Creatively Simplifying HR and Payroll Solutions

July 07, 2020

Branding Agency Creative Consumer Concepts, better known as C3, turned to Paylocity for creative solutions for their HR and payroll software.

Case Study

The Challenge

Family is the heartbeat of C3, the branding and marketing agency based in Overland Park, Kansas. Founded 30 years ago, C3 works with national restaurants and hospitality companies to create children’s programs and promotions. They specialize in children’s menus, cups, crayons and toy premiums. C3’s leadership believes that if they take care of its employees, the employees will take care of their customers.

With its 47 employees, connection is important to the close-knit organization. C3 needed a payroll vendor that could creatively simplify and streamline processes and shoulder some of the load for their lean team. “Due to the size of our company, I wear many hats,” Senior Finance Associate Morgan Kyle laughs as she explains how despite her primary role in accounting, she also handles HR including recruiting, payroll, onboarding and more.  Although it’s not child’s play to switch systems, C3 wanted to work with a company with a similar approach to its employees and culture.

The Approach

In 2016, C3 made the switch to Paylocity for their HR and payroll needs.  “I love how Paylocity has enabled me to do my job and how far it has come. When I first started my career, it was paper applications and paper new hire forms. Everything was so manual,” says Morgan. “Paylocity has given us the ability to streamline all of that. And all our records are now electronic. Gone are the days of the five-drawer filing cabinet. That not only helps from an environmental standpoint but also an efficiency standpoint.”

“When I first started my career, it was paper applications and paper new hire forms. Everything was so manual. Paylocity has given us the abilitiy to streamline all of that. And, all our records are now electronic. Gone are the days of the five-drawer filing cabinet.”

Morgan Kyle, Senior Finance Associate


A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned 

The switch to Paylocity enabled Morgan and the rest of the team at C3 to draw outside the lines. Morgan explained that now when a job applicant applies and is selected – their information automatically flows through the new hire paperwork, into onboarding and finally onto payroll. The process integrates seamlessly.

“Now, there is no need to load all the same information manually at each stage,” says Morgan. “Previously, we would have to print new hire packets, and then I would have the new hire sit in my office doing paperwork for hours. Now, the onboarding paperwork is completed a week before they even start.”

Studies show that the employee experience and level of engagement start before their first day. These can be key indicators for employee retention. Having a less manual process on the first day allows a new hire to spend time bonding with his or her new team – putting focus back on learning the company and position. Morgan estimates that this one simplification saves her at least one full week a year, freeing her up to focus more on her accounting work.

Ongoing Performance Management

Saving time connects with C3’s mission to put their employees first. “Communications”, “Integrity”, “Stress Tolerance” and “Sense of Urgency with Results-Driven Focus” are a few of C3’s core competencies. So it’s no surprise that C3’s most given and received Impression is “Sense of Urgency with Results-Driven Focus”. Paylocity’s peer-to-peer recognition tool, Impressions, give employees a way to give virtual kudos to one another. C3 takes its company values to heart, and it has rebranded each Impression within the platform to tie directly with their core attributes that feed into Performance Management. 

“People will come to me and say ‘you did a great job,’ and I tell them ‘I take Impressions’,” Morgan laughs. C3 revamped the performance management process this year. Now for the first time, employees have a menu of eight areas to choose which ones they want to be reviewed on – giving some control back to them. “It is really helpful to have it all centralized. I love the ability to have individualized forms and the visibility as an administrator. I can see where everyone is within the review process, which is nice.”

Many organizations are making the shift to ongoing feedback between employees and managers. C3 is no exception. Journals, a two-way record within the Performance Management tool, is one way Morgan’s team keeps track of those ongoing discussions.

“Our department uses Journals for our one-on-one meetings,” Morgan says. “It’s great that these are all in one location, and we can look back and look at history. My supervisor can leave notes, and I can respond right in the same spot. I’ve trained the other departments to use Journals so people can document examples and not forget when the review time comes around.”

Seeing the Bigger Picture

Reporting and data are a large part of both accounting and HR. “When data insights first came out, I spent a few hours exploring the tool and got really excited,” shares Morgan. “I was able to use it most recently when our Director of Finance asked me to pull a turnover report. I was able to hop in and pull out the data in a matter of minutes. Having a visual data breakdown is really nice.”

C3 is fairly unique in the amount of tenured employees it has, and turnover is historically low. However, last spring Bob Cutler, C3's CEO, asked Morgan to revamp the application process. Morgan laughs as she retells the story, “Bob, I don’t need a budget for that. Paylocity already does that for us!”

Morgan was able to set up a different process within the C3 website to allow for a general application link as well as an integration with Emfluence. “Now, I have a list of applicants that we can continually stay in touch with until we have a position that would be a good fit. We have more than 30 people that are on a waiting list, and we send them emails with company updates and new available positions. This is a great way to stay in touch with them until we have something open. It is a big win!”


“Bob, I don't need a budget for that. Paylocity already does that for us!”

Morgan Kyle, Senior Finance Associate


The Payoff

The streamlined processes are peppered throughout Morgan’s day-to-day activities. “I love the seamless integration with PTO requests going directly into payroll. I can now process payroll in under an hour,” Morgan exclaims. “It makes my job so much easier, which allows me to take on more tasks in my Finance role. And because I am more efficient, everyone else in my department can be more efficient.”


“It makes my job so much easier, which allows me to take on more tasks in my Finance role. And because I am more efficient, everyone else in my department can be more efficient.”

Morgan Kyle, Senior Finance Associate


C3 has set the Paylocity landing page to every employees’ computer so they can stay up-to-date. The company believes in transparent communication and posts updates directly to the home page and on Community, Paylocity’s social collaboration tool. They have leveraged Community to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, which really continue to enhance their colorful culture. Recently, they posted a 401K document announcement through Community, and the response was well received. “It isn’t just another all-company email. People see the Community announcement and are like, 'oh, what's this?'" Morgan says. She explains that based on the feedback, they will be transitioning company announcements to the platform in the near future. 

Part of a great partnership is teamwork. “I love the user friendliness and the ease of access to my customer service manager. Everyone is very responsive. And the biggest thing for me is having a partnership with a company that values my opinion and is constantly evolving and looking for room to grow,” says Morgan. “It has never been stagnant, and Paylocity is never content with the status quo. I love how they are always challenging how they can do better, which is how C3 looks at things and how we do our job. It is a great partnership.”

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