Creating a Workplace that Fosters Freedom
By: Shelby Tarleton
More than ever, lash artists are going out on their own rather than choosing to work as an employee for someone else. This choice is a good option for some, but it isn't the best for everyone. There is a lot of pressure that goes into owning your own business. Being an employee has a lot of benefits if the structure of the company allows the employees to feel appreciated, valued, and rewarded for the work they put in. In this blog, I will be laying out some points of difference that I implement in my salon to keep my employees excited to work for me, to decrease client and employee turnover, and to maintain high standards.
One of the main reasons someone would opt to work for themselves is because they can work whenever they want and be off whenever they need. If you offer a flexible schedule and make it a point to grant family time or mental health days when needed, your employees will feel looked after and will enjoy having you as a boss. I find that my employees choose to work, rather than take time off. It has a lot to do with the environment; when you enjoy your job, work doesn't feel like work! The team knows that they can request off when they need to, and I think just having that as an option lets them know they are appreciated and not seen as machines. Try setting your schedules as a team a month in advance so that you manage requests properly, and all shifts get covered.
Let them be Them
Genuine, authentic communication between team members and clients is achieved through allowing each of your staff members personalities to shine. For example, if you have uniforms, allow your team to customize with a fun piece of jewelry or if you have workstations for each member of your team, encourage them to add a personal element to their space. Let them know your expectations about professionalism, but let them laugh and be themselves too, it will make work a lot more fun for everyone and attract the right type of client to your salon as well.
Show them off
Everyone loves to be put in the spotlight or at least receive recognition for accomplishments, big or small. Show off their latest lash masterpiece on Instagram or Facebook and brag about them whenever possible. Find contests or competitions for your staff to submit their work for promotion and recognition. They deserve it! After all, you are a TEAM and should be rooting for each other at all times. Try posting a feature highlighting and praising your team members on social media a few times a week!
Hear them out
Listen to their thoughts about how to make things more efficient, ergonomic, or enjoyable. Synergy is beautiful! The combined effort of two or more minds produces an effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. You do not know everything, so don't pretend to! Let your team contribute ideas and opinions, and invite them into the process. And don't just listen; TAKE ACTION! Your words will begin to fall on deaf ears if you are not good at following through on your commitments. If you decide not to go through with one of their ideas, follow up and let them know that you appreciated their feedback but decided on another route. Your team will respect your thoughtfulness and consideration. Most importantly, they'll feel heard, and you'll soon find that everything will start to flow a lot easier and morale will increase overall!
Most people in the beauty industry are a lot more creative than the average person. They love to be challenged and pushed. Imagine working somewhere, doing the same thing every single day with no real growth or potential? Wouldn't that get boring after a while? To combat this monotony, set up trainings, teach them everything you know, keep them in the loop, and reward them for hitting milestones and making accomplishments in skill building and technique.
To challenge your team, for example, you can create competitions each month like whoever sells 20 eyeliners gets a $20 gift card to Starbucks or whoever has the highest pre-booking percentage over the next three months receives a designer bag. Your booking system should have reports that allow you to see where efforts need to be directed to make the business better and you can turn those gaps into friendly competitions that engage your team in the resolution.
Trust is huge in any team environment; without trust, there can be no relationship. Your clients are trusting you with their eyes and that you have hired professionals that are qualified for the work that you are advertising. Your staff is trusting you that you will be treating them with kindness and respect, that you will be paying them on time and accurately, and that you will listen to their needs. You are trusting your team to follow the guidelines and expectations set up for your salon, to maintain sanitation standards and to have integrity at all times in the workplace. Know who you hire, and if you don't trust them, they shouldn't be on your staff in the first place.
Rather than locking everything up and having your team ask for permission to use certain products, have systems in place to track inventory. We are all adults, and as long as you are accounting for supplies at the beginning and end of each day, your team should be free to use the products and tools necessary to create their lash art. Have cleaning and inventory charts, for example, and count the supplies at the beginning and end of each day to ensure it correlates to the number of appointments that day.
Remember that people don't quit jobs, they quit bosses. This fact means that as bosses and managers we are the main influence on the culture of our salons and our employees satisfaction. If you are struggling with high employee turnover, unmet expectations and excessive gossip, it may be time to look in the mirror and ask yourself what part you are playing. Try my tips and let me know if you need help coming up with ideas to manage your unique situation. If you feel like you need more training to be a better lasher and leader, consider attending a group class or a one-on-one with me.