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Annaliese Franzen - Jonas Club Payroll Specialist

May 13, 2011 11:50:00 AM

As is the case with any major decision concerning software, when it comes to payroll there are often many considerations which need to be made. In situations like this, Annaliese Franzen is here to help.

Annaliese joined our Jonas team just over one year ago, and has quickly made an impression on staff and clients alike. Coming to Jonas with a wealth of knowledge acquired from years working in the Payroll industry, Annaliese was well prepared to tackle the challenges that would be posed to her by Jonas Club Management clients. As a payroll specialist, Annaliese’s sole objective is to work closely with Jonas club Management clients in order to assess their Payroll needs. Once there is a clear understanding, Annaliese makes recommendations which allow our clients to make a more educated decision regarding whether our in-house Jonas Payroll solution, or our full service outsourced ClubPay Payroll solution, would be the best fit.

In the short time since Annaliese joined us here at Jonas, her unique ability to identify club’s requirements and help them through their decision making process has resulted in more than a few commendations, and more are sure to come.

If you would like to speak with Annaliese for a complimentary payroll analysis email: annaliese.franzen@jonassoftware.com

Join us for an upcoming webinar demonstration of ClubPay's outsourced payroll solution for clubs: Thursday, May 19th at 2:00pm EST - Register Here

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Why Our Workweek and Pay Cycle?

Nov 12, 2010 9:53:00 AM

Some time ago I was asked about our club’s work week that went from Friday to Thursday and why we paid every two weeks instead of semi-monthly or monthly as some clubs do.  There are several important reasons for this that every manager should know, as they relate to the needs of employees and the efficiency of the operation. 

1.   With the bi-weekly pay period every employee can look forward to a paycheck every two weeks on Fridays.  Most, if not all, employees live paycheck to paycheck and a more frequent schedule of paychecks makes it easier for them to budget and allocate their income to cover ongoing expenses. 

2.   Given the overtime pay requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act where non-exempt employees are paid time and one half for all hours worked over 40 in a week, we start our work weeks on Friday to have our historically busiest days of the week (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) early in the period.  

      This way, if we incur employee shifts of greater than 8 hours on those days due to high business levels, we have the opportunity to adjust schedules or send employees home early on our traditionally slower days (Monday through Thursday), thereby avoiding overtime costs.  Over the life of an operation, this could potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime pay.

3.   As we have often said, payroll costs are the single largest expense in hospitality operations and require the greatest vigilance to control.  One of the best tools managers can use to understand and control those costs is to benchmark payroll hours and costs on a pay period basis. 

      With semi-monthly or monthly pay periods, a manager cannot compare like to like – a primary caveat of benchmarking.  With a semi-monthly pay period the number of days in a pay period can vary from 14 to 16 depending upon month and leap years.  Also, since pay periods can start and end on any day of the week depending upon the calendar (instead of the constant and comparable Friday through Thursdays in bi-weekly pay periods), there may be some pay periods with anywhere from 4 to 6 weekend or busy days.  This makes it impossible to compare pay periods on a like to like basis, thereby diminishing the value of benchmarking.  The same applies to monthly pay periods. 

4.   While reading the book Nudge, Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, I came across this interesting statement:  

 “It is true, of course, that some nudges are unintentional; employers may decide (say) whether to pay employees monthly or biweekly without intending to create any kind of a nudge, but they might be surprised to discover that people save more if they get paid biweekly because twice a year they get three pay checks in one month.”

What a pleasant surprise to find that our club, though unintentionally as it may have been, had created a “nudge” to help its employees save more for their futures!

Ed Rehkopf, Senior Vice President, Club Resources International.  Club Resources International is a portal website for the club industry providing a wide array of operational resources, articles,  and best practices for the club industry.  The website can be found at www.myclubresource.com.

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It's the 4th Quarter - What's in Your Club's Payroll Play Book?

Sep 8, 2010 8:16:00 AM

An estimated 60% of clubs who make the decision to change payroll providers do so effective January 1st. If your club is looking for reduced costs, improved efficiencies or better integration, now is a great time to evaluate your payroll process for January 1, 2011 improvements.

Because so many clubs are facing the challenge of shrinking budgets and decreased administrative staff levels, any opportunity to potentially reduce expense and save time deserves a closer look. Payroll processing is a great candidate to evaluate given the time consuming and tedious nature of handling a club's payroll.  

Should your club evaluate its payroll/HR systems?

Take a moment and consider when the last review of your current provider occurred. With some payroll companies, particularly some of the larger providers, fees seem to creep up each year. Payroll companies often offer discounts and low rates to acquire new clients with the strategy of increasing margin through add-on charges and price increases.

If your club has not evaluated their payroll provider in more than a year, then it is definitely time to take a fresh look and ensure your club is receiving the maximum value for return on investment. The following questions can help with making the decision to evaluate your club's current payroll provider and take a look at other options available.

  • Has the pressure to decrease expenses been increased in the past year?
  • Have administrative positions been reduced or eliminated?
  • Has our club experienced any major payroll or tax issues during the past year? If so, how were they handled?
  • When help is needed, are we assigned a "case number" or do we get responsive, professional help from someone who understands our business and how we work?
  • Has our club experienced price increases over the past year or years? Are the increases reasonable and congruent with functionality and service enhancements?
  • Are we being charged additional fees for basic functionality such as reports, direct deposit, and tax filings?

When to start the process for a January 1 conversion...

If your club is considering a January 1 conversion, the time to begin the process is now. In order to take a systematic approach, adequate time must be allowed to do your homework and research your payroll options before making a decision.

To allow adequate time to do a reasonable evaluation and cost/benefit analysis of making a change, you should target evaluating systems during the September/October time frame and make a decision no later than early November to be prepared for a January 1 conversion.

Budget a couple of weeks for information gathering and analysis. Following your research stage, set appointments with vendors to see the work flow and understand the specific strengths of each system.

Finally, request a detailed proposal to evaluate the soft and hard costs of a change. Don't fall into the trap of evaluating on price only but look at improved efficiencies, time savings, risk management, improved morale/retention and other factors that are related to the payroll and human resource function of your club.

What criteria drives the clubs' payroll decision?

As with any major decision, the first step is take an honest appraisal of your current system to identify its strengths and weaknesses. Once this step is completed, you can move forward with comparing your current solution to other available options.

Some considerations in evaluating companies for a fit with your club include:

  • How easy is our system to use? Is our payroll partner really lifting an administrative burden off the club management team and administrative staff or are they just cutting paychecks?
  • Does our solution include integrated features that help us manage our club more effectively such as HR management, labor management, and hiring and recruitment tools?
  • Does our payroll partner understand our business? Do they accommodate multiple rates, multiple departments, weighted overtime and integration to our club management system?
  • Are there other "clubs" using this provider? What has their experience been?

Kick the tires at ClubPay's 4th Quarter Webinar Demonstrations...

If you just want to kick the tires and see what your options are, ClubPay is offering a complimentary, no pressure, no hassle set of webinars in September. This will give you insight into our two most popular club management solutions - ClubPay and ClubTime. ClubTime is an integrated labor management and time keeping solution and ClubPay is our full-service outsource payroll solution.

Hope you found this post helpful; you can register for the webinars on our website at Attend a Webinar.

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HR Perfect Storm for Private Clubs – Part 2

Jul 13, 2010 11:29:00 AM

In “Perfect HR Storm Part 1”, we identified the key drivers that are creating a potential HR Perfect Storm for Private Clubs – The Recession, Rising Unemployment, Growing Regulation, Increasing Litigation and Downsizing. This blog post will look at how clubs can develop a strategy to streamline payroll and HR processes, protect themselves and avoid costly mistakes.

Clubs generally fall into two basic camps when it comes to their payroll and human resource strategy: in-house or outsource. In-house means club staff are generally directly responsible for the process and outsource is defined as contractual service with a 3rdparty (like ClubPay) to perform all or part of a particular HR process. As a sub-category of outsource, some clubs utilize a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) but we generally recommend against this strategy.

The vast majority of clubs opt for an “outsourced” strategy to relieve administrative burden, gain expertise and prevent liability. Given the trend towards Club Controller’s taking on increasing HR related responsibilities, this approach is likely to accelerate.

Develop a Strategy

Within the category of “outsource payroll”, there are a variety of sub-strategies clubs employ. The beauty of outsourcing is each club has the flexibility to customize its level of services based on existing resources, expertise, payroll & HR complexity… and budget.  At the heart of any club’s outsourcing strategy, the goal is saving time and reducing expenses.

Key Drivers

All strategy considerations should be evaluated against the positive or negative effect on these key drivers:

Administrative Burden – This really comes down to taking a close look at resources – time, people and money; determining if the club is getting the best return on investment of each. Additionally, what are the opportunity costs and associated risks?

Compliance and Risk Exposure – The question here is: Do I understand the rules of the game and are there processes in place to make sure I stay up to date and on top of the rules?  Is the club at risk and how much risk is the club willing to tolerate?

Employee Relations– How is the morale of the club’s employees and what effect is this having on productivity and profitability? Are time and attendance policies fair and are they fairly and equitably enforced? Are they enforced at all?

Asset Protection- Related to risk, this is quantifying and documenting the high risk points related to payroll and human resources. One of the most common types of litigation a club may face is employee related. Is there a way to protect the assets of the club from frivolous HR related lawsuits?

Cost Considerations – Is there pressure on the club to reduce expenses? Labor is typically the biggest expense making it the most likely candidate for significant savings. Can you do this without a negative effect on service?

Action Plan

To get started in developing a high performance plan for your club, schedule a full payroll, HR and compliance audit. While I recommend hiring a professional HR Consultant to perform an external audit, some clubs may opt to conduct an internal audit for budgetary reasons. To provide an idea of what is involved, you can download a Sample HR Assessment Form here (courtesy of Crawford Consulting Group).

Once the audit is complete, you can evaluate your clubs strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) to determine the best processes to outsource. Again, the overall goal is to save time, reduce expenses and prevent risk. Every club is different and there is no perfect combination of outsourced services, but below is a list of the most commonly outsources processes.

 

HR Perfect Storm for Clubs White Paper

If you would like to dig a little deeper into the current HR environment clubs are facing today, the most important issues and how to develop a winning HR strategy, check back here for our upcoming white paper. If you would like to receive an advance copy, email us at info@clubpayroll.com with HR White Paper in the subject line.

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HR Perfect Storm for Private Clubs - Part 1

Mar 19, 2010 12:18:00 PM

I recently made a presentation at the HFTP Development Conference in New Orleans related to helping Controllers at Private Country Clubs deal with expanding human resource management responsibilities. In preparing for the presentation, I discovered there are a variety of conditions that are contributing to a potential "perfect storm" related to the payroll and human resource functions at private clubs. Within this blog post, I'll lay out what those conditions are and how they may affect your club. In part 2, we'll talk about what you can do to protect your club and yourself.

I call the current situation a "perfect storm" not to be an alarmist, but to bring attention to circumstances which are occurring in clubs today that may have a serious adverse affect tomorrow. The major factors influencing potential future issues include:

  • The Great Recession
  • Rising Unemployment
  • Growing Regulation
  • Increasing Litigation
  • Downsizing at Clubs

Let's dig a little deeper into each of these contributing factors and why it should matter to you, your General Manager and your Board of Directors.

Without doubt, we are in the midst of one of the more difficult economic times of our lifetimes. This means many people, including your club's employees are under financial duress and extraordinary stress. Even though your employees are working, they may have spouses or extended family members that are unemployed. They may also be dealing with a home foreclosure, short sale, evaporation of savings accounts and home equity or any of a host of stressful situations. These types of stressors sometimes spill over and can affect one's work life even when not directly related to one's job. Productivity, attitude and employee relations can all suffer and this can create problems, sometimes big, costly problems.

Unemployment rates are at historical highs and the "real" rate of unemployment is much higher than the reported rate. This "real" rate includes underemployed and those who have "given up". Additionally, unemployment compensation has become easier to get and has been extended well beyond the traditional allowable time line. This has a multi-faceted affect on clubs. You may find that a segment of your employees see unemployment as a viable alternative to working with reduced hours or working at all. This type of culture can be a morale and productivity killer. Additionally, who funds unemployment? The employer of course... brace yourself for a freight train of increasing premiums, it is coming. This will be a huge factor in future budget years.

We are living in a time when businesses in America are literally under attack. There are currently over 70 Acts affecting benefits, labor and employment and this is only on the federal level. Every state tacks on hundreds more laws and statutes related to how you hire, manage, pay and provide benefits to your employees and you are required to keep up with and comply with each one. If you don't, your club can be held liable and in many cases, you may be held personally liable as well.

Don't think this is a problem that is going away. In an average year, there are over 200 changes to employment related federal law again and all signs point towards increased regulation by the current administration. The very first bill signed by President Obama was the Lilly Ledbetter Act - extending the statute of limitations to file an equal pay lawsuit. Other examples of how this administration is making it more difficult on business (and private clubs are small businesses) is to greatly expand the qualification for the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and to extend and complicate COBRA Benefits.

Our next trend is simply a result of the first three factors. A poor economy combined with rising unemployment and growing regulation leads to an increase in litigation. Have you noticed the increased frequency and boldness of Trial Attorney advertising related to employment?  If you can't find a job and can't pay your bills, just sue someone! It is easier than ever to do so and it is happening with increasing frequency. Business Week ran an article that stated Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuits have "exploded nationwide" and the problem has only gotten worse recently.

Finally, the icing on the cake is that in this environment, an industry trend is rising to eliminate so called "non-essential" positions (often including HR Director) and migrating these responsibilities on to another staff member (usually the Controller). In effect, at the most critical time to stay on top of HR issue, we are dumping the responsibility on a staff member that is most likely under trained and too overworked to handle these additional duties. This may indeed prove to be a "penny wise, pound foolish" strategy, only time will tell. What may happen is clubs may indeed find some short term savings from consolidating duties and reducing labor overhead but long term find themselves with much larger expenses and more ominous challenges.

Having solid payroll, human resource and compliance processes in place should be viewed as an investment, not an expense. Similar to an insurance policy in nature, you might save some money by canceling the policy in the short term but what happens if the club burns down?

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Private Clubs and SmartSourcing - Club Management Strategy

Feb 4, 2010 4:47:00 PM

Outsourcing has been standard throughout the business world for many years and its popularity is now expanding rapidly through the club industry.  The driving force behind this trend is related to the economic pressure many clubs are under to reduce operating expense. 

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Clubs and Employee Leasing - Evaluate Options Now

Nov 12, 2009 3:56:00 PM

What is Employee Leasing? 

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Breaking up with your Payroll Provider

Nov 10, 2009 8:26:00 AM

Dear Payroll Provider,

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