Every salon has a unique culture with a salon’s structure likened to the body and the culture its soul. In a strong culture, members agree upon and care deeply about the salon’s values. A strong culture creates shared goals, better communication, harmony and efficiency. Whether you’re an owner who wants to create a winning culture, or a stylist looking for the right cultural fit, here are some important tips.
Put it in writing. To be successful, your cultural ethos should be clearly defined. You could include it in your employee manual, on your website, post it on the wall of your salon or all the above. According to Darren Mangus, senior vice-president of People, Heart and Culture for Ratner Companies, your cultural statement should address how everyone in your organization communicates, thinks and acts.
Be selective. Not every culture is for everyone. And trying to fit into a culture that doesn’t align with your own values rarely works. Same goes for hiring. Understand there is no right or wrong, it’s just a matter of making sure the stylists you hire are comfortable with your values. “Our culture is goal driven,” says Stacey Hodges, co-owner of four Salon Disegno locations in Georgia.
“We celebrate financial success. That may not be right for everyone and that’s ok.”
Make no exceptions. It starts at the top, and everyone must embody the salon’s cultural values. If one person is the exception, the culture begins to crumble. So even if you’ve hired family or friends, it’s important for everyone to measure up to your cultural standards at all times.
Live your culture. It’s easy to come up with the words and even put them into a manual or PowerPoint, but if you don’t live up to your cultural values IRL, what’s the point? From the top down, it’s important to walk the talk and demonstrate how to live the corporate culture every day. For many salons, that means frequently measuring and celebrating cultural wins. It can also be a benchmark for new employees. For example, after 45 days, new employees at Signature Salon in Lake Charles, LA are evaluated by their colleagues to determine if the salon’s core cultural values are being exhibited by the new hire. Only after everyone signs off is the employee welcomed permanently to the team.
Many say culture is a feeling. It impacts how staff feels about the salon, as well as how clients feel when they’re in the salon. A strong culture can make all the difference between a joyful workplace and one that’s filled with strife. So it’s worth making it a priority to develop a culture, or to choose to work in a culture, that mirrors the best of you.
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