Is it Possible to Pay Off Lack of Leadership?

The statistics around the high cost of poor leadership in a business are continuing to stack up, as millennials and Gen Z become our primary industry workforce. But is it possible to keep the ‘old school’ approach to leadership and business management alive if you’re willing to just… pay more?

According to HeadHunter’s recent survey of more than 100 hairdressers, the answer is a resounding NO! We were surprised to see that money/wages were closer to the bottom of the priority list as opposed to the top. The most important elements of a job according to those surveyed were team culture, education opportunities, and regular communication with the employer – and no surprises – all traits of a positive leadership environment! 

Equally, when asked why they would leave a job, a majority of the participants cited ‘negative work culture’, ‘lack of respect’ and ‘lack of support’ as the primary reasons they would look elsewhere for employment, all above ‘low pay’. 

Unfortunately, the mentality and priorities of many business owners don’t match that of team members in the modern working world. The cash bonus at the end of a massive week is no longer an effective staff retention strategy. Big picture, more relevant strategies need to be implemented to keep people engaged in our modern workplace. 

Here are some small changes that can be implemented in your business to move towards a more engaging culture.

1. Prioritise your own work/life balance

Business owners or managers will bend over backwards to work extra hours to cover for a team member that wants a day off, but often the ‘martyr’ strategy just results in guilt for the employee, and sometimes even unintentional resentment from the manager. 

Leading by example is an important strategy when implementing workplace policies and procedures, and when shifting a team’s culture and values, it’s no different. 

By taking annual leave or staying away from work when you’re sick, you are demonstrating what work/life balance looks like and creating a culture where team members feel more comfortable to do the same. 

2. Check-in regularly with your staff

If you avoid this because you just know they’ll find something to whine about, you are the prime candidate for needing a culture shift in your salon! 

Providing a regular, open, and safe space for communication between an employer and employee is essential for a harmonious working environment. Everyone wants to feel heard and have a sense of ownership over their experience as a team member. It’s important as a leader to facilitate this. 

Use the opportunity to embrace their new ideas and concepts that may innovate your business, or at the very least, use the time to ensure they feel appreciated. 

3. Selflessly invest in their career development 

Making your employees feel valued can have an immediate cultural impact and a great way to do this is INVESTING in them. 

It can be hard to consider investing loads of time, energy and money into team members that may just go elsewhere and use those skills to benefit another employer – but what if they stay? You’re the one that gains. 

Not only do you benefit from a skills perspective within your salon, but you’ll also have an employee that understands that they are worthy of the investment, that their career growth is being prioritised, and that they are important to you as an individual. 

A few extra dollars an hour may seem like an easy solution to an employee potentially moving on, but statistically, it’s not a sustainable strategy in comparison to these types of bigger picture issues.