How an iconic Vancouver institution modernized its payroll system
Client Stories 6 minute read

How an iconic Vancouver institution modernized its payroll system

Andra Mircioiu | October 6, 2020

The Vancouver club was looking to modernize its payroll system and chose Rise because of its ease of use and customer support.

It’s no stretch to describe The Vancouver Club as an institution. BC Business describes it as a “pillar in B.C.’s business landscape” and “a dynamic hub of interactions driven by a membership that’s as varied and cultural as the city itself”. 

Helen Worth, Director of Finance & HR at The Vancouver Club, describes it as a place with “very much a family culture, where grandparents, parents and grandchildren come to socialize and to celebrate family events or to have business meetings or business celebrations”. It’s a place, as Helen puts it, where someone “can bring their friends and be proud of the club they’re part of”.

Established in 1889, The Vancouver Club has been at 915 West Hastings since 1913, in a designated “A” class heritage building.

It’s in this heritage building that Helen oversees the day-to-day HR and Payroll operations—when she’s not working from home to help flatten the curve. 

A progressive club in search of a modern payroll system  

The Vancouver Club is always looking to the future. 

20 years ago, the club officially merged with the Georgian Ladies Club. Since then, a number of Club presidents, including the two most recent, have been women. In Helen’s words, The Vancouver Club has become “one of the most progressive clubs in North America”, a place that’s a home away from home for its members with curated amenities such as à la carte dining, live music, overnight guest rooms, private events and various clubs within the club.

What wasn’t progressive at The Vancouver Club when Helen joined nearly six years ago? 

Its payroll system. 

“I was not impressed by our previous payroll system at all,” Helen shares, “And I didn’t like that system at all for the year or so that I used it. My interaction with them in general was not a good experience for me or the team. It didn’t give any of us a good feeling.” 

So the team began their search for a new payroll system.

It wasn’t very difficult to choose Rise. 

As part of their culture, The Vancouver Club seeks to serve “sustainable cuisine with an ethos of globally inspired and locally created”, including dishes featuring herbs and vegetables grown in the club’s rooftop garden. 

Supporting local businesses is also part of The Vancouver Club’s core values. “Having local businesses like Rise, like a number of others that we use, allows us to keep that feeling of community for members of our staff, particularly now, during COVID.” 

However, local wasn’t the only criteria for choosing a new payroll system.

“We also really liked the presentation,” Helen recalls, thinking back on the 30-minute Rise payroll demo. “We could see how user friendly the system was, and we had a good feeling about who we were going to work with. So it wasn’t very difficult for us in those circumstances to choose Rise as the payroll system. I have to say, I’m certainly glad that we did.” 

And the onboarding? “It was a great experience. The Rise team had endless patience with us, and someone was always there when we needed help. They really helped us go through the various steps to get the installation in place and learn how to use the system initially. We all use Macs here, which is not the normal platform for offices, but the Rise team absolutely helped us understand how to set things up so that now we can do it ourselves. So, yes, we had a great onboarding and then continuous experience.” 

A payroll software that ‘rises’ to the occasion 

The Vancouver Club is a place of elevated experiences, a place where everyone knows your name and which drink you prefer. Helen and her team sought the same level of attention to detail in a payroll system—and they found it. 

“It’s easy for me and the HR manager to use from our perspective but it’s also easy for our staff, getting electronic payslips and being able to access T4s. It’s a very interactive system. And the ease of being able to ask questions of us as the administration team of the payroll is something the staff absolutely appreciates. We were very limited before with our former system. It’s just a win-win all around now.” 

On June 29, The Vancouver Club reopened by reservation, with limited services and limited capacity to help promote physical distancing while still making its services and amenities available to members. This flexible approach is what Helen saw mirrored in Rise’s payroll system: “Being with a partner like Rise allows us to be fluid in the decisions that we make. Because it’s definitely a time of fluidity right now and being able to respond to changes as they happen is essential. We have a number of employees who are on temp leave right now. And we use our platforms to continuously communicate with them and try to look after them and their families.” 

When you’re doing payroll, it often needs a quicker response.

The Vancouver Club researched several payroll systems before choosing Rise, and Helen is happy to share her insights into the process:

“Whatever systems you’re choosing, they can become a chore to use. They need to be easy. They need to be something that you can understand and work with and be able to adapt with, because nothing ever stays the same. So if the system is not simple enough to understand, and the team isn’t responsive and able to support you, then the system becomes a challenge—not the issues that you’re dealing with.

One of the things I appreciate about Rise’s payroll is its ease of use. Whenever we have a question or need help with something, the Rise team is always there to provide support. You haven’t got all day to hang around. Payroll is very important and the reason that people come to work. So if we can’t respond through the system and find it easy to use, then that’s not very good for us from an HR perspective. I think whatever system you choose, you have to be able to incorporate it into your day-to-day business.” 

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