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Overcoming the BIG Salon & Spa Team Culture Disconnect

September 18, 2017 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Overcoming the BIG Salon/Spa Team Culture Disconnect

Everyone talks about the importance of creating the right culture. It’s a no-brainer. Great salons and spas have great team cultures.

So why is creating a great team culture so inherently difficult in our industry? The answer is quite simple. But to understand that simple answer, you must allow yourself to see through the “what is” to reveal the “what can be.”

The “what is”:

Build “me” versus “we”: The most significant difference between an “I/me/mine” and a “team-based” culture can be summed up in two words – request rate. The historic and accepted industry benchmark for “individual success” is becoming “booked solid” with requests. It’s the classic case of “what gets measured – gets repeated.” By design, the culture is “me” based – not team based.

What you told them to build leaves with them: It’s what every owner fears. That busy service provider with that big clientele leaves and a hefty chunk of “your” cash flow goes too. Losing one “big producer” hurts. A “walkout” is devastating. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome — why do owners keep doing the same thing? No wonder many owners get frustrated and burnt out.

The “what can be”:

Teams grow great salons and spas: It’s about matching your chosen business model with the right culture rather than being in conflict with it. It’s about the choice to build an employee-based salon/spa with a true team-based culture. It’s about the choice to build a company where all employees work together rather than in competition with each other.

  • Your culture is not team based if an employee has an issue with clients seeing other employees for the same service.
  • Your culture is not team based if one or more service providers say, “Hey, that newbie is getting all the new clients instead of me.”
  • Your culture is not team based if one or more service providers are more concerned with filling “their own book” over doing their part to achieve the salon/spa’s monthly goal.

When the client comes first: Yes, there are many service providers that take amazing care of “their” clients. But that doesn’t mean your company’s clients are being serviced by a team. Team based means “team service.” It means the skills of the entire team are available to each and every client. It means that each column on your appointment book represents work to be done — rather than boundaries not to be crossed.

Team based means greater opportunities for all: How does a service provider make more money when “their book” is full? The knee-jerk industry response is, “Raise their prices.” Here’s what that looks like. An owner of a 40-employee salon called me this week seeking a solution to address the lure of suites. In the last two years, she lost 12 stylists to suites. The salon had eight service price levels. That’s simply “growing columns on the appointment book.” The 12 stylists simply took “their” business to a suite.

A team-based culture means:

  • Not getting clients stuck in your pay system. Multi-level pricing is simply a way to give a so-called raise without increasing commission rate. The more price levels you have, the more barriers to team service.
  • A service provider’s income is based on overall performance — not just a percentage of “their” service revenue.
  • As the company’s total revenue increases, the dollars available for service payroll increases. As long as the company’s payroll percentage remains within benchmark, your busiest service providers can earn higher pay.
  • Being part of something so special that it cannot be achieved alone.

Here’s my challenge to you: This isn’t about what’s good or bad about Team-Based Pay, commission, booth rental or suites. It’s about recognizing that accepted industry norms create the very obstacles to achieving a true team-based culture. Consider the following:

  • What percentage of your company’s total revenue is dependent on individual clienteles versus clients that are loyal to your brand?
  • What systems and performance benchmarks do you use that focus more on growing individuals and less on growing your company?
  • Based on your current productivity rate and the distribution of work, could less staff and more team focus achieve higher total revenue?

You cannot build a team-based culture on an “I/me/mine” foundation.

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

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