Salon Mutiny & Staff Desertion

In the salon and spa industry, there is no tale of injustice and betrayal more hurtful and offensive to owners than that of the disgruntled employee who opens up his/her own shop across the street, pilfering other staff members and your long-standing clientele.

Salon owners know the story all too well; you hire an employee straight from beauty school, spend years taking them through your in-house training program, invest heavily in their education and professional development and then once they have become a seasoned service provider, watch remorsefully as your investment walks out the door! So what went wrong?

Although the tendency is to place the blame squarely on your ex-employee’s character flaws (ungrateful, conniving, egotistical, etc.), the pattern is destined to repeat itself until you take the time to determine the real aspirations of your rising stars and then assist them to draw-up a long term growth plan that includes you in the picture.

Making yourself a vital part of the dreams and goals of your staff is no easy feat. You may want to start by helping your employees to get to know themselves better by investing in a Personality portrait or Psychometric profile such as Lumina Spark or Lumina Leader. Together you will discover how to communicate better and how to create a path for personal growth and career advancement. Having a clear idea of where your staff see themselves in the distant future means fewer surprises and greater staff retention.

To further ensure that your high performers do not stray, consider offering them the opportunity to become partners in your business by gradually buying shares. After a few years as a partner, should they want to venture out on their own, you have the perfect solution: form a new partnership, buy back some of your shares, and then invest together (along with 1 or 2 other associates) in opening up a new location.

There are several reasons to consider this type of venture. For many salon/spa owners their business serves as their retirement plan, but without them in the business their salon/spa has little value and will most likely sell for far less than what they had imagined or hoped for. For most salons, their assessed value is equal to the last 3 months of revenue, minus the salon owner’s chair income for that same period, plus the residual value (if any) of equipment, stock and renovations. Sadly, this often doesn’t add up to a very sweet retirement package. In addition, when you are ready to sell your business to staff members, they seldom have the resources to buy a place outright. Then, once they sense that their ship has sailed or may be slowly sinking, they jump ship like rats in a shipwreck.

The main reason to consider a partnership scenario is that business partners are automatically more involved, more determined to make the business a success and more motivated to participate in the growth and development of all new employees. Law firms are a perfect example of this business structure. You start out as an intern, then slowly move through the ranks as a staff member, associate, junior partner, senior partner and finally end up sitting on the board of directors. Senior partners can move to new cities to setup other branches or create entirely new legal specialties within the firm.

So, how do you go about setting up a partnership scenario? First, clean up your act, create a proper business structure, declare a profit and set up a strong business plan. Second, analyse all your staff member’s aspirations and talk to them both as a group and individually to present this new opportunity. Third, set up a proper business structure with partnership agreements, responsibilities and liabilities in case of non-respect or lack of performance. Finally, find professionals to help you put the plan in motion and change your life for the better.
Alain Audet is the president of Solnyx Consultants Inc., a business development consulting firm that specializes in retail planning, merchandising and education for the fashion and beauty industries.

See more from Alain Audet & Solnyx Consultants Inc:
Twitter:      @solnyx

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