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8 Ways to Drive Employee Engagement

The term ‘engagement’ has gone from the holy grail of the marketing plan to a source of headaches for your management team. Getting any of your stakeholders to truly invest attention and precious time in your brand is crucial to becoming relevant to that person’s psyche and ultimately your business viability. That said, the percentage of US workers that stated they were engaged in their jobs has hovered around the 30% mark for the past several years. Let that sink in for a second – only 1 in 3 of your employees feels vested in your company. WHAT?!

Employee Engagement

Motivating your employees is one of the toughest parts of running a successful salon, but it’s also one of the most important things you can do. We all know that the atmosphere in your salon can make or break your client satisfaction rating and your Yelp! reviews can make or break your salon. So, in order to keep your clients coming back to you, it’s essential that you maintain a positive and welcoming environment at all times.

Your staff are at the core of your salon environment, and this business can be fast moving, stressful, and extremely competitive. So, if you want to maintain a positive atmosphere in the workplace, it’s crucial that your employees feel listened to and appreciated in their roles. If you fail to communicate with your employees it’s unlikely that they’ll communicate with you either. What they will do, however, is completely disengage from their roles and from your business, which begins the downward spiral of satisfaction levels amongst peers, clients and then…Yelp! So how do you promote employee engagement in your salon?

1. Find Out What They’re Really Thinking

You’re not a mind reader and no-one expects you to be. The only way to find out how your employees really feel about your business is to ask them in a way that encourages honesty. Ambushing them at 9am over morning coffee might get you some censored responses so if you aren’t already, introduce an anonymous employee engagement survey to help you identify trends across your group as well as highlight any potential issues in individual locations. Include questions that are relevant to your business, but also include the Net Promoter Score to help you gauge true workplace engagement.

Once you’ve identified the most prevalent issues for your staff members, it’s important that you act on resolving these ASAP. Leaving the survey results to gather dust for 6 months before you make any changes, is not the way to go.

2. Start At The Top

If your managers aren’t fully engaged and committed to the business, then the rest of your employees won’t be either. A 2015 study by Gallup revealed that “employees who are supervised by highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged than those supervised by actively disengaged managers.” This ‘cascade effect’ demonstrates the direct correlation that exists between disengaged managers and disengaged employees. In other words, one usually leads to the other.

Enthusiasm is catching and bad morale is contagious…so which one would you prefer to go viral in your business?

3. Training and Career Development

If you want your employees to be invested in your business, then you have to invest in them too. You really can’t underestimate the ‘feel good’ factor involved for an employee when you tell them that you want to invest in their future with your business. It boosts morale, drives loyalty, ambition, and ultimately – success. Whether it’s training into another skill area or moving up the career ladder, it’s imperative that you invest in the future of your employees and contribute to their professional development.

4. Always Recognize your Employees As Individuals

Various personalities will require individual management styles and you really won’t get the best out of your employees until your start to recognize this. The ‘one size fits all’ mantra just doesn’t work anymore, and I’m not sure it ever did. Invest time and attention in helping managers (and yourself) be able to identify communication styles and needs of each of their team members to help enhance the connection between employee and company.

5. Create a Positive, Motivational Culture

If you want to succeed in maintaining a positive working environment, you have to create a culture around that and there’s nothing like a bit of positive reinforcement to boost morale. When it comes to employee recognition, money really isn’t everything – and a simple pat on the back or a ‘well done’ can be incredibly motivating. Little things like a staff night out, or peer recognition, can also make all of the difference but if you have the budget and inclination you can go as far as a preferred parking spot for employee of the month or catered lunch for the top performing team or an annual retreat. Think about what makes your team tick and dangle the right ‘carrot.’

6. Transparency

By maintaining an open door policy within your organization, you’ll make it much easier for employees to express their concerns willingly. On the other side of things, it’s also important to be transparent with your internal business communications and the overall success of the business. This may even require a formal strategy to keep employees updated on how the business is performing (or underperforming for that matter). An epidemic of salon floor gossip about poor performance is not a situation you want on your hands, especially if there’s no actual rationale behind it!

7. Assess Your Benefits Package

As the majority of salon staff are contractors, they often don’t receive any kind of benefits package from their employer. However, in the Gallup employee engagement survey this year, 53% of workers cited the company benefit package as one of the most important elements of their role and also a reason for working for a larger company, like…ahem…a chain salon organization. Whether you decide to offer some paid leave to contractors or even just some added working incentives, it’s definitely something that’s typically attractive to the workforce in other industries and in a female-dominated industry, what makes us think we are any different?

8. Hire For A Cultural Fit

It doesn’t matter how skilled a salon worker is if they don’t fit in with the values of your organization. Soft skills count even more in our industry and they can often be a deal breaker when it comes to success in a new work environment. When hiring a new team member, always take time to consider how they would fit in with your current team members and your organization as a whole.

Agree/disagree with any of these ideas?

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