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MIKAL Salon & Spa Software

Ultimate Salon Software since 1982



Give your staff the WHY

Posted on October 22, 2019 at 10:15 AM

Do you tell your staff the ““why”” of the work?

As you know MIKAL is involved in the push for higher productivity and better communication using our software program as a major tool in getting this task accomplished, it’s disturbing how many salon/spa managers neglect the crucial task of creating the “why”. Most salon/spa managers are so concerned with instructing receptionists and stylists on how to do their jobs that they ignore the equally important questions of “why” the jobs need to get done, and for whom they are doing the work. If receptionists and stylists don’t understand the the “why” of what they do, it makes the work meaningless. If you are not using a weekly goal setting and feedback system it’s time to get it going! The “why” for you to set up the goal setting is that the average stylist or receptionist increases sales and performance up to 10% just by setting goals and getting regular feedback!

This lack of “why” is not just a problem for the Beauty Industry! For an idea of how dangerous this is to a salon/spa’s health, a recent Gallup study showed that 71% of workers are “not engaged.” When asked what caused them to disengage, the workers overwhelmingly cited the requirement to perform useless tasks. This begs the question, “why” are salon/spa managers assigning so many useless tasks? How many times do we hear ““why”” do I have to fill out the client information card, or ““why”” are you mad when I can’t get the new customer thank you mailing done one week? Or even more likely the tasks just don’t get done, or are only done when you ride the staff. This creates resistance and also wears you out as a manager.

It seems more likely that receptionists and stylists only think their work is useless. Creating the “why” is instrumental in giving receptionists and stylists a new perspective on how their work fits into the salon/spa as a whole. We need to take the time to give them the Big Picture at every opportunity.

The idea of creating the “why” for receptionists and stylists isn’t new, but the most popular method used to make workers feel invested and relevant to the operations of the salon/spa – profit sharing or quarterly bonuses or commissions for selling or doing certain activities – has been largely ineffectual. While profit sharing gives receptionists and stylists a legitimate ownership stake, they do little to show workers how they actually impact a salon/spa’s overall performance. Most receptionists and stylists perceive their profit sharing or year end bonus as kind of a lottery ticket over which they have no influence, while the actual performance of the organization is dictated by market swings, owner decisions, and other forces beyond their control. This feeling of irrelevance tends to increase in direct correlation to salon/spa growth, especially in larger salons/spas; in general, as the size of the salon/spa increases, workers’ sense of professional value decreases.


We need to get better as we get bigger or we lose the economy of scale and the personal involvement customers are looking for in a salon/spa. How many times do you see a nice salon/spa expand and then lose staff (because they fail to create the ““why””;) and then start to lose customers because the personal service and involvement are not there any longer!

For owners and senior salon/spa managers who are making strategic decisions, the need to create the “why” for their team takes on an even higher level of importance. Most salon/spa owners are many levels removed from front desk and service providing types of customer interaction. Instead, customer feedback comes in the form of reports and research. Tapping into the experiences of receptionists and stylists who interact with customers can provide a valuable new source of information in the decision making process. Consider a general trying to gather information from the battlefield. Would he be able to make informed strategic decisions if his forward units didn’t understand the importance of their role? And how effective would those units be if they didn’t understand their mission? The same conditions apply to salon/spa owners and leaders. Low level “troops” who clearly understand their role and mission will always be able to provide better feedback to senior leaders in charge of major decisions.

When a salon/spa is small, for workers the “why” exists naturally. It should be obvious how much individual contributions matter in an organization of five or ten people. The problems is growing salons/spas almost always reach a tipping point when the team environment evolves into a salon/spa owners and managers version of the TV show The Office. Staff feels disconnected to management and management feels frustrated because the staff doesn’t get it. Salon/spa managers and owners skilled at providing staff the “why” can help stave off this tipping point. You may be beyond this point and your staff has a good grasp of the “why” of the tasks they need to perform. That means your communication lines are good and you are using the ODM model Open Door Management!

Now for the next step. If your salon/spa has already passed this stage, one of the most powerful trends in management and a fantastic tool for producing employee involvement is Open Book Management (OBM). In a nutshell, OBM does away with all confidentiality in regard to salon/spa finances. By showing receptionists and stylists where the salon/spa stands, its financial health, how key numbers and ratios affect profitability and revenue, and perhaps most importantly explaining to receptionists and stylists how their pay is affected by all of the above, OBM does a far better job at involving receptionists and stylists and giving them job the “why” than simply handing out a bonus plan or profit sharing program!

OBM – Open Book Management gives ratios to the staff that MIKAL can provide for you. An example is New Customer Retention. “Why” is it important to prebook new customers before they leave your salon/spa? Because right now most salons and spas only keep 30% of new customers for a follow up visit in the next 90 days. If the salon/spa can double that number using the MIKAL New Customer Welcome Book and Preceptionist ReBooking Strategies the net profit in the salon/spa will increase from 2 to 5 percent! Now the stylists and receptionist know why you get crazy every time a new customer is allowed to wander out the door without being asked to rebook. Remember the 10% sales increase I mentioned at the beginning of the article? That is the “why” you would share with staff to motivate them to set goals and review the evaluation reports.

Another reason for practicing Open Book Management is that the majority of our stylists and receptionists have no concept as to what it costs to run a salon/spa. One owner we work with books a half hour with a different employee each week (and pays them) and has them assist with printing checks and making payments to vendors. The employees are amazed at how much it costs to run a salon/spa!

For salons/spas unwilling to make the jump to OBM – Open Book Management, or salon/spa managers working within a larger organization, the first step to forming the “why” for your stylists and receptionists is to understand all of the work and information flow affecting members of your team. Only when a manager understands all of the interactions between her receptionists and stylists, clients, vendors and other departments, can she show her receptionists and stylists how their work fits into the overall structure of the salon/spa. It is important to know that everyone in an organization has a customer. Your customer is whoever receives your work output, and for most receptionists and managers their customer is not the end customer but rather another person within the salon/spa. This way of thinking should reveal each employee’s relevance as well as uncover meaningless work. Salon/spa managers should understand and be able to explain to their receptionists and stylists how their jobs add value and “why” particular tasks are required. If an employee is performing tasks that are not needed by someone else in the salon/spa or by the end customer, those tasks should be eliminated. At the same time as soon as a staff member stops being serviced by another staff member (like the receptionist stops providing daily appointment schedules to the stylists) the staff member needs to notify management. In this way the system becomes self policing. As a manager or owner, you will have transcended the mindless commands of telling them how to do their jobs and shown them “why”, and for whom those jobs get done.


Categories: Staffing and Compensation Ideas

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