EducationEmployee ManagementLeadership

Getting the Right People is Only the Beginning

Possibly the greatest challenge facing the industry is the recruitment and retention of staff. But for some companies, such as Design 1 Salon Spa in Michigan, it is less of a problem. Next Generation council member Graham Walt, Director of Salon Development & Education of Design 1, shares what he believes are the ten top reasons Design 1 Salon Spa has had an enviable team retention level of 90% over the past five years.

Here are his tips for keeping the love going in the salon:

  1. From the minute an individual joins the company, we talk about it being a job for life. We don’t treat them as if they are just cogs in the wheel, but rather we show them how essential they are to the business.
  2. We provide great staff benefits.
  3. Our service providers are on commission, with clear goals to work towards. Once achieved, milestones met will push up their commission level. They can charge more and can then earn more. It ensures that they are motivated to keep pushing rather than staying stagnate.
  4. The door is always open at management level – we have a culture where the team is encouraged to talk to their managers about any concerns and if the issue can’t be resolved then they can approach the senior management.
  5. We give our managers a lot of training so they are the best they can be. Bad managers can kill a business.
  6. Our leadership program is open to all. If someone has ambition we will nurture it.
  7. A good environment has a huge impact on staff morale. We refresh our interiors every year and every four to five years we go through a full remodel to keep the salons fresh and beautiful, and that includes the team areas. We want our team to enjoy their environment.
  8. We aren’t super-controlling. We set standards and expect all to follow, but we don’t micro-manage. Our teams can have their favorite bit of kit. Our only stipulation is that it is black.
  9. Group training brings the whole team together and encourages a family culture across all of our locations. Our staff is proud to be part of Design 1.

We never shut the door on good staff if they leave correctly. The majority of our team join us straight from beauty school and sometimes they want to go out and explore the industry, and that’s fine. As they leave we tell them they are welcome back any time and we find they do come back to tell the others how much better it is working for Design 1. They are our best PR.

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Graham Walt has deep roots in the salon industry. He was a sales consultant for Salon Centric for 8 years and received awards for top overall sales in Redken and Pureology along with becoming a Million dollar sales rep 7 out of his 8 years. Graham’s parents, Larry & Lisa Walt, are the owners of five of the most successful salon and day spas in the Midwest. His wife, Anna was also born into the salon industry and has been a hairdresser for 15 years. In 2015, Graham joined the family business, Design 1 Salon and Day Spa and is now the Director of Salon Development & Education. In addition to his responsibilities at Design 1, in February 2017, Graham & Anna opened their own business, Unite Salon Suites, in Portage, Michigan.

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