Skip to main content

10 Reasons Great Employees Quit Salons & Spas


Don't forget to check out the follow-up to this post, 10 Reasons Why Great Salon & Spa Employees STAY. 

Employee turnover at salons and spas has always been a horrendous problem.

The most dreaded employee exodus is the infamous "walkout." It can turn an otherwise busy salon/spa into a cash-starved ghost town overnight.

Today, with suites offering your best employees a seemingly enticing and easy transition to become "independent", employee-based salon/spa owners are being force to upgrade their business models. In other words, to create a sustainable business model that is less susceptible to employee turnover.

Employees leave for many reasons, many of which are quite valid. But when great employees leave due to the leadership, operation and culture of the business … that's a wake-up call that owners must heed.

Although some of our top ten reasons may seem basic … or even trivial … they are real and have a cumulative negative affect on employee morale.

Here are our top ten reasons why great employees quit:

  1. Don't feel valued or appreciated: No one likes to feel discounted, insignificant or taken for granted. Great employees are considered great because they hung in there through the tough times. They believed in the vision and what the salon/spa stood for. But when the focus of the business and its owner is on new staff and projects, great employees can feel unappreciated and taken for granted. Simply put, they don't feel the "love" that they once did. FIX: No matter how much you have going on, make time to show appreciation to those great employees that show up and do the work. Something as simple as a monthly breakfast meeting or scheduled one-on-one time is all it takes. Sometimes, a simple "thank you" can make an employee's day.
  2. Tired of the drama: OMG … salons and spas can be a toxic breeding ground for all sorts of internal drama. Too many people getting involved in other's personal business. Too much downtime spent in the break room. Too many people talking about other employees. Owners playing favorites. Drama wears on people and creates a toxic funk that permeates every nook and cranny of the business. Eventually, people have enough. FIX: Drama feeds on downtime and the best antidote for downtime is increasing your company's productivity rate. The old practice of "hiring to fill empty chairs/treatment rooms" is just that … an old practice. More hours for sale do not automatically translate into more revenue. A high productivity rate driven by high client retention and prebook rates most definitely does. If high productivity doesn't squelch the drama … your leadership skills need a tune-up.
  3. Culture deteriorated: When a business culture goes down the tubes, work stops being fun. Growth momentum stops. Growth opportunities evaporate. People withdraw and detach from the team. No one likes to work in a toxic culture. High resistance to change, cliques, lack of focus and low engagement are all symptoms of a deteriorated culture. FIX: One of the biggest undertakings for any owner is to successfully lead his/her company through a culture shift - a complete upgrade of a company's collective thinking and behavior. And because the culture deteriorated … it is likely that the culture shift itself will cause some much needed turnover.
  4. No longer feel challenged: Great employees became great through perseverance, dedication and loyalty to the company. When their appointment book is full every day and new career challenges are far and few between … or non-existent … work becomes work. Great employees need to be challenged to grow and get better. Challenges keep them sharp and engaged. In the absence of challenge, there's boredom and feelings of stagnation. Any opportunity can look better. FIX: What's the growth plan for your great employees? When was the last time you had a conversation about their future career wants and needs? What company initiatives are in play or on the horizon that can engage great employees?
  5. Not everyone is held to the same standards: Salons and spas are skill-based customer service businesses. That's why standards of performance, rules and systems need to exist if a salon/spa has any hope of becoming a recognized market leader. When some employees are held accountable to the rules, systems and company standards … while others are not … resentment and lack of fairness ensue. When great employees see others behaving and performing in ways that hurt the company … and the owners allow it … they ask, "Why do I care when the owner doesn't?" FIX: This is a huge issue that many owners get stuck in. Maybe they were trying to please people. Maybe they were playing favorites. Maybe they're afraid of confrontation. Accountability to company standards is the non-negotiable work of leadership. If you're struggling with accountability … get a business coach.
  6. Future looks the same as yesterday: Great employees are growth oriented. That's how they become great employees. But when their career map has a question mark on it … the turnover clock is ticking. FIX: At Strategies, we teach Team-Based Pay. One of the tools of TBP is a Broadband. Unlike commission that is pay based on what an individual's hands can generate, TBP is pay based on overall performance. The two key words here are "overall performance." Just because their "book is full" doesn't mean income growth should slow or stop. (Yes, you can raise their prices … but that's not expanding one's career map.) What other skills does this great employee have beyond just doing services? That's one of the many questions a Broadband answers.
  7. Little or no feedback on personal performance: In school, students get report cards. At work, employees have performance reviews, evaluations or check-ins. Call it whatever you want … all employees have a need and right to know what the company thinks of their overall performance and contribution. Great employees can't run on autopilot. They need to know how they're doing. Take this fundamental feedback away and great employees can become resentful. FIX: Scheduled performance reviews are a must for every employee. If it's been more than six months since you had a one-on-one with your great employees … you're asking for trouble.
  8. Owner lost sight of company vision: Owning and growing a business is tough work. There are ups and downs, wins and losses. Sometimes an owner just gets tired or feels beaten down. When owners lose sight of their company's vision … sometimes to the point of just wanting to "get out" … turnover will be an outcome. If the owner doesn't want to be there … why should employees? FIX: I've coached many owners back from the brink of giving up. It always begins with a plan to bring life and meaning back to the vision that once empowered them. One win leads to the next. Confidence returns. It's hard to do this without a business coach. Give us a call if you need help.
  9. Owner made it "all about the numbers": At Strategies, we're extremely number's driven … but never at the expense of culture, teamwork, quality and customer service. Salon/spa computer software can generate numbers and reports on damn near everything a service provider does. Too often, this turns performance reviews into a trip through a stack of numbers. When it becomes all about the numbers … it can depersonalize the employer/employee relationship. Eventually, your great employees can feel like they're just a number too. FIX: Numbers are simply measurements of thinking and behavior. Numbers are only one part of a thorough performance review. Reviews must also give equal time to skill development, culture and teamwork … and individual strengths. Get those pieces right and the numbers will improve. 
  10. Working alone in a suite looks better: Yup … suites are the "anti" employee-based salon/spa business model. Suites want your great employees. They offer up a compelling … but highly inaccurate and misleading proposition to lure your great employees into signing a suite lease. FIX: The more your salon/spa business is based on building columns on your appointment book … the more "I/me/mine" thinking and behavior it creates in your company. The Team-Based Business Model distinguishes itself from the old commission "build your book" business model. That's the future.

Here's our challenge to you: Read and digest each and every one of the ten reasons listed above. The more that exist in your company … the more vulnerable you are to losing not only great employees … but employees in general. Meet with your leadership team to discuss each reason and create a plan for implementing the fixes.

Don't forget to check out the follow-up to this post, 10 Reasons Why Great Salon & Spa Employees STAY. 


No comments found. Start the conversation!