In continuation of the summer series on core business processes, we have come to one of the most essential and sometimes least understood subjects within the realm: personnel. Scaling the growth and adaptability of personnel policies with the growth of the business is as important as making sure you have effective pricing models and desirable services.
As a small business owner, it’s important to know what you DON’T know; the climate for employers is changing rapidly and is victim to the volatile nature of politics, and it may be necessary to rely on outside expertise to ensure ongoing compliance with regulatory changes and implementation. Most importantly, FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL – this includes the policies, workplace culture and leadership style that guides your personnel through their day-to-day experiences in your business. Remember that your salon staff will interact with far more customers than you’ll ever have the opportunity to meet, so you must create a culture and policy structure to reinforce your brand standards and company vision.
Policies: Whether you are a boutique salon or a franchise model, it is the implementation of fair and enforceable employee policies that helps maintain order among staff over time. These policies need to be updated yearly and redistributed to employees. Not sure where to start? Go to the U.S. Small Business Administration website for a guide at sba.gov.
Company Culture: Retaining good employees and the environment your salon guests experience is primarily controlled by your organizational culture. Company Culture is harder to define than an employee handbook or list of procedures and has come to mean the full embodiment of the following: “Company vision, values, practices, people, narrative and place.” In an industry and workplace that can be plagued with high turnover, creating an exceptional culture is likely to have a large impact on retention and your bottom line. Training a new employee is not only expensive, but will also usually cost more than keeping a good one. Be a business that people want to work for, ensuring that management through policy enforcement is for the outliers.
Leadership Style: while there is an enormous amount of info out there about the kind of leader it takes to run a business, we are talking specifically about the kind it takes to manage people. For some, this is the hardest part of the equation, as people rarely fit neatly into organizational bins and require an additional skill set from leaders to help them ascend to their fullest potential.
One of the most indispensable qualities in a leader of people is Emotional Intelligence, a phrase originally coined in 1996. Emotional Intelligence is now considered to be the missing link between IQ and performance, or between those who are simply smart and those who are dynamic; it is an ability to be self-aware and aware of others. In the workplace and among employees, it looks a lot like empathy and an appreciation for diverse skill sets, and it’s a topic worth investing in.
While tomes of information could be written about each topic mentioned here, the purpose is to give a springboard for those seeking information, process improvement or a little inspiration; paired with a resource, not just an opinion. Your staff is your most valuable asset. They represent you and an asset you’ve invested in – so, taking the time to create systems for their retention and improvement should be a top priority.
Taking the time to create systems for staff retention and improvement should be a top priority.