Industry • Perspective
The Evolving Role of Technology in Salon Education
Dec.21,2022By Shanalie Wijesinghe
Investing in the right tech will give you the time and resources you need to help your staff flourish
When you work in a people-centric industry like beauty, it’s easy to let tech fall by the wayside. It’s just software, right? All it does is accept payments and manage schedules; how much should you really worry about it?
Whether you realize it or not, the role of tech within the beauty industry has changed over the past few years. Now, tech forms a core component of a stylist’s continuing education. These tools enable teams to stay on top of trends, help manage their time, and improve productivity in ways that allow salons to retain top talent while also making training up new staff even easier.
Read on to discover how social media is transforming the way stylists educate themselves and how investing in the right tech can free up time in your day so you can help your team improve and grow.
Stylists are learning through social media — so embrace it
Platforms like YouTube have completely blown the doors wide open for anyone interested in learning beauty and styling fundamentals.
There was a time when you’d have to join a strict apprenticeship program to gather the skills necessary to start taking clients, all while barely making above minimum wage. And that path still works for some people, but those with families or low-income individuals can’t afford to drop everything and dedicate time or resources they don’t have to these programs.
Instead, they’re turning to YouTube and watching videos to learn the latest techniques. They’re following influencers and stylists on Instagram and TikTok to keep up with trends. They’re rapidly learning skills in ways that make the most sense to them.
So embrace it. Encourage staff to share their favorite videos or stylists and what they admire about them. Discuss the latest trends everyone sees across social media, so you can prepare your team if a client requests it. Grab a GoPro camera and record your own videos performing these techniques so stylists can get a first-hand view of what they look like. That way, you’ll be able to let current staff study on their downtime while building a training program for new team members.
Make your workday as chill as possible
You’ve got a million things going on in your day — you cannot possibly keep track of everything or talk to everyone who needs your attention. You need to automate the menial, everyday tasks so you can focus on training and retaining staff.
Your phone probably has a half-dozen apps built in that can help you manage busy schedules, set reminders, and compile notes. There’s always Google Calendar to help you stay on top of important dates — even staff birthdays. Relying on these tools to keep running logs of staff discussions, concerns, and areas for improvement will help you manage staff growth and improve team accountability. For example, you could use your Notes app to write down some info from the one-on-one with a stylist who hasn’t been hitting targets, then set reminders within your calendar to remind you to check in and see if the issue has improved.
Then there’s your management software. If you’re regularly fighting with it or coming up with three-step workarounds to do simple tasks, that’s perpetuating wasted time you could be spending with staff. Evaluate your processes at least once a year. If your systems aren’t providing value — or getting the value out of them takes too much work — it’s time to look for something that makes your life easier, not harder.
Tech is an investment, not an expense
It’s easy to look at the tech you’re using to run your business as a necessary expense, something as mundane as keeping the lights on. Instead, you should reframe your thinking to see these tools as an investment that can help your staff — and your overall business — grow.
One of the most important things you can do for your salon is to put your current management software in the hot seat and ask what the return on investment is, both in terms of revenue and time. How much faster can someone learn how to use it? Can it help you automate scheduling? Can you combine multiple necessary services — payment processing, client management, marketing, etc. — into a single platform so you only need to deal with one vendor for support? A platform capable of increasing bookings and productivity is better than one that can only do one or the other.
Remember: Training goes beyond just showing people how to do things. Simply having the time to be present, embedded on the floor with your stylists, and available to chat goes a long way toward building the skills and confidence needed to succeed. The more your tech can do for you, the more time you’ll have to focus on making your team the best it can be.
Finding the right tech stack to support your growth goals can make or break your business. Don't worry, our Building Your Beauty Tech Stack Guide is here to help! Get your free copy now