Since launching Ropes Courses Inc (RCI) in 1989, Jim and Michelle Liggett have continued to take a lot of strategic high-wire steps to build that business into a diversified holding of 12 separate organizations serving the family entertainment market.
To support these businesses, Sky Trail Management and Development was formed as a full-service management company to centralize accounting, human resources, payroll, marketing, purchasing and other administrative processes for all of its clients, the subsidiary companies of RCI.
People that are both equally comfortable jumping from heights and acquiring multiple companies are no strangers to challenge. What makes the Liggetts great at both is not just bravery, but agility in high- risk decision making. The one big drag slowing their highgrowth diversified business was navigating the onerous process to find, hire and train their people, while ensuring compliance.
Michelle, President of Sky Trail Management and Development, works to ensure all of the backend processes are as tightly constructed as their equipment. She searched on Google for options to her HR management dilemma and found Zenefits in 2015. She has built her business on Zenefits’ foundation ever since.
From the forest through the seas: Building a business of entertainment parks
Jim and Michelle Liggett are serious about making highflying fun more accessible. From their start with utility poles, ropes, and belaying apparatus in the woods, they have developed patented safety systems and products for family entertainment, amusement parks, zoos, resorts, and even cruise ships. Families and customers like Disney, Norwegian Cruise lines and the Great Wolf Lodge use their products for safe, easy and fun options to all people of all ages to “be in the air.”
In 2005, Michelle set up Sky Trail Management and Development to provide a single back-end service organization to support: owner/operator parks of its own, a construction business to build its products and sites, and sales of its safety equipment to third parties.
Now, its easy for me to start
companies because we have a
standard operating process...
Systems like Zenefits are key to
what we do.
The right data for better management
A streamlined process is crucial in entertainment park staffing. In fact, speed matters – on and off the equipment. For example, seasonal hiring needs to include onboarding and thorough safety training before new employees can go to work. So to staff up for spring break, automating the hiring and onboarding flow can make the difference in having the right team in place for the holiday rush.
The majority of staff Sky Trail hires are college students who may only work for a season, then return a few months or a year later. “We are always onboarding and offboarding. It is great for us and our team that with Zenefits we can onboard someone, take them off temporarily, and restart without replicating all the hiring process.”
Michelle is also taking advantage of Zenefits’ growing set of technology integrations and partnerships. For example, she centralizes access to a range of functionality through Zenefits integrations to background checking and flexible savings plans.
“Zenefits integration with Quickbooks is especially huge for us: calculating our employee benefits payments and ACA reporting from one place,” adds Michelle. And Zenefits helps our complex organization to be managed as one entity for orchestrating things like 401k centrally. This is great for us!”
Beyond technology, Sky Trail also taps Zenefits’ Certified Broker Partner, One Digital, to ensure benefits counsel for staff across all of its businesses. “One Digital has been great; they moved the timeline earlier for reviewing programs and options and helped us find the best rates for the size of our group.”
Building a brand and a culture with smart tools
“Zenefits helps us be more competitive by building a positive impression from the start. For example, when a job candidate gets our offer through Zenefits and can see their compensation and all the related insurance, 401k and flexible benefits right there, it makes our small company look larger. It is a powerful reflection of our brand.”
“Zenefits makes it easier to add new employees and new companies to our organization. Our investment in Zenefits frees our team time to focus on great customer service and fun experiences.”
Indeed, nothing is left up in the air but Sky Trails’ happy customers.