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Industry • Perspective

4 Ways Data Can Empower Staff & Create a Better Workplace

Use your data to help you analyze what’s working, increase productivity, and boost your ROI

I’ve been in the beauty industry my entire career, and I can attest that our workforce is changing rapidly. Tactics that worked just a few years ago aren’t enough to drive revenue and retain your brightest employees. The good news is you’ve got a secret weapon, and it’s right under your nose: Data. Leveraging sales reports, inventory reports, and stylist as well as customer feedback can help your business adapt to current trends, minimize expenses, and optimize profit streams, often making the difference between a successful salon and one that struggles to stay afloat. 

Data isn’t just a tool for generating revenue — it can empower staff to do their best work, keep teams happier, and ensure everyone reaps the rewards of a successful salon. Keep reading to learn how data can make your business more resilient and efficient.

Manage time to increase efficiency and productivity

“Work smarter not harder” isn’t a well-known maxim just because it rhymes. Numerous studies show that working longer hours decreases productivity and provides increasingly diminished returns. Yet many salons still hold to the idea that longer business hours translate to more revenue. Unless you have data that backs that up, you could be wasting valuable time, energy, and money on your slowest business hours, while overextending your employees beyond their limits.

Instead, take a closer look at your data to determine what your salon’s most productive hours are and adjust your scheduling approach accordingly. If the data show that Tuesday generally sees the fewest number of appointments, it might be worth closing down for the day to allow you and your staff a chance to recuperate while also saving you money on your utility bills. And there’s no point being open at 8 am or 8 pm if you’re not seeing clients. 

Once you’ve established better operating hours, it’s time to evaluate how you’re scheduling your stylists throughout the week. Burnout is real, but there are ways to mitigate this while maintaining profitability. Many businesses are experimenting with four-day work week schedules and finding great success with increased productivity and job satisfaction. Providing flexible hours to employees also increases loyalty, health, and overall quality of life while increasing retention rates.

These options won’t work for every salon, so make sure you’re taking a closer look at your most productive hours and decide the best way to focus your energy while reducing downtime elsewhere. The technology you use in your business should help you understand the productivity and utilization your salon is capable of, so make the most of it.

Be smart about expanding services

While it’s tempting to provide as many services as possible to your customers, introducing too many at once can place undue stress on your staff and increase overhead without providing a payoff for all that added work.

It’s important to look at how your time translates directly into sales. For example, base color treatments may not take as long to complete as a partial highlight, but the time spent on partial highlights may provide a greater ROI. With this information in mind, you can coach your team on which services are worth focusing on and adjust offerings accordingly.

You should also glance at how your team’s appointment schedule breaks down by service, so you can see just how complex your offerings are. Each service requires specialized training, implementation, and inventory management, and attempting to introduce too many new services all at once can overwhelm the staff. It’s best to focus on a core slate of services that your team enjoys providing while also generating a solid ROI foundation. Then, you can slowly introduce new treatments as needed to better appeal to your client base.

Reduce overhead and waste

Few things are more frustrating than running out of styling supplies when you need them most. That’s where inventory management software comes in to save the day.

By tracking inventory over time and across services, you can see how much of your inventory sits unsold or unused and for how long, allowing you to clear out old stock and freshen up your inventory with exciting new products.

Stylists are also showing increased concern for how beauty products and salon treatments are affecting the environment, and they want to know that their work can co-exist with a healthy, vibrant planet.  To help your team make an impact, integrate software like Vish into your inventory management workflow to reduce chemical waste, save money, and give your staff peace of mind.

Improve communication and generate feedback

Crunching numbers is great, but there’s no better way to improve morale and find out how things are going than actually talking to the people in the trenches doing the work. 

65% of employees want more feedback, and it’s important to foster an environment where you can give — and receive — constructive feedback to improve your level of service. Regularly scheduled one-on-ones with your stylists provide an opportunity to chat about life in and out of the salon,  any successes or blockers with their work, and find out how best to support them in their day-to-day lives.

When discussing quotas, it’s important to describe goals in concrete terms. This is where your data comes in extremely handy. If a stylist is $200 short of meeting their goals, don’t just say they need to increase sales by $200 — this number doesn’t mean anything on its own. Instead, look at what services your stylist has performed in the past, find out the work they enjoy doing and are successful at upselling, and suggest they focus more on those areas to improve. Recommending that a stylist perform two more blowouts a week provides a real goal with attainable results and is far more effective at generating positive outcomes than throwing out a dollar amount. 

Hard numbers won’t always tell you the whole story when working with your team, and it’s important to remember that solely focusing on data can dehumanize your relationships, especially within a heavily service-based industry. Instead, rely on data as a tool that fosters discussion, provides context, and delivers guideposts for achievable goals.

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