Kevin McCoy – C2 Essentials Inc.
Doing business as a small to mid-sized company, it can be hard to come up with the extra cash to set up a full-service HR department to handle everything from payroll processing, to recruiting, to benefits administration and HR compliance training.
That’s what Jackie Asencio realized over a cup of coffee at her kitchen table 20+ years ago. It was the main reason she gambled and left her job as an HR manager for a federal government contractor to set up her own company, C2 Essentials Inc. (C2), headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia. Her goal was to deliver outsourced human resources services to federal contractors and other service-oriented businesses as a cost-effective alternative to hiring their own internal HR staff.
With a slew of government contractors in the Washington, D.C. metro area, her business took off. Now C2 provides its HR services to clients in all 50 states, as well as in 17 other countries. Helping shepherd the business model along is General Counsel Kevin McCoy, a labor and employment specialist who joined the management team in 2014.
“For some that might mean they can access expertise they couldn’t normally afford, hiring an outside team to manage nearly every aspect of the employer-employee relationship on behalf of employers,” McCoy says.
Founded in 1996, C2 Essentials offers businesses its expertise in handling benefits administration, payroll management, tax administration, federal contractor compliance, and recruiting. The outsourcing option has also been popular with law firms, restaurant franchises and new startups.
In addition to what some might consider “routine” administrative needs, C2 also handles veteran reports; applicant tracking logs used in interviewing and hiring people; and makes sure each company is compliant with affirmative action requirements.
“We come in behind the scenes and support clients by giving them the HR services they need to be successful,” McCoy says.
Serving federal contractors working at multiple domestic worksites, or overseas, C2 also helps its clients navigate the specific requirements of working at places such as military bases.
“That extra help comes in handy for service providers and government contractors who need to hire people in a relatively short period of time,” he says.
C2 offers employers of all sizes two service models: a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) or an Administrative Services Organization (ASO). The difference between the two relates to tax requirements and the FEIN under which the client’s employees fall. The PEO model also means C2 assumes greater responsibility by taking on some risk and compliance responsibilities associated with running payroll, administering benefits, and remitting payroll taxes to state and federal authorities.
Regardless of the model chosen, McCoy says the client will see significant savings. Left on their own, McCoy estimates the cost of hiring one full-service human resources manager with experience in northern Virginia could easily cost a company up to $100,000. With C2 a company can pay a much lower fee per employee per month and gain an entire HR department, not just a single employee.
“Our clients report cost-savings and employee satisfaction, in addition to a reduction in employer liability,” he says.
Competing in a business space that is becoming more software driven, McCoy says C2 differentiates itself by having real people on the phone for its clients.
“We become an extension of the company that chooses us. We are our clients virtual HR team with specialists assigned to work exclusively with each company,” he says. “You will have all the team support you could ever need, a simple phone call or email away.”
As a means of support, McCoy says 10 years ago C2 also developed an interactive website called C2 Connection. With a username and a password, employees of clients can access everything from the company handbook to their W2s, use the paid time off (PTO) tracker and complete required paperwork—all from their laptop or smartphone. At any time, he says, the client can access a C2 representative for specific questions or follow-up.
“The way we differentiate ourselves is by keeping up with technology and being directly responsive to our clients’ questions—such as with payroll, employee relations and government audit letters. We’ll help them through all that.”
McCoy says the company felt that was an important distinction to have when held up against its larger “gorilla-sized” competitors such as Paychex or ADP.
“Some of those outfits provide only a software solution with a library of resources you can access with a search function box, leaving it to the clients to sort through the information to try and find an answer to each question. We don’t want to do that,” he says. We want to provide a “high touch” service that simulates an internal HR department.
A springboard to opportunity
McCoy says his path to C2 couldn’t have worked out better for him if he’d tried.
Having earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Emory and Henry College in 1993, he later earned a law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1999.
That would be his springboard into employment issues.
Specializing in labor relations from the get-go at the Northern Indiana Public Service Company in 1999, he kept building experience in that vein working as an associate attorney in labor and employment at Locke Reynolds LLP starting in 2002. After relocating to the Washington D.C. area in 2004, he joined Kruchko & Fries and later became a partner at both Kruchko & Fries PLC and at FordHarrison LLP—both widely respected firms that specialize in management-side labor and employment law.
When he saw the opportunity to become the in-house general counsel at C2, he went for it.
“For my specific niche, there’re not too many general counsel jobs that are tailor-made for a labor and employment law specialist. It was a unique opportunity,” he says.
What McCoy enjoys is that he can still exercise his labor and employment skills while taking on new duties internally at C2. In his position he counsels staff in how they deliver HR services to clients, but also gets to apply general legal advice to the operation; review and re-write contracts and real estate leases; and be part of the executive team handling business matters.
“Working and making decisions together, it’s been a great opportunity to let me get my feet wet in other areas,” he says. “C2 can rely on me to serve them in this unique space, which has allowed me to go forward and stretch.”
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