John Harms on Employee Retention Problems

Employee Retention Problems? Build a Foundation of Trust.

Many times I hear people say they have a great culture in their salon. “Employees love working here.” “Clients love coming back.” Yet, you still find employee retention issues. Staff turnover is common and costly to a salon. The root of employee longevity and culture is trust.

What is the level of trust you have in your salon?


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“My employees trust me!”

“My staff trusts each other!”

“My front desk staff and service providers understand and trust each other!”

Most times these statements are not true. You may THINK your staff trusts you, but until you sit down and have the conversation, you may never know for sure. To uncover the level of trust in your salon, start by creating an anonymous survey asking questions that help determine if your staff truly trusts in you and your leadership. Make sure you ask this question, in addition to the obvious question of, “Do you trust me?”

“Do you feel others in our company trust the owners (or managers)?”

Interestingly enough, on a scale of 1 to 10, you may receive 9.5 out of 10 (10 being the highest level of trust) on the question, “Do you trust me?” However, when you give your staff the opportunity to answer for ‘someone else’ with the question, “Do you think others trust me?”  ou may find the level of trust to be lower. Regardless of the overall score, implementing a trust survey will provide the opportunity to work with your team and instill the importance of trust, while learning how to build trust with your management team and staff.

Be Transparent.

The best way to build trust is through transparency. Begin with why you want certain things done. You want your employees to feel as if they are part of the process and to understand the overall purpose. Why are you going to implement changes in your business? Communicate the reason to your team. Here’s the real problem: when you are unclear with your intent, your staff may create their own reasoning, which could lead to skepticism and negativity. Explaining to your staff why a 50 percent rebook for services is important will help motivate them to reach that goal. A strong foundation is built on culture and trust, as well as a team that feels confident to upsell, cross-sell, rebook, and aid in the growth of your business.    

Build this foundation of trust so that you can implement the strategies necessary to grow your business without your staff second-guessing your intentions. When implementing price changes, new product lines, new services, or any change in your business, make sure you begin with WHY and clearly state your intent and the positive effects it will have on your staff.

Continuously Evaluate.

Lastly, while I know Millennium has an amazing culture, as it is frequently commented on, I also know when you are continuously hiring, culture can start to erode. At Millennium, we recently implemented a Culture Committee, whose job is to ensure all new hires understand our ethics, character, and culture. Management is also trained on these standards of how employees should be treated. It is important to create cultural consistency with a foundation of trust. Anyone can say there is a high level of trust within their business, but you must go beyond thinking it exists to continuously building upon it.  

John Harms
Millennium Systems International, Founder and CEO

About: John Harms, Founder & CEO of Millennium Systems International, creator of Millennium Software, has been designing industry leading salon scheduling software and educating the beauty & wellness industry since 1987. Today Millennium is utilized in thousands of businesses in over 38 countries and operating with approximately 150+ employees worldwide.  Millennium currently runs its corporate headquarters out of New Jersey and its international office is based in the U.K.