Cheers of “WE ARE… PAYCHEX” filled the Blue Cross Arena Thursday morning as more than 3,500 Rochester employees gathered to hear words of encouragement from their CEO and be celebrated.
Emceed by Ted Jordan, Paychex vice president of service, the annual employee meeting featured the trappings of both a sporting event and a rock concert, with band Northside Johnny tuning up the audience with rock anthems such as “Stairway to Heaven.”
Executives ran out of the tunnel at the far end of the arena as Jordan introduced them one by one and then they flung T-shirts into the crowd as they made their way up to the stage. But President and CEO Martin Mucci didn’t arrive until later in an elaborate trick by mentalist and magician Craig Karges. He had an employee on stage try to identify a fellow employee in seat 14 of row M, section 123.
The woman didn’t know who the bearded man with thick hair was until he removed his wig and beard to reveal it was Mucci.
“Magic of Paychex” was the event’s theme and Mucci revealed it came from a recent conversation he had with a client who said “What you do for us is really magic. You take something I struggle with and you make it simple.”
Each employee received a cooler lunch bag marked with that phrase, containing snacks and a packet of playing cards they used in an arena-wide card trick Mucci led.
First, though, Mucci gave a brief overview of recent company successes, cheering on employees for sticking to Paychex’s goals and making them happen.
“In less than 10 years we’ve doubled our revenue,” he said, with the current fiscal year expected to hit $4.1 billion. The company started by handling payroll services for small companies and now gets more than half of its revenue from its non-payroll services. Many of those services have been pushed to mobile phones and 70 percent of employees are using the services that way.
Mucci said revenue for the company is up 12 percent, profits are up 11 percent and “the business is becoming much more focused on human resources.”
The gathering was so large it nearly filled the floor and the lower bowl of the arena seats. Broad Street was blocked off from South Avenue to Exchange Boulevard to accommodate the many buses that transported the employees to the meeting.
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