Kathy Collins will co-chair the Go Red For Women campaign to raise awareness for the No. 1 killer of women – heart disease.

One in three women die of heart disease and stroke, but 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented. More than 300 women’s lives are saved each day since Go Red For Women began in 2004. When it comes to beating heart disease, change can be the cure, which makes education and awareness vital to Kansas Citians.

As the co-chairs for the Go Red For Women luncheon, Brune and Collins will lead fundraising efforts and work alongside dedicated volunteers, whose mission is to make Kansas City a healthy community and stand side by side with the American Heart Association in the fight against heart disease and stroke. Funds raised by Go Red For Women help finance research specifically geared toward women, education, and legislative advocacy programs in Kansas City.


Erica Brune holds a dual role as President of Lever1 and CAO of an Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing Company, Blue Chair holdings – which includes subsidiary Gragg Advertising. Erica was recently honored by the Kansas City Business Journal and named among the 2016 Women Who Mean Business. Brune offers 16 years of human resources and strategic fiscal reporting that has led to 45% financial growth year over year for her companies. Her HR and payroll expertise has been shared at conferences nationwide and featured in renowned publications including Kansas City Business Journal, PEO Insider and Thinking Bigger Business.


“I’ve always been passionate about empowering women and bettering my community, so joining the fight against this preventable disease seemed like the natural next step. Experiencing my brother survive a heart attack at the young age of 36 really opened my eyes to the reality of this epidemic. It’s an honor to serve as a voice for heart health and drive awareness that can help save lives,” said Brune.


Kathy Collins is the Chief Marketing Officer at H&R Block. In 2014, Collins was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of its Most Powerful Women NextFen Leaders and for membership in Fortune’s MPW Insider Network. Prior to joining H&R Block, she spent nearly 15 years at Lee Jeans, a division of VF Corporation.  She is credited with launching the award-winning Buddy Lee campaign, which drove to a sales increase of 150% in two years. Collins also was one of several Lee employees who developed Lee National Denim Day, an award-winning cause marketing initiative that raises awareness and money for the fight against breast cancer.  After ten years, Lee National Denim Day raised more than $65 million and continues to be the largest single-day fundraiser for breast cancer in the world.

"Anything I can do to support other women is time and money well spent. I could not be more excited to be a part of this fundraising team -- I am in awe of these women," said Collins.


Over 1,000 men and women attend the Go Red for Women luncheon in Kansas City each year. The event is scheduled for Friday, April 21, 2017 at the Overland Park Convention Center. To learn more, please visit www.heart.org/kc.





Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association's national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women because it’s not just a man’s disease. In fact, women are more likely than men to have heart disease or a stroke. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Go Red For Women advocates for more research and swifter action for women's heart health. The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement is nationally sponsored by Macy's, with additional support from our cause supporters. For more information, please visit GoRedForWomen.org or call 913-652-1929.





Lever1 Launches Overtime Calculator Showing Impact of New Regulation 

Lever1 Helps Business Owners Calculate Overtime Impact on Bottom Line

KANSAS CITY, MO (June 1, 2016) In response to the new overtime regulation from the Department of Labor (DOL), Lever1 has developed an overtime calculator that helps eliminate the mystery of its impact on a business’ bottom line. Lever1’s calculator is available immediately and the DOL’s much anticipated change will take effect December 1, 2016. As an accredited professional employer organization (PEO)—known for providing convenient HR, payroll and employee benefit solutions—Lever1 is now leading the charge to help companies proactively track employee time and attendance more efficiently.

“Everyone is buzzing about the DOL’s passing of new overtime regulations without giving business owners an ‘action plan’. Many employers are concerned they will be required to pay more and won’t be able to afford it, but that’s not always the case,” said Lever1 president Erica Brune. According to the DOL, the new ruling will increase the minimum salary threshold required to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) white collar exemption to $47,476 per year. This minimum salary threshold will be updated every three years and tied to the salary of the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest wage region of the country, currently the Southeast. “Knowing your company’s actual overtime hours is a critical first step to maintaining compliance, but there wasn’t an easy way to calculate how much that will cost you—until now,” explains Brune.

“Developing this overtime calculator was essential for us because it’s Lever1’s mission to allow business owners to focus on generating revenue,” said Lever1 Vice President Nicole Tackett. Employers can now calculate their liability, including gross wages. “While this is a significant ruling not to be ignored, it is important to remember this is just one of hundreds of employment laws that are rolled out monthly which can impact a business’ ability to thrive. This overtime calculator has become an integral resource in a business owner’s toolkit for success.”

“We have been fielding more calls from concerned companies looking for the solution and this calculator helps open that dialogue and benchmark where a business should start its proactive approach to the DOL ruling,” said Brune.

For more information on what the overtime regulation means for your business, and to get a custom analysis, please contact Lever1 directly. Phone: 866-622-1511 Email: ebrune@lever1.com


About Lever1:

Lever1 is a Kansas City-based PEO providing convenient resources for businesses across the country. Integrated services enable business owners to cost-effectively outsource the management of human resources, payroll and employee benefits. Building partnerships with confidence, Lever1 allows its clients to focus their resources on generating revenue. To learn how the right partnership can increase your productivity, call 866.622.1511 or visit www.rumao.org.cn.




Lever1 Wins Startup of the Year in 2015 American Business AwardsSM  

KANSAS CITY, MO (July 14, 2015) Lever1 was awarded 2015 Startup of the Year in Business Services Industries by the American Business Awards. Known for providing quality HR, payroll, and benefit solutions, Lever1 aspires to become the full-service Professional Employer Organization (PEO) solution for business owners. Only a handful of Kansas City-based companies were honored. This Bronze Stevie® Award places Lever1 in a local category of distinction.

In the dual role of Lever1 President and Owner, Erica Brune is an entrepreneur that understands the hassle administrative tasks can place on business owners as they work toward generating revenue. “As their business grows, most owners do not have the necessary time or tools to manage the demands of human resources, payroll compliance and employee benefits,” said Brune. “This is where my team of experts steps in to ease the burden and help drive an organization’s success.”

More than 3,300 nominations from organizations of all sizes, and in virtually every industry, were submitted this year for award consideration. “To those outstanding individuals and organizations that received Stevie Awards, the judges and I are honored to celebrate your many accomplishments. You are setting a high standard for professionals nationwide,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards.

“It’s such an honor to be nationally recognized for our dedication and achievements in the HR and payroll industry,” said Brune. Within the first two years of operation Lever1 expanded business into more than 30 states, decreased client healthcare costs by five percent and secured accreditation at the industry’s highest standards. “Our growth is a direct reflection of our clients’ success and it’s a remarkable accomplishment that we can all be proud of.”


About Lever1:

Lever1 is a Kansas City-based PEO providing convenient resources for businesses across the country. Integrated services enable business owners to cost-effectively outsource the management of human resources, payroll and employee benefits. Building partnerships with confidence, Lever1 allows its clients to focus their resources on generating revenue. To learn how the right partnership can increase your productivity, call 866.622.1511 or visit www.rumao.org.cn.








Lever1 Invests in Career Advancement of KC Professionals

Lever1 Earns Financial Assurance Distinction Benefitting KC Businesses

Lever1 President Awarded Rising Star of 2014 

Lever1 Announcement 1-4-11

Lever1 Services Show Immediate Dividends for Clients