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Why “Who Gets the Credit” Hurts Your Salon/Spa Culture

The salon/spa industry’s longstanding approach to compensation is built on one seriously simple method: If a service provider delivers a service, or sells a product, he or she gets a piece.

In order to get that “piece,” the salon/spa must determine “who gets the credit” for the service or product sale.

Here are the four most common “who gets the credit” challenges:

  1. One or more service providers work on one client and each expects to get “a piece” of the ticket.

  2. A front desk/guest services employee sells a retail item to client at checkout. The service provider has a fit because he/she didn’t get the credit.

  3. Front desk/guest services employees disengage from closing or selling retail because the credit and commission automatically goes to the service provider.

  4. A service provider says, “I’m not doing unless I get a piece.”

These four challenges may seem extremely basic, but they’re far from it. Why? Because the moment an employee feels short-changed or cheated, it contaminates your culture and spreads like wildfire.

FACT: When “who gets the credit” is the basis for determining individual pay, it creates internal competition between employees that is counterproductive to creating a true team-based culture.

As an owner/leader, here are four questions you must answer about the company you want to build:

  1. Are you building a company or individuals? If your company's core thinking and behavior is focused on creating client loyalty to your brand, you’re building a company. In contrast, if your company’s focus and systems are on building the following’s of individual service providers, you’re building a ticking time bomb. KEY: The less a salon/spa works on brand loyalty, the more clients are likely to follow “their” service provider when that service provider moves on. Commission pay is all about getting the credit for a service and/or retail sale. It’s about building a following.

  2. Does your culture represent and support your brand message? Every time a client spends money at your salon/spa, that money is not paying the service provider, it’s paying the bills. That’s why it’s every employee’s responsibility to represent, support and live the culture of your salon/spa. KEY: The more “my client” supersedes “our client” thinking and behavior, the more fractured your culture and the more compromised your brand image becomes. Teamwork is “we” work — not “me” work.

  3. Does “who gets the credit” compromise the customer service experience in any way? The moment any employee buys into “that’s not my client” and/or “I’m not paid to do that” thinking, the more your company’s customer service experience falls short. KEY: Indifference means “I don’t care.” If “I don’t care” thinking and behavior has infected your company, consider it your wake-up call. Commission struggles to reward the right behavior and performance because it’s built on “who gets the credit.” There is a more advanced way to pay for the right behavior and performance.

  4. How does “who gets the credit” cause indifference with your front desk/guest services team? The moment indifference takes hold in your front desk/guest services team, not only is the customer service experience compromised, but so is your company’s performance. KEY: Critical numbers are numeric readouts of your company’s culture (thinking and behavior) and the effectiveness of its systems. “Who gets the credit” indifference wrecks consistency and performance.

Here’s my challenge to you: It’s not the intent of this blog post to criticize commission pay or to sell you on Team-Based Pay. The intent is to put a spotlight on the thinking and behavior that commission and “who gets the credit” inherently creates.

It’s long overdue for employee-based salons and spas to separate themselves from the “I/me/mine,” independent contractor, thinking that commission creates.

It’s time to build true team-based salons/spas that pay employees based on their overall performance — not just the revenues they produce with their hands.

Do yourself, your employees and your company a favor and download our Team-Based Fact Sheet.


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