As the owner of three salons in the Austin, Texas, area, Chris Murphy leverages his iPhone and some key applications to keep on top of things and to communicate with staff throughout the organization. “A couple of applications have really changed things for us,” he says. “We use Basecamp, which is a project management application. We have educators in all three locations and they use it as a company intranet when they are working together on a class. It really unleashes the brainpower of the team.”
The salon also uses Google docs to store frequently used forms, such as guest care forms, color consultations, retail prescriptions and management forms. “The staff member doesn’t have to go to the office and find a computer to access the form, they can access it from their phone.
Murphy encourages his leadership team and recruiting department to use the higher-level application of Evernote. “For example, we go to a number of job fairs and we use it to keep track of potential candidates,” says Murphy. “The archiving software allows you to scan and store documents and pictures, as well as store voice memos and videos. We set up a series of folders for each step of our interviewing process, and because the app is web-based, anyone, anywhere can share thoughts or notes on a prospect anytime throughout the process.”
Murphy says the program date-stamps and time-stamps each piece of information and can even use GPS to help tell you where the information was gathered. As a result, the salon now can manage a large volume of applicants—it currently has 175 active potential candidates in the system—and anyone along the way can pull a person’s file and see the resume that was gathered at a job fair or notes that were made after an interview.
“It’s completely changed how we recruit—we are a lot more thorough and put candidates through a much stricter interview process,” says Murphy. “It’s resulted in a higher level of employee. We’ve been around 21 years and in the past year our staff retention was at 93 percent. We’re getting the right people on the bus.”
Another creative thing Murphy has done is use the Basecamp app with his team to produce marketing content in the form of blogs. “We asked the staff to write down the top 10 questions their clients ask them on a daily basis and through that exercise we ended up with about 150 questions,” he says. The list of questions is stored in the Basecamp app and whenever employees have some downtime they can pick a question that hasn’t been answered and write a blog. The employees then send the blogs to a proofing team who edit them and make them into pretty copy and they are pasted into Wordpress. “We hire a brain with every pair of hands—they have so much more to offer if you give them the tools. And opening up those possibilities makes them feel more professional.”