Close
Management Practices

Culture Club: Spa Bleu

Stacey Soble | April 7, 2016 | 9:05 AM
The team from Spa Bleu work with Qnity's Tom Kuhn on the corporate culture.

Two years ago, the team at Spa Bleu, with two locations in Barrington and West Dundee, Illinois, came up with 10 shared values to help define their culture.

“First, the leadership team narrowed down the values,” says Heather Hazlett, director of operations. “Then we put out a survey to the team to see which values were shared by them and management.”

Once the values were established, all employees and leaders talked about them together in a team meeting. Each small group had a value and came up with a deeper meaning for it.

The Ambassadors

A few years ago, Spa Bleu owner Tammy Coakley took a large group of team members to Serious Business in New Orleans. Inspired by the event, five of those team members approached her wanting to make a difference in the salon to help it find a greater purpose.

As a result, Coakley formed the Spa Bleu culture ambassadors, who present and organize ideas for team-building, such as beach clean-ups, wellness events and birthday celebrations. Each ambassador leads a different committee based on their personal passions, such as happiness, community service and environment. Together they hold information sessions—speed-dating style—to explain to the team what each committee is about. Team members can sign up for the committees they are passionate about and help execute the committee’s vision.

The ambassadors communicate with each other via a closed Facebook group to nail down details, and they address the rest of the group during the salon’s daily huddle. Now, not only do the ambassadors bring new ideas to the salon’s leadership team, but managers also bounce ideas off them.

Hazlett feels these are the people who really drive the salon’s culture. “They’re a group of people who are here to do more than just a haircut,” she says. “They also spearhead events like getting a float ready for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and act as the go-to person for new employees.”

Evaluating for Attitude

Open communication between salon leaders and employees is key in Spa Bleu’s culture. The conversation between the individual stylist and manager happens regularly at monthly coaching sessions.

“These conversations are coaching opportunities for us to bring challenges back to our values,” Hazlett says. “For example, let’s say a team member isn’t doing everything they can to enroll in classes or is not participating in education. That’s a coaching opportunity for us to remind them learning is a value of ours and ask how they are following this value if they aren’t engaging in education.”

The 30-45 minutes of time stylists get with Hazlett and the salon owner are valuable to everyone involved. “It’s not just about that one haircut where they could do better. It’s a two-way street that we’re going to have a conversation about,” Hazlett says. “It’s not a report card—they give feedback, too.”

For the annual review, which Hazlett says is the wrap-up piece to the monthly coaching sessions, employees assess themselves in different areas, including culture and teamwork, and the leadership team does the same.

“We average the scores together, and usually the employees are much harder on themselves than we are,” Hazlett says. “But allowing them to dig deep and rate themselves lets us know where there is opportunity.”

Employees also receive a pay evaluation twice a year, which is based on their critical numbers as well as their attitude and teamwork, which is particularly key since the salon uses the team-based pay system.

The strong culture at Spa Bleu was evident last year when they completed a total renovation of their original location, which closed the salon for 14 weeks.

“We did not lose any employees at this time,” Hazlett says. “They all banded together, switching to the other location, taking vacation time, helping out in other roles, etc. We are very proud of how smoothly that transition went for us. We couldn’t have done it without our amazing team.”

Facebook Comments

More from Management Practices

Salon Today 200 When Ayla lost her hair during treatment for a rare form of leukemia, her sister and several members of her Brownie troop decided they wanted to donate hair to Wigs for Kids. The team at Impressions in Mequon, WI, made that happen, and here Ayla makes the first cut.
Salon Today 200

2017 Salon Today 200: Philanthropy

Stacey Soble | December 5, 2016

When salons and spas participate in community charities or organize their own philanthropic activity, they often are acting from the heart. But the goodwill generated from these activities serves as a powerful marketing tool and can propel both personal and professional growth. Here are our 2017 Salon Today 200 honorees in the category of Philanthropy.

Salon Today 200 The team at Rock Paper Scissor SalonSpa in Santa Fe, NM.
Salon Today 200

2017 Salon Today 200: Employee Education

Stacey Soble | December 3, 2016

For the most successful service providers, education is a career-long process. The best salons develop systems to strengthen the skills and confidnece of their newest team members, whicle encouraging their seasoned staff to continually stretch by brining education into the salon or supporting those who venture out to seek new skills. Find out which salons received top honors in the Salon Today 200 by developing strong education programs.

Salon Today 200 The team from Local Honey in Greensboro, NC.
Salon Today 200

2017 Salon Today 200: Growth, Part Two

Stacey Soble | December 12, 2016

Meet the second half of our 2017 Salon Today 200 Growth Honorees. When a salon or spa masters a number of best business practices, it often fuels its growth. The resulting momentum, as well as the extra resources, often encourage the business and its team to continue to expand as they seek success.

Salon Today 200 The open concept reception table at Lavish in Webster, TX.
Salon Today 200

2017 Salon Today 200: Customer Service

Stacey Soble | December 1, 2016

When it comes to a client building a long-term relationship with a salon, the level of service a guest receives can be more important than the precision of the haircut of the quality of the color. Customer service impacts the client's overall experience, and the salons and spas who deliver it during each and every visit boost their overall sales along with their client retention figures. Find out who made this year's Salon Today 200 list in Customer Service.

Salon Today 200 The team from The Circle Salon on retreat at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, IL.
Salon Today 200

2017 Salon Today 200: Salon Culture

December 9, 2016

Announcing the 2017 Honorees in the category of Salon Culture. Culture is that invisible, yet tangilbe, energy that binds and propels a team and attracts clients. A strong culture is hard to define and even more difficult to build. But when mastered, these salons are unstoppable.

Salon Today 200 The team from Tulip Salon & Spa in Fredericksburg, Virgina.
Salon Today 200

2017 Salon Today 200: Technology

Stacey Soble | December 10, 2016

Meet the 2017 Salon Today 200 Honorees in the category of Technology. In today's fast-paced world, technology plays a critical role in boosting a salon and spa to the next lever--from communicating with guests, measuring and motivating team members and keeping all systems running strong.

Load More