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I am a great believer in continuing professional development (CPD). Well-trained staff are an integral element of a successful tanning salon business, indeed any business, and professional tanning salons worldwide recognise this fact. There are many reasons why this is so, from the obvious of ensuring customers are screened and provided with the correct information about tanning responsibly, through to an important but perhaps less recognised business benefit of encouraging staff retention.
Tanning salon staff turnover in the UK was undoubtedly more of an issue many years ago, before the UK Sunbed Association (TSA) was formed and when the industry was less professional than it is now. I have no doubt it will remain an issue for those operators who still resist investment in their staff training and employee welfare.
Whereas traditionally, the majority of tanning salon owners in the UK and Ireland have been and to this day remain single-site businesses, we know that for the vast majority of new salon start-ups in the UK, the intention is to grow a multi-site business. So going forward, it seems clear that development and career opportunities will be improving within our industry and, as such, the training and retention requirement will become even more significant. As we will all know, it is expensive and time-consuming to replace good staff.
With UK unemployment currently hitting a 50-year low and vacancies outnumbering job seekers for the first time in living memory, now is perhaps more than ever the time when we as an industry need to focus on how we attract and retain good staff.
Investing in training benefits not only the employee but also the business, not least because trained staff are much better equipped to deal with any challenges they may face in the salon. Training will encourage employees to feel challenged to grow and when this happens the result is they are more likely to find their job more fulfilling and less likely to leave. But I believe there is another very good reason why we should also be encouraging and training more young people to work in tanning salons and that is consumer education. And this outcome benefits all – consumers, salon staff, tanning salon businesses and the industry as a whole.
We need an army or even a tsunami of trained young people creating and posting videos on TikTok and other social media platforms that promote the responsible way to UV tan and debunk the common myths about indoor tanning – as well as encouraging lotion sales, special offer take-up and any other marketing initiatives a salon decides to communicate.
Young people are influenced by informed young people to whom they can and want to relate. We know consumers are confused and fed up with the mixed messaging about tanning. So just think about it for a moment: we have a ready-to-go global network of potential influencers employed within our salons! We simply need to get them communicating with some consistent messaging and information and then let us see if we cannot change the anti-tanning narrative. I am serious about this and I know others in our industry are, too.
Are you on board?
In the tanning industry since 1982, Gary is Managing Director of the UK subsidiary of Ergoline, and runs Ergoline Plus, the exclusive distributor for a wide range of sunless products and spray systems. He is also Chairman of the Media Committee for the UK’s Sunbed Association & a European Sunlight Association member.
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