Great Clips Franchise Group Cuts Costs and Saves Time with New-Look Digital HR

June 24, 2024

Learn how Buena Vista Business Services is leveraging Paylocity to improve HR efficiency and compliance at their 11 franchise salons.

From tech to trims — that’s the unique journey made by Ray Solnik, Owner of Buena Vista Business Services, which operates 11 salons as a franchisee of leading brand Great Clips. After two decades running international technology enterprises and venture-backed startups, Ray decided to switch gears and move into a business that would involve less travel and open up more time for family life.

“I was living in India, managing a tech company there for months while my kids were in California,” explains Ray. “I realized living in India and dealing with the speed of tech just wasn’t working for me. That’s when I looked at low-tech business options and found Great Clips. As a franchisee, I have the opportunity to use my enterprise experience and entrepreneurial spirit, without the nonstop pressures of the tech world.”

Today, Ray operates a growing chain of salons across the greater San Francisco Bay Area. For his stylists and salon managers, there is one main goal: make people look and feel great. It’s a winning formula, with Ray’s salons achieving 30 percent higher customer volumes and 25 percent higher sales than local competitors. “I’m as excited about doing this now as I was when we started,” he adds.

But success doesn’t come easily. In a high-turnover sector, Ray and his team are constantly working to recruit and onboard new talent, deliver the right training, and comply with stringent California state regulations. To make it all happen, the company recently adopted a new look in its HR environment, switching from its previous platform provider to Paylocity.

“The Insights & Recommendations in Paylocity are one of the highlights of the platform. Being able to see that information and drill down into retention, team demographics, and more is awesome. We can absorb those insights and use them to make major decisions that improve our business.”

Ray Solnik, Owner, Buena Vista Business Services - Great Clips Franchisee


The Challenge

Brushing Aside Inefficiencies

Manual workflows and a costly HCM solution created frustration for Ray and the team. When the previous software vendor suggested migrating to its latest platform, Ray considered his options.

Paper Processes Take Extra Time and Effort
Among salons, annual employee turnover can be 50 percent and even higher. While Buena Vista’s turnover rates are well below the industry average, the company is always looking to hire new stylists. In the past, this was handled largely on paper: new employees filled out 100-page onboarding packets that cost $40 each to print and distribute. “Salon managers could spend up to three hours walking new hires through the paperwork,” says Ray. “We would scan and upload the documents to Dropbox for storage, but we couldn’t analyze the data they contained to help make key decisions for the business.”

Tracking Compliance Proves Challenging
As an employer, Buena Vista must comply with a complex web of regulations. For example, California state laws require the company to provide sexual harassment prevention training to employees within six months of hiring, with refreshers every two years. Similarly, the company needs to record every employee’s decision on healthcare benefits to meet with Affordable Care Act (ACA) rules. “We also have to provide workplace safety training, and confirm that everyone completes it,” says Dyan Casey, HR Manager. “Previously, that could be very difficult to track and manage. It’s been a huge improvement working with the Paylocity Learning Management System.”

Vendor Errors Lead to High Payroll Fees
Buena Vista had used its previous HCM platform for around 10 years. As the company added new salons, the software vendor was keen for Ray to migrate to a different version of the system. But when Ray discussed this with other franchisees, he realized he wasn’t getting the level of service he expected. “The vendor had incorrectly configured each of our salons as a separate company in the system. As a result, our payroll costs were higher than they should have been. When we raised this issue, the vendor offered a credit notice, but it was fraction of the overcharge,” notes Ray. “It was time to move on.”

“I’ve never worked with such a complete HR platform as Paylocity. At other companies, it has always been HR and payroll done separately, plus things managed on paper. So, I love that everything in Paylocity connects and flows into the next module.”

Dyan Casey, HR Manager


The Solution

Styling Smarter Workflows

After hearing positive references from other franchisees, Ray checked out Paylocity, and quickly saw the potential to streamline recruiting and onboarding and facilitate employee training.

Ray was ready to sign with another provider when he discovered Paylocity. “Two other very successful Great Clips franchisees recommended Paylocity: One is very strong on systems, and the other is a great with operations. When I looked at the platform, I liked the integrations, pricing model, and extensive features.”

Transforming Talent Acquisition with Paperless Workflows
With Paylocity’s Recruiting and Onboarding modules, Buena Vista has moved to streamlined, paperless workflows. The company lists job openings online through the Recruiting module, and even directs candidates to the listings via Ray’s email signature. Applicants and new hires now complete online forms, entering their references, job experience, and details. “We send a link and they get it done with minimal support from managers or myself,” adds Dyan. Once new starters finish the forms, their data flows straight into the Payroll module.

The integration between Paylocity and Checkr has proved especially useful, as Dyan explains: “It was easy to set up, with just a few clicks, and we receive a fast response whenever we send a request for a background check on applicants. The same applies to E-Verify, a program that electronically and automatically confirms an employee's eligibility to work in the United States.”

Providing Essential Training to Every Employee
Buena Vista now delivers mandatory training on harassment prevention and workplace safety via Paylocity’s Learning module. Employees receive a link to the relevant training videos or documents, and then click a box to confirm they have reviewed the content.

“We also have around 30 customized training guides in Paylocity,” notes Ray. “They cover things such as how to clean out the shampoo bowl, fix the vacuum cleaner, or greet customers. It all helps to maintain high standards in our salons.” The company is also using the Compliance module to track employee decisions on healthcare coverage in line with ACA requirements.

Accessing Dashboards Packed with HR Insights
Finally, Ray and Dyan have a wealth of data at their fingertips in the Insights & Recommendations module. “The dashboards in Paylocity are very handy,” adds Ray. “We can access information and pull reports on payroll, employee ages, gender, work anniversaries, and turnover and retention rates. None of that was possible when everything was on paper.”


The Results

Looking Great, Feeling Great

With Paylocity, Buena Vista is going from strength to strength, with faster HR workflows, improved business decisions, reduced costs, and a stronger compliance strategy.

Saving Valuable Time For Salon Managers
Paperless workflows are having a positive impact at Buena Vista. As well as being more eco-friendly, the new approach will save thousands of dollars in print and mailing costs and be a big time-saver for salon managers. Ray explains: “We hire around 40 people per year, and each onboarding used to take up to three hours. In total that’s about three working weeks per year. Now, we’ve freed up that time so managers can spend it welcoming their new team members, instead of just helping them fill out paperwork.”

The switch to Paylocity is also reducing time-to-hire. “Candidates apply for roles via Great Clips, and they typically get hired by whichever franchisee is quickest to respond. Completing background checks and onboarding in just a few clicks in Paylocity helps us move fast and take our pick of the best applicants,” notes Ray.

Enabling Data-Driven Business Decisions
The dashboards in Paylocity are helping Ray to make smarter, more informed decisions on the future of the business. For example, during pay reviews, he can access a full history of each employee’s wage changes. Ray notes: “Having the data on hand enables better decisions on adjustments and better conversations with employees.”

Meeting Stringent Compliance Requirements
Buena Vista is also now in a better position to meet its regulatory obligations. For example, the company now has an efficient, reliable way to deliver safety training, which doesn’t require salon managers to organize meetings to run employees through the guidelines themselves. Paylocity enables the company to track who has and hasn’t completed training, and then take action to ensure full compliance. “The Learning module keeps things very organized and will help us to educate employees on how to work safely and more productively,” concludes Ray.

“Paylocity has been easy to use – certainly versus other options – and the support line is always there whenever I need guidance about a specific issue. They’re always really helpful and solve my problems quickly.”

Dyan Casey, HR Manager

Optimize Your Benefits Experience

Help your employees get the most out of their benefits while getting time back in your day through smart automation. With all-in-one tools, kicking off open enrollment and administering third-party benefits services like FSAs, HSAs, and more is a breeze! And employee experience features like integrated training and expert groups, all available on the go, ensure your employees are making informed decisions.

Explore Benefits