Business from the Heart: How Charity Helps Everyone

A business that actively supports charitable organizations gets payback way beyond any funds raised or time given. It creates customer goodwill, engagement and loyalty. But to consider it simply a PR exercise to make the company look good to customers, and possibly the press, means missing out on the true value of such activity. Any goodwill created among customers or positive publicity on social and in local press are nice benefits, absolutely, but the real value comes in the way giving back changes relationships and attitudes within the teams throughout the organization.

The beauty industry is full of individuals who enjoy engaging with their customers and helping them feel better about themselves. They can be incredibly kind and many are already doing their bit locally. Give them an opportunity to do a little bit more and to be part of an organization that has similar values, and they’ll embrace it with an enthusiasm that is humbling to see.

At Great Clips and on a personal level, creating opportunities where we give real aid and support to those facing greater challenges than we do simply to survive is part in our culture.

We have an elected group of franchisees who work with us on all our programs so everyone feels ownership of them. And at a local level we encourage our franchises to engage by giving them the choice of who they support and how they do that and we reward them when they do. Chicago supports The Ronald McDonald house, Charleston supports the Sarcoma Foundation, while others support various other charities throughout the system. To show how much we value this sort of work, we have a Community Award.

System-wide we support Children’s Miracle Network and, in partnership with PBA, the Cut it Out program, providing support and resources for victims of domestic abuse. We also have a Stylist Assistance Fund to provide financial support to Great Clips’ stylists who have been affected by national disasters, like Hurricanes Florence and Michael.

Creating a culture in which ‘good works’ are encouraged, recognized and rewarded helps build bonds between franchisee and head office, between franchisee and salon provider and between head office and salon. It gives an opportunity for everyone to meet beyond the salon or workplace, which engenders closer relationships, in turn encouraging loyalty to the brand. It helps build teamwork; removes people from the pressures of the workplace and into a fun atmosphere that makes them feel good about themselves and makes it easier to get to know one another better.

It also creates opportunities to build our people’s self-esteem and develop new skills beyond the chair or beauty room, both of which can have a positive impact on their service delivery and customer relationships. It can actively empower your managers and stylists.

For companies considering the leap into altruistic activities, the best advice is to start small and local. Set up systems to give company-wide recognition to local achievements. And once you do build towards system-wide activity, involve your locally based people so it doesn’t become an activity that is done to the salons, but rather, with them.

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Rhoda Olsen

Rhoda Olsen

Rhoda Olsen started with Great Clips in 1984 as a consultant, before becoming Vice-President of Human Resources and Training in 1987. She was soon also looking after marketing, communications, operations, and facilities and purchasing and in 1998 she was appointed President/Chief Operating Officer, making her fully accountable for the Great Clips organization. During Ms. Olsen’s tenure as President/COO, Great Clips grew from just over 1,000 salons in 1998 to more than 3,900, with revenues increasing four-fold from $200 million to just over a billion dollars. In 2011 Ms. Olsen was promoted to Chief Executive Officer of Great Clips, overseeing the largest salon brand, with locations in more than 180 markets across North America.

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