Fitness Group Strengthens Its Employee Experience

June 01, 2022

Mountainside Fitness needed an HR and Payroll system that could streamline and automate numerous processes, help the team attract and retain talent, and build culture and connection for its employees.
  • 900 onboarding hours saved
  • 100+ new hires per month seamlessly onboarded
  • 5% reduction in turnover
  • 200 hours saved on payroll

Mountainside Fitness is a fast-growing chain of upscale health and fitness centers that prides itself on creating an inclusive environment where friends and family can come together to improve their overall health and wellness. Front-line employees are the heart of delivering on this promise, but with high turnover rates, the company realized it needed to apply the same attention to employees that it already did with clients.

In 2015, Mountainside Fitness started looking into turnover rates and asking employees to share their experiences during offboarding. The process inspired the development of business principles, which were printed on the back of every employee’s nametag and worn over their hearts. The company grew from 11 locations to 19 (soon to be 20) since then but the administrative side of the business could not keep pace.

Mountainside leadership decided to go all-in with a modern HR/payroll provider to help build its culture and align with its growing business and workforce. Developing an engaging company culture and reducing turnover rates required upgrading current HR functionality from paperwork to Paylocity.

By implementing technology-forward solutions, such as automated payroll, streamlined onboarding, Community to keep employees connected, and On Demand Payment to grant employees access to funds when they need them, Mountainside Fitness was able to substantially offload administrative burdens from HR and advance company culture. And with Paylocity's Learning Management System, training became a simplified, engaging process that struck a chord with employees and became an opportunity to grow and develop alongside the company.

“We're able to get more administrative work done, but still have that personal touch with each employee. And Paylocity becomes the driver for the rest of their career with us. ”

Robyn Klawitter, SVP of Human Resources, Mountainside Fitness

The Challenge: Tedious Onboarding and Fragmented Communication Needed An Upgrade

With over 1,400 employees stretched across 19 locations, chaotic paper-based onboarding and clunky payroll prevented Mountainside Fitness from providing the same people-first service to its employees that it provides its gym members.

Mountainside Fitness needed an onboarding process that started employees off on the right foot and provided value from Day 1. In the past, onboarding required scheduling an appointment ahead of time and up to two hours spent filling out and filing paperwork, leaving HR stuck in onboarding purgatory and employees focused on minor details instead of being excited about their new position.

As Robyn Klawitter, SVP of Human Resources notes, “We had separate paper packets for every position.” Not to mention HR struggled to stay compliant with E-verify requirements with a multi-step process that involved paperwork, scanning, and transferring information manually.

Employees also had to struggle through onsite training with no opportunity for refreshers and scheduling conflicts with other demands on their time. For example, employees still in high school were unable to make training sessions scheduled during the week.

Communication Gap a Source of Employee Frustration

When HR needed to communicate with employees, paper-based memos were the default, and they often got lost in the shuffle. Employees even took shift coverage into their own hands via external apps, leaving HR and management out of the loop on critical communication. Mountainside needed a centralized communication hub to unify employees and make day-to-day interactions like shift coverage easy to do instead of sources of dissatisfaction.

Mountainside Fitness was in search of a fully integrated HR and payroll system that helped employees upskill and reinforced the culture they’d worked hard to build during a period of significant growth.

“Onboarding took two hours per new hire and was a tedious process for everybody involved. Each new employee had to call a phone number to schedule an onboarding appointment. We would put their onboarding on the schedule, and they would come in to go through all the paperwork with us. And then we had to scan paperwork and file documents appropriately. ”

Robyn Klawitter, SVP of Human Resources, Mountainside Fitness

The Solution: Turning Chaos into Culture by Streamlining Onboarding and Payroll

Eliminating a tedious paper-based experience for both HR and employees freed up time to build a technology-forward company culture.

Time and Attendance Tools Empower Employees

Switching to Paylocity enabled Mountainside Fitness to quit manual paper-based processes for good. Now time and attendance happen in one system, and employees can access all relevant information using mobile technology. As Robyn explains, “My managers aren't spending time chasing down paperwork and making sure people have what they're supposed to have to do their jobs. It's just right there.”

Mountainside Fitness’ HR team can show employees how easy it is to clock in, clock out, check paystubs, and let managers know schedule availability. Better yet, Paylocity’s system empowers employees to be active participants in scheduling and paycheck problem-solving. Now employees can also utilize custom Learning Management System (LMS) modules not only to upskill but also to navigate common workplace challenges, such as understanding tax withholdings on W2s.

On Demand Payments Give Employees Financial Flexibility

Flexible payment options are another benefit employees love. On Demand Payment gives its people the freedom to meet their financial obligations on their timeline. By reducing the stress of managing rent or unexpected expenses like a broken refrigerator, employees can instead focus their energy on work. With 20-30% of employees using it regularly, On Demand Payment has become a winning part of Mountainside Fitness’ recruitment strategy.

Community Connects Employees and Makes Work Exciting

HR encourages employees at Mountainside Fitness to check Community every time they clock in, making high-level communication part of the culture. Robyn explains, “We started posting company party details or dodgeball tournament information. That helped drive usage.”


The Results: All-in-One Onboarding, Payroll, and Community Features Ramp Up Retention

Once HR functionality—onboarding, payroll and communication—was in one system, Mountainside Fitness was primed to save time, while providing a positive employee experience.

Streamlined and Automated Onboarding

By integrating Paylocity’s Onboarding solution, HR saved 900 hours per year. Instead of wading through piles of paperwork just to get an employee started, Robyn and her team were able to spend time talking to employees about the company’s mission, role clarification, and who to reach out to for help. Instead of filling out endless forms, employees quickly learn how to use Paylocity to securely update information, communicate with peers and managers and participate in cultural initiatives.

Simplified Payroll

Payroll saved another 200 hours per year. From distributing raises in the middle of a pay period to eliminating unnecessary steps to ensuring the accuracy of payroll data, Mountainside Fitness has dramatically improved its payroll capabilities and efficiency. Robyn adds, “We're able to focus on getting our OSHA forms done on time and sharing workforce data with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We have things we're required to do completely outside of the employee experience which keeps our company afloat. We're not missing deadlines anymore.”

“We have many employees who use On Demand Payment for emergencies, whether it’s an issue with their vehicle, rent, etc. The positive impact has been astronomical and has differentiated our company in recruiting and retention. ”

Robyn Klawitter, SVP of Human Resources, Mountainside Fitness

Improved Employee Retention

After implementing Paylocity, Mountainside Fitness saw a 5% reduction in annual
turnover. Robyn attributes much of this success to Community usage. She shares,
“Community lets our team connect with each other in ways they haven’t before.
Our employees love going in there to post, comment, or share GIFs. It’s a great
way to connect people. Now with the ability to share and collaborate on files, chat
with others, and create team groups, we can level up our connections.” She adds,
“We hire a lot of young people so making sure we have technology that fits their lifestyle is critical to attracting and retaining talent.”


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