Is the employee-based salon model still viable?
Talent Match

Talent Match

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As we enter into the spring of 2022 the conversation I’m having with a lot of salons owners can be drilled down to one specific question. 

“Is the employee-based salon model still viable?”

This is something that everyone who owns a business in professional beauty has wondered about at some point in the last few years.

The past year in particular has been a catalyst for changes that were already occurring. In many cases, we were ignoring the changes or digging our heels in and refusing to acknowledge them. In other cases, we saw them coming and we just didn’t know what to do about them, so we didn’t act. 

Unfortunately, failing to act or living in denial hasn’t made them go away. What it has done though, is left many salon leaders feeling overwhelmed and unprepared for the seemingly sudden change in talent acquisition. 

Over the last year, salons have faced what I call the Great Beauty Boom.

We have more clients than talent to serve them, many salons lost their most experienced staff, and the new talent portal seems to be dry.

While all of these things are overwhelming and very real, I still believe with strong conviction that the answer to the question is YES. We can still build and grow strong and sustainable businesses in beauty that employ staff. 

Change is inevitable – but the businesses that choose to embrace changes can have a successful and very viable business in the future. 

From cross analyzing the research conducted by Talent Match, mulling over hundreds of conversations with salon owners, and considering my own personal experiences as a salon owner I have a few bits of logic to support my answer.

First is that today’s talent cares the most about the people. 

They come for the people, and they leave because of the people. They also leave because they feel like the things they want aren’t possible in our team-based businesses. 

We have to make them possible – and salons around the country have and are making them possible. Now we have to start TELLING THE STORY that they are. 

Our talent pool believes they are not because for so many years they weren’t. 

If we want to change their expectations and behaviors, then we have to: 

  1. Show up differently
  2. Tell the world we are showing up differently
  3. Continue to evolve and be different

You would never expect your clients to know you started offering extensions if you didn’t advertise it. 

Why do we expect our talent pool to know that we have evolved and changed if we don’t advertise it? 

As an industry, I believe I can make the general statement that we are people lovers. We love to care for and serve people. 

Our team is no different. We love to serve them but right now we are frustrated with them because we feel out of control, and we feel like our businesses are suffering. But you know how to and are capable of being the solution. 

Show up as you are, tell your story, get serious about courting and recruiting your ideal talent, and then be who you said you were. Add in a healthy dose of, “I’m always willing to evolve” and you will build and keep an amazing team. 

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