Lyons HR: SM Athletics

A smart approach to employee retention

By Ryan Brown of SM Athletics

Thinking Ahead

It was back in 1976 when SM Athletics got its start. The company found its path by making athletic uniforms for football, basketball and baseball teams for several schools, including the University of Tennessee. Today, we are not far off from where we started. We continue to make uniforms, but we now also do screen printing, embroidery, sewing alterations, patches, and more—all within our 15,000-square-foot facility in Knoxville.

SM Athletics | Nathan Sparks

I bought the company back in 2018. We tore the former building down to its foundation that year and built it back up with new equipment and a new attitude on how we would approach our work. We’re a small business with just 13 employees, but we wanted to ensure that we were able to offer our current employees—and our future ones—the type of benefits that a large company would: HR coverage, exceptional payroll and direct deposit options, top-tier insurance benefits, and more. 

At the end of the day, we realized that a good business is built upon having good people. We saw things becoming more and more competitive in hiring and found it increasingly difficult to find quality team members. We knew we needed some help.

SM Athletics | Nathan Sparks

Call in the Professionals

Lyons HR came on at just the right time. For a small business, it takes time and commitment to put together proper HR and payroll benefits, and they’ve taken that all off of our plate. 

Wes Brown, Lyons HR Director of Sales Operations who is based in Knoxville, once told me, “None of that makes the company any money, and yet it eats up so much of a company’s time that it’s a negative profit center for them. If you can outsource that and get that off your plate, it frees up time for your employees to do things that are productive and actually add to your bottom line.”

Wes and his team understand exactly what we need as a company. They have taken over handbooks, job descriptions, FMLA tracking when needed, workers compensation audits, 401k, onboarding paperwork, and so many other duties. But they’ve also allowed us access to benefits that a small-to-medium-sized company just wouldn’t be able to offer its employees. 

SM Athletics | Nathan Sparks

On top of all of this, Lyons HR is local. During a time when we see so many larger corporations losing that personal touch with their clients, Lyons shows that they believe in the opposite. While they might service clients across the country through multiple southeast offices, Wes and the Lyons team make a concerted effort to maintain local, hometown connections. They come right to our facility and sit down directly with our employees to explain to them their benefits and offer guidance. Our employees call on them when they have questions about their coverage, and I rest easy knowing that they are providing the right information and HR support to my incredible team. 

I would have never imagined that through exceptional HR, I’d see such a difference in our employee retention. However, that has been the case and then some since we began working with them.

Nothing but Trust

Certified by the IRS, the team at Lyons HR has been helping us build up what we’re able to offer to our employees in a way I never would have dreamed. They do it right, and I feel nothing but trust in the work they’re doing with us.

424 Ebenezer Rd | Knoxville, TN 37923 | (888) 212-3687 | 

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