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How to Fix Today’s Salon/Spa Recruiting Challenge

May 16, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

“The great resignation is coming,” says Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, in a recent Bloomberg Businessweek article.

According to Klotz, who studied the exits of hundreds of workers, “When there’s uncertainty, people tend to stay put, so there are pent-up resignations that didn’t happen over the past year.”

Klotz cites the pandemic-related epiphanies employees, in general, had about work/life balance, family time, work schedule flexibility, life and death, and what it all means — including creating a new future.

The good news is that Klotz’s forecast doesn’t mean employees will be quitting en masse. Many employees are happy with their jobs and the companies they work for.

However, owners should regard Klotz’s findings as a major wake-up call. More turnover in a tight labor market is the last thing salon/spa owners need.

What to do about the recruiting challenge?

Well, the absolute best way to fix today’s recruiting challenge is to significantly reduce employee turnover. And it’s no secret that the turnover rate in the salon/spa industry is historically high. Given the regular occurrence of employee walkouts — it’s downright scary.

It’s one thing to be recruiting to accommodate new client demand and growth. It’s a whole other thing to be recruiting to plug the holes left by defecting employees.

FACT: If you’re under pressure to recruit because your salon/spa is losing employees, it’s your business that needs some serious fixing.

That means taking a brutally hard look at your leadership, culture,
structure, compensation program, and other factors that make working for a company fun, inspiring, and rewarding.

It’s about how you lead: It’s one thing to own a salon/spa … it’s something entirely different to lead people. Some owners are command and control types that barely give employees a chance to breathe. Others are hands-off or too busy working on clients to effectively lead, allowing the business to drift off course. Still, others lack confidence and view the simplest employee challenges as confrontational. Some hate structure while others embrace it. At the end of the day, leaders must lead with respect and purpose.

It’s about culture: Culture is the collective thinking and behavior of a company. Cultures reflect leadership. Cultures are either impressively dynamic, fractured, or seriously contaminated. Whatever your culture is today, it’s what you, the leader, created — or allowed to happen. Creating a culture that both attracts and retains employees requires a leader that is committed, engaged, and willing to do whatever it takes to nurture and protect that culture.

It’s not always about money: Covid fed the whole “work/life” balance thing. And the better unemployment benefits still available feeds the “hey, I can make enough to get by and not work for a while” thinking. More importantly, every study ever done on workplace satisfaction and turnover supports that money is not the overriding factor. Being appreciated, culture, teamwork, growth opportunities, and other factors take precedent.

  • Too many owners think commission is the big motivator to inspire performance and the right behaviors. It’s not even close. Commission is piecework. “You do this, and you make that.” Commission doesn’t create culture. Commission doesn’t create teamwork.

It’s about trust and transparency: When a leader promises something to an employee or says, “I’m going to do _____________,” and it doesn’t happen. Trust is broken. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you promise something, deliver it. If you can’t, step up, be honest, apologize and explain why. Once broken, trust must be earned back — and that takes time. As a leader, you earn trust every day.

It’s about showing appreciation: Showing appreciation is the one act that pays massive and long-term dividends. Too many owners get so caught up in driving productivity, revenues, cash flow, employee problems, and various projects, that taking time to show appreciation takes a back seat. Just like machines need maintenance, employees need feedback, coaching, and appreciation for a job well done, or a respectful fierce conversation when they need help getting back on course. No one wants to work for a leader that doesn’t show appreciation.

It’s about flexibility: Owners of employee-based salons/spas fear losing employees to booth rental and suites. Flexibility is an enticement, but how much work schedule flexibility an independent contractor can have is debatable. But that doesn’t mean employee-based salons/spas can’t offer a level of flexibility to employees to create higher job satisfaction. If the pandemic put a spotlight on the need for flexibility, owners need to get innovative and figure out how to meet this need without compromising revenue goals.

Here’s my challenge to you: If your salon/spa is experiencing an uptick in employee defections, you need to take a brutally hard look at your leadership style, business model, culture, systems, and how flexible it is for employees.

Anything and everything on how your business operates needs to be on the table for possible rethinking.

The reason to take a brutally hard look at every aspect of your
business is simple — that’s all you can control. You cannot control what’s going on outside the walls of your company. You can’t manifest qualified workers if they’re not out there in quantity.

It isn’t easy putting your company under a microscope … especially when you’re the one taking the hard look.

🗓 Schedule a free 60-minute strategy session to start building your Team-Based salon, spa, or medspa: Click Here!

Categories: Leadership , Staff Retention

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