As your salon enterprise grows, it's vital to cultivate a scalable work culture that sustains its values across multiple locations. Put another way, can your culture be replicated without you? As the owner, your unique stamp is on every aspect of your business — but you can’t be everywhere. Here’s how to create a salon culture that can grow beyond your personal reach.
Industry • Best Practice
Is Your Salon Work Culture Scalable?
If your business just isn’t the same without you, it can never realize its full potential.
Identify your salon’s culture
Before you consider whether or not your salon culture can scale, clearly define what your salon culture is. Ideas like “respect” or “glamor” are admirable, but open to too much interpretation to scale effectively. Remember, you won’t be present to lead by example, so make the tenets of your culture easy enough to understand on their own.
Think about observable behaviors that exemplify what your salon is all about. For example, “respect” might mean always showing up on time, giving everyone time to speak, or keeping stations clean. Learning new techniques or skills might be the best illustration of “curiosity.” Start with a list of your salon’s values, then assign specific actions to those values. The goal is that someone who’s never set foot in your salon would immediately know what you meant. This precise level of specificity is a key component of scalable culture.
Support your managers
Your management team works as your on-site proxy and should represent your salon’s culture the same way you would. Taking the time to get to know managers personally and educating them on your way of thinking is ideal but impractical if your enterprise is experiencing dramatic growth. The next best solution is to give them the tools they need to internalize your salon’s culture.
That list of values and behaviors you made is a great start, but you’ll need a way to follow up on it. Schedule regular check-ins with your newest managers to determine if they’re supporting your salon’s values. If they are, give them recognition! Immediate, personal, and authentic appreciation is the easiest way to reinforce your cultural values in a way that sticks. Remind them to do the same in whatever way makes the most sense for their team.
Create a library of examples
It’s possible to combine staff recognition with ongoing education by creating an online library of success stories. Encourage staff to call out sterling examples of each other walking the walk when it comes to your salon’s culture. It doesn’t have to be fancy or professionally prepared. An email or low-fi video where a stylist explains how her manager demonstrated one of your salon’s core values will go much further towards helping new employees understand your culture than any handbook you could create. Reward your salon’s staff both for displaying the behavior and for recognizing it, and you’ll create a feedback loop in service of maintaining your salon’s culture.
The secret to a scalable culture is consistency. Present staff with clear expectations, hold them accountable, and offer recognition when they perform well. If you do so in a way that’s reliable, predictable, and repeatable, you’ll create a salon culture that thrives without your direct involvement.