A business that doesn’t prepare its professionals for the future has no future. It is as simple as that. To succeed and then sustain that success, owners and managers must embrace, educate and evolve with their team. But many don’t. Many simply find a formula that works and then stick with it, expecting their teams to fall into line and deliver the goods, day in, day out.

Even the large salon and spa companies are guilty of complacency, but some are conscious of how necessary it is to shrug off this calcification. This May’s International SalonSpa Business Network (ISBN) conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, is all about this type of ‘Future-Proofing’.

But you can’t future-proof your business if you don’t first consider how to future-proof your people. Education is important but it’s not everything. When we began developing plans for the relocation of the Gene Juarez Salon and Spa in Bellevue last year, we put Millennials at the center – clients and team. And not just Millennials. We created a salon that will evolve so Generation Z and younger will thrive.

I’ll be talking about this in depth at the ISBN conference, touching on the elements necessary to keep your team onside and looking to the future. It will also be streamed live at 4 p.m. PST on https://salonspanetwork.org/annual-conference/isbn-2018-live/

Emotional engagement

Instead of tutting at the neediness or sense of entitlement of these younger people we need to consider ways to engage with them on an emotional level. Too often salons will invest in a cool motivational event without monitoring if it changed behaviors in any way. The professionals have a great time, but within days of returning to work they are back to their old ways. Habits are hard to break. So it’s crucial to seek out ways that will alter and sustain better approaches to their allotted tasks. Mentoring and in-salon coaching works well. It provides an opportunity for the instant feedback they crave and the correction they appreciate.

Allow them ownership

A major part of their education must focus on ensuring they understand the impact their personal output has on the business ­– that they will be financially and emotionally better off if they take ownership. They can be successful only if the salon is successful. But it is a two-way street. Millennials love taking ownership and will do so if salon owners and managers relinquish some control.  But we must make sure those younger than the Millennials, who are arriving in our salons now, are schooled to have the same independence and sense of responsibility.

Sort out their space

We have to look at our environments, at how they affect the service provider. If you want your best people to stay and thrive then you have to provide the best environment for them, not just your clients. Ergonomics must be considered at the design stage so they have adequate light, comfortable flooring and chairs that are easy to adjust. They must be protected from injury or unnecessary fatigue.

Talk to them on their level

Millennials were weaned on Facebook, while Generation Z wouldn’t give it a second glance. To communicate with our team and make sure they are engaged, growing and flourishing, we need to meet them on the channels they use. There is no point on insisting on a Facebook group if 50 percent of your team are not willing to sign up to it. It differs from salon to salon, so the best way forward is to discuss it with your team and agree on a specific channel.

Back it up

There’s nothing that breaks down resistance more than irrefutable proof and the way to impress upon your professionals that they need to change or improve is to show them the data. What seems like obstinacy to you may just be a fundamental lack of understanding from them. They simply might ‘not know what they don’t know’ and telling them won’t get through. If you can show them, and data allows you to do that, then you can break through their ignorance and set them on the right path to success.

ISBN will be streaming live for the whole conference on https://salonspanetwork.org/annual-conference/isbn-2018-live/

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