When Poster Compliance Center was founded in 1991, Maurice Levich had no way of knowing it would become more than his latest business venture—it would become his home. Already a successful entrepreneur and passionate community leader, he found in Poster Compliance Center an opportunity to combine his 20 years of business experience with his desire to help people on a national scale, while still supporting the local community.
Launched from a small office in Lafayette, California, Poster Compliance Center was founded to address a specific challenge for business owners—the difficulty of staying on top of ever-changing labor laws, and the legal requirement to post updated information every time state and federal government agencies change a law. After reading studies showing that government agencies don’t advise businesses when they need to comply with new laws, Maurice conducted a needs assessment, saw an opportunity for innovation, and found himself a new role: the business owner’s friend.
“Most employers know they have to be in compliance, but they don’t know how,” Maurice says, “and they are at risk of incurring fines for not being in compliance. ”
“It’s as though you’re doing 65 on the highway, and then you read in the newspaper that the speed limit is now 60—but they haven’t changed the signs.”
“Most employers know they have to be in compliance, but they don’t know how,” Maurice says, “and they are at risk of incurring fines for not being in compliance. It’s as though you’re doing 65 on the highway, and then you read in the newspaper that the speed limit is now 60—but they haven’t changed the signs.”
Knowing that most of these laws are meant to protect the civil rights of workers, Maurice made it his mission to find a way to help businesses stay in legal compliance with labor laws.
Twenty-six years later, Poster Compliance Center has grown from helping its first client—a single donut shop in Concord, California—to servicing hundreds of thousands of businesses across all 50 states, ranging from mom-and-pop shops to some of the largest companies in North America.
As one of the first companies to offer labor law poster services, Maurice and his team focused on innovating step by step. Since state and federal laws could change at any time, they created a research department from scratch that could continuously sweep all 50 states for new laws, and they developed information systems to catalog future changes that were under consideration by various agencies. Outsourcing poster compliance duties was a new concept, which required the team to educate potential clients on how much this service would help their business. They also created a process for determining which labor law changes had mandatory posting requirements, so that clients only received necessary updates.
Client by client, state by state, Maurice’s innovations paid off. Only five years after the company’s first order, Poster Compliance Center had grown from a one-man operation to dozens of employees, from helping a single donut shop to servicing businesses throughout the country, becoming the nation’s most respected authority on workplace compliance laws.
“We do not have unhappy customers because we make sure our services meet their needs.”
Since the earliest days of the business, Maurice knew the secret to success was establishing long-lasting relationships with his clients. The company’s model centered on outstanding customer service, which over time became the distinguishing difference between Poster Compliance Center and companies that entered the industry later.
The number of competitors increased over time, from a single newcomer in 1998 to a host of Internet-based, fly-by-night services. Soon, every innovation the company introduced—whether it was a service, a product, or just a way of handling things—was quickly mimicked by the competition. However, Maurice has always believed that it’s a huge compliment when another business tries to follow the company’s model, and he takes pride in being an innovator and helping clients find new ways to make their jobs easier. But while the imitation is flattering, most of these businesses just want to sell as many posters as they can—and no one has been able to duplicate the service levels that Poster Compliance Center has provided for over 25 years.
Even in the Internet age, when many companies outsource customer service or rely on automated systems, Maurice has stayed true to his commitment to the personal touch. “If you call our company, chances are you will be talking to someone who’s been here for 15 years,” he says. “We answer our phones live—and no caller is on hold for more than 15 seconds. That’s customer service like no one else provides anymore.” This is the company’s Gold Standard.
With industry-leading service as its central principle, Poster Compliance Center has managed to grow with its clients, marking customer loyalty as a point of pride. A single shop becomes a local chain becomes a national enterprise, and Maurice and his team are with them every step of the way.
“We do not have unhappy customers,” Maurice points out, “because we make sure our services meet their needs. We take care of everybody. Our customers love us. Our employees respect us. We’re all on the same team.”
Maurice’s loyalty to his employees mirrors his attitude toward his clients. He hires locally, contracts with neighborhood businesses, and does business with a handshake. “We’re very family-oriented,” says Marketing & Systems Manager Nicki Williams, who joined the company as a salesperson after her son attended a jazz camp founded by Maurice. “We always meet as a team to discuss what’s best for our clients, our employees on the front lines with our customers, and our company. I’ve been here for 11 years, and working here has given me a lot of opportunities. Our employees are very loyal and very appreciative of who we are and what we do, not only for our customers but for each other.”
Most of Poster Compliance Center’s staff are locals, and all of their vendors are in the Bay Area. “It’s Maurice’s community connections that bring a lot of people in,” adds Nicki. “We’re not contracting with printers in Mexico or laminators in Texas—we’re doing all of our business right here.”
Poster Compliance Center takes the burden of compliance off their clients. “Let them do what they do best; let us do what we do best.”
By 2002, Poster Compliance Center had gone from fledgling innovator to industry leader in their field. But there was a challenge.
The company had mastered getting their clients into full compliance, but every time a state or federal law changed, businesses were suddenly out of compliance. A comprehensive solution was needed.
In January 2003, Bruce Licht joined the company as Publisher and Maurice’s business partner, and together they developed and launched the 1-Year Compliance Plan – an annual, full-coverage program that provides automatic updates every time a new poster is required. “Not only will we get you into compliance, we will keep you in compliance,” says Maurice. “We’re going to monitor everything for you. We’re going to do the work. All you have to do is post the poster on the wall.”
The program has been very successful, and it now accounts for a large portion of the company’s business. The service also includes a $41,000 Poster Violation Warranty. If a client is ever caught out of compliance, Poster Compliance Center will cover any fines incurred. “By taking the burden off our clients, they can focus on their core values and we can focus on compliance, where our core competency is at its highest,” says Maurice. “Let them do what they do best; let us do what we do best.”
In 2007, the “Go Green” option was added to their service for companies that want to reduce waste and be more ecologically conscious. All the products are made with recyclable material and no lamination. To top it off, for every Go Green 1-Year Compliance Plan sold, Poster Compliance Center sends a donation to the American Forest Foundation to plant a tree.
Making the world a little brighter has always been important to Maurice. Long before founding the company, he was an active community leader. In 1996, he co-founded Generations in Jazz, a charity that preserves jazz programs in schools and senior centers, bringing together people young and old—from ages 14 to 90—to learn and celebrate jazz. Under Generations in Jazz, he also cofounded Lafayette Summer Music Workshop, a camp for young people who are mentored by experienced jazz musicians from around the country. And always a hands-on guy, Maurice has spent the past 22 years volunteering as the director of the Big Band of Rossmoor, a student and senior band that plays not-for-profit shows to benefit various local groups. Fans can even catch Maurice playing trumpet with the band now and then.
Whether it’s playing a gig, working with a client, or just brainstorming with his team, Maurice is always focused on the next innovation, making it work for his customers, and ensuring that Poster Compliance Center feels like a place everyone can call home.