The desire for flexibility was perhaps the first big obstacle that salons owners had to contend with when they reopened their doors after the 2020 closures. Not only was it mandated due to government restrictions but the entire beauty workforce seemed to return to work with a desire to work just a little less.
Here we are years later and we’re still struggling to understand how to accommodate this desire in a way that feels good for all and works for the salon business.
I work with many salon owners who felt like they should just say “yes” to everything and in many cases did.
I work with many salon owners who felt resistant to the workforces flexibility expectations and held their ground on required schedules.
And I work with many who feel this desire to change something but who feel incredibly overwhelmed with how to achieve the feel good and business results.
The truth is flexibility is not easy to solve until you solve your staffing problem. If you are going to be flexible you are going to have to hire more stylists. In the “old” way of doing business, business owners gave employees the schedule and said “this is when you have to work”. In today’s world we have one big barrier against us that makes operating in that capacity a problem for your salon business.
The workforce has more choices than ever and they don’t need you like you need them.
At Talent Match we never advocate for just saying yes or for holding to old habits and saying no. Instead we believe it’s important to look at your business and create a solid plan that enables you to say yes to some things, establish expectations for others, and say no to what doesn’t work.
However if you are a salon who is struggling to figure out flexibility the answer lies in 4 steps.
- Have a conversation with each team member about their growth and compensation goals. Learn about what their ideal schedule looks like and how it would make them feel to have the flexibility to create their own work/life balance.
- Bring data, insights, and your expertise as a leader to the conversation and help them see the possibilities and pitfalls of their ideal schedule and how it measures up against their goals. Lead the conversation and show up as the expert you are in salon business.
- Give the employees as much autonomy as you possibly can in making their choice once you have shared the information with them.
- Review your hours open against your current utilization and make a plan to hire against the needs you have.
The biggest shift flexibility has brought us is the need to staff for the business needs while accommodating your staff’s needs instead of staffing for the business needs while accommodating your needs. Doing this requires a different approach to leading and a tried and true process for recruiting.
The best news is that when you do these steps you build credibility and respect for your team and increase the likelihood of retaining top talent for longer. Your ability to meet them where they are and accommodate their needs matters to them and they’ll pay you back with their loyalty.