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#nofilter: How to Build a Salon Culture That Lives Up to Your Instagram Reality

Here’s how to make sure your salon doesn’t have an Instagram-versus-reality issue.

In modern-day times, it’s easy to slap a filter on something and make it look far different than it really is. We’ve all done it. On those days where you can’t be bothered to put on makeup but still need to make an appearance on Instagram stories, filters swoop in and save the day. 

When it comes to your salon, you want your Instagram to reflect reality, so that both your clients and your staff don’t find their expectations crushed as soon as they walk through the door. Creating a culture that’s more than a veneer also goes beyond social media. Many salon owners struggle to build a culture that can be scaled across multiple locations. Here are some tips for creating a perfectly-curated culture IRL.

Building a #nofilter salon culture

Your Instagram may get clients in the door thanks to the virtual vibe that you’ve created. But culture has deep roots — and major effects on staff retention. We recommend you focus on behind-the-scenes culture first and create some authentic good vibes with your employees. Your clients will notice the difference (trust us).

Don’t play favorites

Scheduling your salon employees can be much more of a challenge than it gets credit for. It takes a lot of effort to coordinate who is available on what days, and the times that they’re able to work. However, things get even more complicated when you try to give every employee a fair chance at getting equal shifts. But this extra effort is necessary. Playing favorites is a one-way ticket to bad salon culture. 

Despite how difficult the scheduling part of owning a salon can be, it is vital that you nail it down because shift issues are a major turn-off. Mess this one up too much and your employees may leave you high and dry.

Embrace transparency — and ask for feedback

Don’t just assume that silence from your staff means that everything is hunky-dory. It may be that they aren’t sure how to approach you with issues. So, it is up to you to present opportunities for them to let you know if something is wrong. A great way to do this is with regular check-ins. 

Team meetings are a strong place to start in creating a salon culture where your employees feel like they are part of the bigger picture of the salon, rather than just worker bees. Schedule these team meetings regularly (not just when drama pops up). Take things a step further and do one-on-one check-ins with your employees as well. This provides an even safer space for your employees to mention if something is up, especially if it has to do with a coworker. 

During these team and one-on-one check-ins, play the role of the salon cheerleader and boost your employees’ confidence and morale by highlighting the positives that are taking place in the salon. Don’t focus just on the negative. Positivity is a big part of salon culture that you perfect for Instagram — make the effort to do it for reality, too.

Set the right expectations

What does your ideal salon culture look like? Take some time to think about this, and then communicate those expectations to your employees. If it means going above and beyond for the customer (which it should), then paint a picture of what that looks like. Do you greet regulars by name at the door? Do you offer them a beverage? Should stylists give custom product recommendations at every visit? This consideration is key if you are expanding to another location. It’s common for clients to feel that the experience of salon #2 doesn’t hold up.

Whatever your expectations are, make them very clear. Your staff can’t exceed expectations if they don’t know what yardstick you’re using.

Invest in people first

No, we are not talking about investing in your salon (though that is important, too). We are talking about investing in your employees.

You can do this by supporting them in continued education, by providing a much-needed assistant, or even funding them on their own path to opening a salon. Whether your investment is monetary or simply encouragement, it is in your best interest to provide a salon culture where you support your employees and their growth. Put simply: The more value your employees feel they get from your salon, the happier they will be, and the longer they’ll stay your employees. 

Nothing in real life can ever be quite as perfect as it looks on Instagram, but with thought and effort, your salon culture can come pretty darn close.

Boulevard was built to help your business achieve profitability at scale without losing an inch of sanity. See for yourself! Get a free demo today.

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