THE POWER OF YOUR PRESENCE: KEEPING STYLISTS MOTIVATED
About a year ago, Susan Haise, owner of Neroli Salon and Spa in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, asked her entire staff to participate in an exercise to define the culture of the salon.
During the session, Haise also asked her team why they loved working at Neroli.
“Neroli is full of positive energy and staff,” said one team member. “I feel blessed to work with such a wonderful and supportive team.”
Another team member added, “Training, education, events, culture, flexibility, positive support, leadership, team, guests, health, wellness — the list goes on and on. Susan really takes care of and cares about her team.”
That personal connection is a big reason Haise’s employees come to work every day, motivated and passionate about what they do. They know they’re not just coming to a place to clock in and out. They’re going into an environment where their boss truly cares about them and their career paths.
Luca Boccia, co-owner of three Pyure locations in Florida, also believes his stylists stay motivated and passionate due to open lines of communication.
He stresses the importance of the personal connection, too. “I think the main reason people stay in our salon is because of the connection they have to me and my partner,” he says. “If you don’t like who you work for, it’s not going to happen. They appreciate that relationship piece between owner and stylist — and that is the connection we have with our staff.”
ESTABLISHING A CONNECTION
Of course stylists stay with a salon for practical reasons, too. Both Haise and Boccia mention benefits like health care, a strong education program and a good compensation package as being important to their staff.
Having a little fun doesn’t hurt, either. “We have annual marketing and incentive programs and then will introduce new things throughout each year — no more than three or four — to keep it fresh,” says Haise. “A little friendly competition is a good thing as some of our greatest achievements have been made when we were pushed outside of our comfort zone.”
At Pyure, employees enjoy benefits like paid time off, health insurance, continuing education and a $1,000 bonus when they produce $100,000 — a benchmark Boccia’s stylists love to strive to achieve.
But it’s that connection with their owners and managers that keep stylists motivated and passionate about the salon — two qualities owners find invaluable in their employees.
Seems simple enough, right? Just keep the lines of communication open and boom — happy staff members who love coming to work every day. Well … not quite.
Between his three salons, Boccia has a little more than 100 employees. Maintaining a connection with all of them required some changes on his part.
“I don’t cut hair anymore,” says Boccia. “I travel from salon to salon and I’m just there for them to connect, talk, whatever. Sometimes we just chitchat.
“Otherwise, they just work for this building,” he says. “When they have that connection to the owner/leader we can constantly remind them of the big picture. They get bored if they aren’t part of it. It might be fine for other industries, but not for this one. We have to remind them of the goal of getting a $100 hair cut some day.”
LOVE THE ONE YOU WORK WITH
As anyone who has ever worked in a salon can attest, the environment is indeed much different than other industries. Stylists, front desk staff, managers and owners aren’t just co-workers. They’re trusted friends. Because of these close relationships, a stylist leaving the salon is much more traumatic than an office worker leaving for another position. It feels personal in the salon.
“It’s hard whenever a team member leaves the company,” says Haise. “Over the years I have found that lack of communication, not feeling valued and no friends at work are all contributing factors to team departures.”
Because of this, Haise strives to keep her staff connected to herself and each other so Neroli is a place they are truly inspired by. Judging by her staff’s feedback, her hard work is paying off.
One staff member commented, “I love Neroli and Neroli loves me. It’s a place where I am lifted up and given the best opportunities to grow in my craft. Neroli was founded by a woman with integrity and passion. It’s where I get to work among people I dearly love.”
At Pyure, employees also feel warm and fuzzy about their salon due to the bond with their owners. Boccia says the annual team picnic is also always a morale booster and a special event where the staff can bond with each other and their families.
“The appreciation piece is important,” he says. “The picnic is where we get to enjoy each other as people.”
This is just one way Boccia is always tapped into the pulse of his salons through his stylists. In the past he has found losing touch results in unhappy employees who are no longer passionate about his business.
He maintains he doesn’t lose employees when he stays connected, but it’s not easy. “It’s exhausting,” he says. “Sometimes it feels like babysitting, but our machinery is our staff. We constantly have to oil it, clean it and run it. People will go through rough times with you if they’re connected, but will leave if they’re not.”