A century ago, George B Buck, an experienced actuary, set up his very own business, Buck Consultants, to help organisations of all sizes navigate the changing human resources landscape as they entered the 20th century.
Today, that firm is a key component of the Xerox Human Resource (HR) Services group that aids some of those same organisations as they navigate the ever-changing landscape of the 21st century.
Buck opened his private consulting firm 100 years ago today in New York City. At a time when the explosion of wealth came through the exploitation of workers – with 72-hour work weeks, unsafe working conditions, no company health benefits, and charitable pension handouts if you reached a certain age – Buck was working on building a better future for the average worker.
Buck was recognised early as a pioneer in the field of employee benefit planning, serving on President Taft’s Commission on Economic Efficiency in 1911 and then becoming the head actuary for the New York City Pension Commission in 1913. He spent countless hours before legislative committees and employer groups advocating fundamental principles that led to a major pension reform.
“George Buck’s legacy continues to be an inspiration,” said Sherry Chan, chief actuary for the city of New York – an early and longstanding Buck Consultants’ client. “During his time as the city’s first Chief Actuary, he developed and implemented the foundation and fundamentals for pensions that we still use today.”
His company, now the strategy and consulting arm of Xerox HR Services, has grown beyond pension planning. Today it provides strategic consulting to employers in benefit planning for their employees’ health, wealth and careers. As Dean Aloise, global HR consulting leader at Xerox HR Services, guides the company into the future, he follows Buck’s vision for keeping business principles and humanitarian motives in mind when establishing benefit plans to ensure success.
“Today, the human resources industry faces opportunities and challenges where we must continue looking to the future, just as George Buck did 100 years ago,” said Aloise. “It is required for the success of our business and for the success of our employers and their employees.”
Xerox HR Services, in addition to strategic benefits consulting and planning, also provides HR administration and total benefits outsourcing globally, enabling clients to succeed with international compliance and reliability.
“George Buck’s vision of the importance of employee well-being to business success continues to be the backbone of our human resources support,” said John Gentry, president of Xerox HR Services. “The future of human resources is an engaged and empowered workforce – it’s critical in today’s competitive business climate.”
That eye on the future is guided by three key drivers as it helps clients build that ideal workforce:
- Technology fuelled by analytics ensures that employees stay informed of benefits that are relevant and recommended for them based on their personal life choices and circumstances.
- A shift in employer strategies ensures employees have the right programmes available to them to support their health, wealth and career plans, alleviate stress, improve productivity, and achieve personal and professional goals.
- The demands of a multi-generational workforce call for a new look at “conventional” work hours and place, and how we reward employees.
“Our history has always been about the future,” said Gentry. “As we carry on George Buck’s legacy, he remains a vibrant part of our culture. We’re guided by the need to advance human resources’ advocacy role through innovation, insight and technical know-how.”
To celebrate its centennial and show appreciation to its original client, Xerox HR Services employees are giving 100 hours of volunteer service to The City of New York, working with The Parks Department for a clean-up day of Riverdale Park in the Bronx.