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In the indoor tanning industry, pretty much everyone has the same feeling about the hiring and training process: it’s a necessary evil that becomes a never-ending cycle. We advertise for employees, interview candidates (usually at least twice), check references, and extend an offer of employment. At any point, up until now, something could have gone wrong. A reference could have come back with negative comments about the prospect, the compensation might not have been what they required – but, those things didn’t happen. We think we have the ideal person for the position and bring them in for training, anticipating that, in a few days/weeks, we’ll have a competent new team member. Ever felt this way, only to find out that, after training, they weren’t the person you thought you hired? What happened in between the hiring process and adding them to the schedule? One thing: training.
One of the most important pieces in successfully adding staff members to the team, training is perhaps the most overlooked, potentially outdated, and most rushed-through piece of this process. What will the employee learn during their training? The salon’s policies and procedures, information about the equipment, products, memberships and services offered, expectations tied to their performance. How do these impact the salon? MONEY! Yet, we consistently sabotage our own success by turning loose on our guests an employee who is ill-prepared to carry out their role. Is it their fault? Surprisingly, (or maybe not), not as often as we think.
Let’s look at this from a few angles. First up: the interview process. How was the position described? Were the duties clearly defined? Quite frequently, retail sales is not mentioned at all in the printed description of the job expectations, yet is universally the salon employee’s main role. If we aren’t being up-front from the beginning, we’re already setting up a failure.
Next is the interview process. What does this look like in our salon? Who conducts the first interview – the owner? The manager? What is the goal during the first interview? If these questions are not easily answered, is the problem actually with the process? Most times, yes. What about a second interview – again, who handles this? What is the desired end result after the second interview? Did we take time to check references? Here’s a suggestion: don’t waste time on that. The only person someone is going to list as a reference is someone they know will respond positively, regardless of the kind of person they actually are. Instead, I suggest looking them up on social media. Most of the time, the true person is the one you see on their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat accounts. During the hiring process, social media is your friend.
Perhaps the biggest struggle, and the place where the frustration will shift from employer to employee is the training program, a “system” written years ago by an adult for use by a school-aged person. Likely never updated, this program is usually composed in the style of learning that the author (almost always the owner) finds best suited to them. Failure alert: all people DO NOT learn the same way we do. Unless we identify what type of learner they are (auditory, visual or kinesthetic), we can’t know how to present the material to them in the way that will suit their needs. Have a visual learner listen to a recording, for example, and you’ll lose them very quickly. There is a simple quiz that will help identify their learning style; for a copy of it, email email@example.com.
Molding the way we interview, hire, and train to better suit the needs and expectations of the applicant can instantly change the success of new team members. They will always leave for one reason or another; but when we can lengthen their time with us, everyone wins! ν
Molding the way we interview, hire and train to better suit the needs and expectations of the applicant can instantly change the success of new team members.
For over 20 years, Scott Eggers, New Sunshine Regional Sales Manager, has worked directly with salon staff on the front lines of their job, helping them become more confident, professional and successful. He has also worked with salon owners to maximize their profitability, from marketing advice to display ideas to hiring and training the best staff possible.
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