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How to Keep Good People...

The salon and spa space, like many service industries, is a revolving door, notorious for workforce constantly moving in and out. The average employment lifespan within a salon is approximately 3 to 5 years. However, this is not a trend unique to the salon industry. Overall, in the United States, one-third of new hires will quit their job within 6 months.

Industry analysis expects the demand for health and beauty industry services to continue to rise in the United States. While that spells opportunity for salon owners, so too does it open new doors for salon industry workers, which means more options for workers and more competition between salon owners to hire and retain the best salon professionals.

Why Good Employees Quit

Before you can hope to retain quality employees, you must first understand what drives them to leave in the first place.

  1. They don’t feel valued or appreciated
  2. Company culture has deteriorated
  3. Double standards
  4. Lack of growth opportunity
  5. No feedback or ongoing training

These concepts are largely universal across industries but are that much more important when the salon industry is experiencing such explosive growth that it offers opportunities elsewhere for employees. Remember that good employees are growth-minded, so if your employees feel that their career is stagnating by remaining at your salon, they will look for new and enticing options.

Understanding the Impact

Not every employee in every industry demands the same hiring and onboarding process, but there is a real cost associated with hiring new employees that stretches beyond a single dollar amount, which ranges from 10-30% of an employee’s current salary.

Some factors that may contribute to direct and indirect costs of losing an employee include:

  • Advertising, interviewing, screening and hiring of a new employee
  • Onboarding and training a new employee
  • Skills-capacity gap cost and subsequent lost productivity between the seasoned employee and the new one
  • Lost engagement and morale of remaining employees
  • Mistakes made by a new employee while they learn the ropes
  • Hit to company culture

The true impact of employee turnover can be determined simply by taking these factors and assigning a cost value to them to help calculate the real cost of employee turnover to your salon.

How to Reduce Employee Turnover

Establish a Vision and Culture Employees
Can Get Behind

If you do not have a clear vision and set of core principles employees can relate to, you are unlikely to earn their buy-in and respect. Core principles lay out in writing what the company stands for and the guidelines all employees are expected to follow in completing their day-to-day tasks and interacting with customers. These principles can include things like transparency among employees and impeccable customer service.

But it is not enough to come up with a list of ideas and assume employees will blindly follow them. As much as possible, and especially for established salons and spas, employees should be included in determining the core values of the company. This will make it much more likely that employees with adopt, carry out, and support these guidelines. It also offers employees a sense of ownership, not just over their actions, but over their stake in the business and its future success.

Training and Career Development

Employee training doesn’t stop after onboarding. Like any other successful business, salons and spas should continually invest in their employees’ continuing education and career development. Not only does this develop goodwill between employee and employer, but it brings increased value to your salon through your employees’ expanded skillset. Ongoing employee training can include in-house demonstrations, incorporating new ideas into regular staff meetings and, where possible, subsidizing employees’ attendance at industry workshops and conferences.

Salon owners and managers should also incorporate performance reviews and less formal means of feedback as a regular part of business practice. This includes outlining career and training paths with employees and offering annual performance and salary evaluations. Feedback should always be constructive and does not have to be limited to areas of improvement. Frequent and informal positive feedback is essential in fostering employee satisfaction and growth.

Emulate Successful Stylists & Team Members

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Identify your most successful salon professionals and what they are doing that makes them stand out and incorporate these concepts into your hiring and training processes.

Since good employees often leave due to lack of appreciation or growth opportunities, allowing them to fill a leadership role where they train new hires accomplishes two goals: (1) it allows the senior employee to take on more responsibility and feel challenged in their role, which reduces the likelihood that the successful employee will leave; and (2) it also passes along critical knowledge and skills to the next wave of employees who will, ideally, continue to grow and help your salon thrive.

Employee Satisfaction

Happy employees are more productive employees. In addition to improving company culture and offering employees continued growth and development opportunities, including benefits such as flexible works schedules, recognizing hard work, and company-sponsored teambuilding activities where possible can go a long way to boosting employee engagement and morale. This, in turn, produces employees who are overall more satisfied with their employment, tend to work harder and work happier.

However, if your salon already incorporates some of these initiatives, do not assume employees are happy. Communication is the key to employee satisfaction. Ask them if what you are doing as an employer benefits them and, if the answer is no, what you can do to improve your efforts to engage them and provide the best possible work environment.

Wrap Up

It is vastly more efficient to retain existing employees than it is to hire and train new ones, both from a productivity and a cost perspective. Just as with any other industry, salons and spas must invest in the engagement and development of their employees to remain competitive as an employer in an increasingly competitive market. Understanding what causes employees to leave, how that can impact your salon, and what to do to prevent employees from leaving can make or break your salon’s bottom line.

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