The new year hasn’t suddenly alleviated the staffing crisis facing the beauty and wellness industry. Frontline employees are a highly susceptible demographic to job-hopping — with 37% of hourly workers seriously considering leaving their current role.
When providers leave their chairs, tables, or workstations, they often take a sizable amount of their customers with them and, in turn, their recurring revenue. Spa and salon operators can’t afford to wait for staffing issues to resolve themselves — and lose more customers along the way — they need to build an excellent employee experience that fulfills, rewards, and retains their top staff members.
5 tips to improve the employee experience and reduce turnover
While customers are ready to treat themselves to facials, massages, haircuts, and manicures again, the Great Resignation is threatening the beauty and wellness industry’s ability to keep up with renewed demand.
The spas and salons that can keep their existing employees and attract up-and-coming talent will be best positioned to reap the rewards of the growing $1.5 trillion wellness market. But that requires your business to have a culture in place that supports retention and employee wellness.
Happier providers are a win-win for everyone — they’re more likely to stay at your spa or salon longer, share your brand on their social media, and go above and beyond to help customers. If you’ve been suffering from provider attrition or simply a lack of morale, it’s time to consider new tactics in people management and better technology to support your team. By making the following changes, you can start to build a resignation-resistant employee experience:
Lead with purpose.
The first step in building a great work culture is having a clear, well-specified purpose. While this may sound simple, you’d be surprised how many businesses either fail to stand by — or even create — their mission statement.
Given the considerable amount of time spent at the average workplace, it’s human nature for people to want their work to bring meaning to their lives. Employees who feel a strong sense of purpose at work are 4x more likely to report better health, 6x more likely to want to stay at the company, and 1.5x more likely to go above and beyond to make their company successful, according to research from McKinsey.
Hone in on your spa or salon’s unique purpose and make sure it rings true for both the client and employee experience. For example, your mission statement may be to “make people feel good so they find their greatness.” Some great ways to back that purpose up include offering employees free beauty and mindfulness services or volunteering at charities with a similar purpose (like our Haircuts 4 Homeless initiative).
Incentivize, recognize, and reward.
Positive reinforcement is a great way to encourage your employees and achieve your business goals. Be transparent around what great performance looks like with your staff, then set goals and metrics around it.
Adding elements of fun and friendly competition is a great way to engage employees. For example, create monthly challenges to incentivize things like add-ons, rebookings, social media mentions, or 5-star reviews. Be sure to reward the winning employees with perks like employee of the month, a spotlight on your social media, or a one-time bonus. Adding a rewards system into daily interactions reminds and reinforces what good performance looks like, and how to achieve it.
Tracking employee performance doesn’t have to be time consuming or biased. There are many solutions (like an all-in-one spa and salon management platform or an employee performance tracking system) that can help you track performance against goals like revenue targets, customer satisfaction, retention rates, punctuality, rebookings, and retail sales. It can help you identify top performers, determine future training opportunities and be more transparent with staff.
Just a reminder: Every employee will be motivated by different things, so find ways to celebrate all types of good behavior.
Offer ongoing training opportunities.
Training shouldn’t only be limited to new staff — people of all ages and experiences benefit from learning and development (L&D) opportunities. The vast majority of employees (94%) say that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in helping them learn.
Encourage employees of all levels to develop new knowledge, skills, and techniques based on their areas of interest — whether it’s related to their craft (like the latest hair extension installation methods) or upskilling (like inventory management). Create opportunities for providers to learn from one another, either through one-on-one mentorship or company-wide workshops. This has the added benefit of strengthening peer connections between employees.
Also, consider online learning to augment peer-to-peer mentorship and make learning accessible whenever it's convenient for providers. Some spa and salon management software providers offer training courses on their platform and can help you easily embed L&D into your providers’ day-to-day. These investments in education don’t just support retention, they can also help increase long-term productivity and profitability.
Your staff likely joined the health and beauty industry to work with people, not deal with logistics or sitting through hours of downtime. The more you can empower your employees to do what they love — and eliminate what they don’t — the less likely you’ll lose them to a competitor.
AI and automation tools can reduce the time employees spend on things like sending appointment reminders, handling manual billing, and scheduling rebookings. Consider adopting an all-in-one spa and salon management platform that centralizes and streamlines payments, bookings, schedules, check-ins, marketing, and more.
These best-of-breed systems can help ensure your staff has a balanced workload so the work and the revenue are evenly distributed. If you’re short-staffed, it can optimize schedules so providers can see the greatest possible amount of customers. Conversely, as your staff roster fills up, AI and automation can fuel business growth by freeing up employees to focus on high-impact work, like engaging in marketing initiatives.
Help providers make more money.
Ultimately, we all have jobs to help pay the bills and fund our personal interests. Any way you can help your providers make more money will make a difference in retention. Even if you can’t raise hourly pay, there are other ways to help your employees make more tips and increase their average ticket price:
- Support customer retention: Encouraging repeat customers is key to helping providers make more money. That’s because the success rate of selling to a repeat customer is 60-70%, compared to only 5-20% when selling to a new customer. With an all-in-one spa and salon management platform, you can easily automate text messages or emails to remind customers if they’re overdue on certain services and if it’s time to book an appointment.
- Enable two-way communication: Providing an easy and convenient way for your guests and staff to communicate can help improve the customer experience and increase revenue. Technology like a customer app allows providers to message customers before and after their appointments to build relationships that support guest retention.
- Encourage gratuity: A digital payment system makes tipping easier for guests and more lucrative for providers. Not only do customers value the convenience of digital experiences, but they also tip higher amounts when presented with tipping percentages on the payment screen.
As you consider how to mitigate the realities of the Great Resignation and provide a meaningful employee experience, a word of advice: Put your team first. Just like in any industry, your providers want to make connections and grow both personally and professionally. With the right tools and people management practices in place, you can help your providers feel their best — and do even better
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