Business books often tout that workers crave recognition for their hard work, often as much as or more than their salary. Never has that been more important than this year, when your team members have been dealing with stressed clients, picking up the slack because of lost team members and their own fears about the next mutating virus.
SALON TODAY recently querried owners, asking them how they celebrate holidays, team member's birthdays and anniversaries, as well as how they recognize those who go above and beyond, and they responded with some wonderfully creative ideas:
“Normally, we’d have a Christmas Party in a private room at a restaurant. But last year, people were still uncomfortable in a large gathering area with lots of others, so we decided to rent an Airbnb in the North Carolina mountains and stayed three days and two nights. It snowed, and it was both beautiful and fun. The house had a pool table and a hot tub, and we played games, and just enjoyed each other’s company. Those who weren’t scared rode the Alpine Coaster and went snow tubing. It was a great escape from the worries of the year. We also do an annual Christmas decorating party, where we all wear ugly seaters or PJs and decorate the salon. I love how the team is vested in helping make the salon look cozy, comfortable and season—it means the world to me that everyone looks forward to this every year.”—Cynthia Perry, Cynergy Color Bar, Wake Forest, North Carolina
“At Soleil Salon and Spa, we host an annual, private Oscar Awards to recognize those who achieved their yearly goals and hit benchmarks throughout the year. We also celebrate those who have been with the company for more than five years. The morale of the team and their growth has been incredible—they always look forward to Oscar night.”—Luisa Garcia, Soleil Salon and Spa in Windham, New Hampshire
“This past year we celebrated the salon’s 21st anniversary! Of course, with COVID we weren't able to have the 21st birthday party as I'd anticipated or complimentary alcoholic beverages during the month. So instead, I decorated the salon so it looked like we were having a party the whole month and we created 21 days of fun and special offers.”—Alena Eubanks, Mitchell Wade Salon in Oviedo, FL
“We developed a program to recognize our biggest contributing team members, our all-time big star barbers or employees who have really proven themselves. Instead of another backpack, key chain or glass trophy, we thought about giving them something that would really stand out, and for me that was a Letterman’s jacket. So, we designed a V’s Letterman jacket for the best of the best. It is designed with a V’s on the front, the year they win the award, and our logo on the back. They wear them, and they wear them with pride. And, there’s the ability to patch them with additional recognition, like a patch when they hit the 30-year mark. It’s something you can’t buy.”—Jim Valenzuela, founder of V’s Barbershops (see jacket and learn more in above video interview)
“We have an annual ‘We are Grateful for You’ breakfast every November. This is when we stop and appreciate our team members for all they do and who they are. During this special meeting, we acknowledge those who have been with Headlines for 5+ years and those with any special achievements. We also ask the team to do ‘shoutouts’ for fellow teammates they see as special and giving. We prepare a complete buffet breakfast and set the salon up in Thanksgiving-style tables and decor. It's truly a labor of love that my partner David and I do.”—Gayle Fulbright, Headlines the Salon in Encinitas, CA
“Since the holidays are crazy busy for stylists, we plan our annual ‘holiday’ around Valentine’s Day with an annual Galentine Party. We do love decorating for the holidays though, and each year we pick a theme for our tree and present wrapping. A few of the past have been Naples (because we opened our 2nd location there this year!), Bubbly, Animal Print, and Kevin.Murphy Future Love. We enjoy these fun traditions and it has been such a part of our culture that even our clients look forward to them each year.”—Jessica Carlevato, salon lead of Levato Salon in Hinsdale, IL
“Celebrations are crucial. They make the team feel important, empowered and loved. The longer somebody works somewhere the importance of these celebrations grows larger. Whether it’s a pat on the back, or a more formal gift we do our best to celebrate everybody’s wins. We congratulate all of our team on their anniversaries but every 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years we celebrate their anniversaries with us with a piece of Tiffany jewelry. This year we had the privilege and honor of celebrating three of our stylists that have been with the company since day one, making 2021 their 30 year anniversary with us! We gave them some custom‐built and designed Tiffany medallions and took them out to a nice dinner. Our philosophy is that we need to celebrate these anniversaries because they represent trust, loyalty, and respect from our team—Austin Randolph, director of three Randolph’s Salons in Oakland County, Michigan
“We celebrate team members in many ways at Urban Betty in Austin, Texas, so here’s a list:
- Birthdays: Team members celebrating receivd a $15 gift card to a local restaurant or coffee shop so they can have a pick-me-up on their special day.
- Work Anniversaries: First anniversaries receive a Succulent; three-year employees receive a $100 personalized gift basket; five-year employees receive a $200 spa gift card; and at 10 years they receive an award plaque.
- Level Ups: We celebrate with treats to share with everyone.
- Annual Thanksgiving Potluck: A few days before Thanksgiving we have a potluck at the salon. The salon provides turkey, ham, and stuffing. Everyone else signs up for sides or drinks! The best dish wins $100, 2nd place $75, and 3rd place $50.
- Annual Holiday Party: Our Betty Ball takes place in December at a nice venue. The dress code is cocktail attire, we have a photographer on-site, and catered food. We also play white elephant and give away prizes and awards.
- Annual Ugly Sweater Pizza Party: Everyone wears their ugly Christmas sweater and the salon provides the pizza. We all vote on the ugliest sweater and the winner gets $100!
- Annual Boat Party: We rent a two-story party boat (with a slide!) on Lake Travis during the summer.”—Devan Nguyen, marketing manager at Urban Betty in Austin, Texas
“With our 25th anniversary this year, we decided to make it about our team and their contribution, especially during this difficult last year. We had two full salon closures in September to celebrate. The first day was a cruise on a large boat out to Blake Island, a native America- inspired retreat center. Everyone dressed in Gilligan’s Island theme for our six-hour tour. We ate, drank, laughed and sang together and took more than 1,000 pictures. The next week, we closed for a full day of high-end training and education for every department. It was expensive, but also very important to pull all of us together. We needed to celebrate the Covid battle we have fought. It felt like the perfect time to start rebuilding our half-than-normal-sized team. We are looking to recruit 50 people!”—Inez Gray, Habitude in Seattle, Washington
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