I believe that the key to any successful organization is to have a culture based on a strongly held and widely shared set of beliefs that are supported by sound business strategy and structure.
To maintain a strong work culture, several things need to be advocated and in place. The team needs to be proud of where they work and the brand they represent. The team must to be proud of what work they do and the impact their work has on others. The team needs to be proud of their accomplishments and growth; plus, they should be rewarded and recognized for supporting the values that are set in place. And, most importantly, the right leadership needs to be at the helm and a true support structure in place to help navigate the journey.
Details matter. More specifically, every detail matters, even the smallest of the details. In the case of my business, a lot of attention went into the design/layout of the salon and the branding and marketing of what Emma Justine represents. I was very specific about the products that are being carried and why the specific products were selected as well as the specific services we offer. I made sure that “other amenities” are also being looked at strategically, like refreshments that are offered (champagne, wine, etc.) as part of the guest experience. The overall aesthetics are communicated through ongoing training to our staff, which promotes our brand image, improves our customer loyalty, and strengthens the workplace culture. As a result of such focus, in the first year of salon opening, we received the “Nationally Distinguished Salon of the Year Award”. I am not saying such awards are a requirement for someone to be proud of their workplace, but these recognitions are an important aspect of building such a culture.
Thinking through on what your company’s mission is, also sets the pace for years to come. We have a company mission statement and a motto that sets the tone for why we are here in the first place. In our example, our motto is simple: “Be Bold. Be Beautiful. Be Confident.” This is the impact that everyone on the team has on each other and our guests that visit the salon. With the motto in place, our mission becomes that much more clear.
It’s essential to have clear guidelines on how someone can grow with purposeful goals, set timelines, and follow-ups along the way.
At Emma Justine Salon, we put a lot of emphasis in making sure that every detail of the career journey is well-planned and strategic and every milestone has a purpose. With a set of specific goals in place, it’s important to have regular monthly one-on-ones to see how each employee is progressing. We look at it as checkpoints throughout their career journey. During these one-on-ones, we discuss things such as: what is going on in their personal life, how the month ended from a numbers perspective, what training they feel like they need, and if the plan needs to be altered or tweaked for the following month(s). We also, analyze compensation regularly to ensure competitiveness.
It’s important for the team to know and believe that you are committed to their success. Regular monthly team meetings are also essential to make sure the entire team is on the same page and are on the same mission. By taking the time out of your busy schedule to have these individual one-on-ones and team meetings, it gives you the opportunity to communicate just that.
And we invest heavily into the team’s continued education to ensure that they are experts in their craft. For example, in 2021, I flew the entire team to Florida for a Salon Summit and team building. In 2022, I decided to take the team to Austin, Texas for a Kevin Murphy Hair show, with all expenses paid, including flights, lodging, and VIP tickets to the show. I strongly believe that such initiatives strengthen the workplace culture. This is a clear indication of a commitment. Although not every business is able to invest in such large-scale events, there are things that can be done on a smaller scale. For example, making it a point to show appreciation with thank you cards, flowers, or just a cupcake when someone has had a rough day.
Workplace culture should not be overlooked for the sake of the bottom dollar revenue. Using the salon as an example, in 2021, a decision was made to revamp employee schedules to allow for a better work-life balance. Everyone in the salon works the same days/hours. It’s a 4-day work with a 3-day weekend. (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are the off days). We are the only salon in Louisville of this caliber that is not regularly open on a Saturday. This is the best decision we could have made for our employees and it has significantly strengthened the workplace culture.
The important of creating and sustaining a healthy workplace culture can not be overstated. It is my hope that the examples that have been provided here in this article for Inspiring Lives Magazine from my business’ success will support your own journey with your company culture.