4 Steps to Creating a Salon Culture

Photo by MilanMarkovic/iStock/Getty Images Plus

“Culture” has officially become the new business buzzword in the salon industry, and rightfully so. The more defined and disciplined your culture is, the better your salon performs across the Four Business Outcomes:

  1. Productivity
  2. Profitability
  3. Staff Retention
  4. Customer Loyalty

Here is a four-step plan to create the culture you’ve always wanted in your salon:

  1. Define it: Define exactly what and how you want your culture to look and function in each of the Four Business Outcomes. For example, define the thinking and behaviors you want all employees to share in the Productivity Outcome. It can be getting to work on time for daily huddle, working within service time standards and rebook all clients. To drive productivity rate, it can be all employees taking responsibility for every hour the salon has available for sale. Key: Once you define the gap, the next step is to design and build the bridge to cross it. Just remember, it took years for the gap to evolve and it's going to take time to build a culture capable of closing it.
  1. Commit to it: This is where too many owners freeze. You know what you don’t like and want in your salon. You know it needs to change. But you also know that change is tough and pushes everyone out of their comfort zones. We see this all the time in coaching where owners are handed the solution and allow their fears to get in the way. It’s no different than an obese person starting a diet and workout program where the journey to better health is a long and daunting one. Key: Leaders must always commit to change first. If you truly want that culture you’ve always dreamed of having in your company, commit 100 percent to the process. Committing 90 percent leaves you ten percent wiggle room to quit.
  1. Lead it: To effectively lead your company’s shift to the right culture, you will need to allocate sufficient time to lead. I was having a coaching conversation with an owner on this very subject who was planning on devoting one day a week to leadership. That’s eight hours out of an entire week’s operating hours for leadership in a salon/spa doing $1.6 million in revenue. It’s impossible to deliver the attention to detail, training and one-on-one coaching in a business that size in eight hours a week. The culture shift is doomed before it starts. My instructions were simple; “If you truly want to get your culture right, your focus must be 90+ percent on leading your team to a better place.” Key: Most salon owners massively underestimate their leadership role and responsibilities. Creating the right culture is the product of leadership.
  1. Be accountable to it: The most often asked question in the history of leadership is, “How many times do you have to tell them?” And the answer is always, “Until they get it and it sticks.” Accountability keeps your commitment in check. Accountability to achieving the right culture and taking your team to a better place delivers a powerful message to your team that says, “We are going the distance.” It also communicates that you will make the necessary and tough decisions to get there. Key: Accountability is not a bad word. In fact, being accountable to what you believe builds respect and trust in you as a leader. Accountability also means fairness that everyone will be held to the same rules and standards.