I previously wrote an article about how to handle the diva stylist in your business. While writing that post another topic came to mind that I felt deserved its own attention. A lot of salon owners suffer from hostage situations. A lot of salon owners also use their employees as machines in a factory wanting them only to produce, produce, produce. What salon owners do not realize is that by creating a factory environment in your business you become overly reliant on the machines. When a machine breaks down and can no longer produce, you're...fucked, for lack of a better term.
Hostage situations occur when salon owners create factory environments for their creative staff. The staff slowly breaks down. The work being produced is diminished through lack of wellness, repetitive illnesses, personal issues, apathy, and resentment toward the employer. In turn the factory begins to fall apart. You need the machine to start producing again but it is sick, it is tired and it is mad. The difference between a hairdresser and a machine is the fact that we have brains. The hairdresser can see that without them the factory would shut down. The hairdresser sees that they can pretty much do whatever they want because without them there is no factory and without them there is no money.
What is the solution for this?
Take care of your staff. Create a culture that fosters creativity, collaboration and craft. Treat your employees as what they are: creative and talented artists. They are not machines, you are not running a factory and your team and yourself deserve better. By supporting your staff and investing in them you will gain production, revenue will grow. When you support and invest in your staff you will succeed. You will defuse a hostage situation when the employee realizes they need the employer as much as the employer needs them. Call off the swat team, put down your guns (why do we even have guns?) and find ways to support your team.
If you are a hairdresser working in a salon then this part is for you! You need to realize that when you bring in a large part of a salons revenue you are very valuable. The more valuable you become the more likely you are to resent your employer. Usually this happens when you feel unappreciated, ignored or underpaid. Not everyone is out to take advantage of you. An employer is never going to offer you more money unless you sit down and present the evidence as to why you are worth more to their business. Do not be afraid to have conversations with your boss about other forms of making money through the salon. Maybe its taking on a leadership role and applying a salary with your commission as a hairdresser. Whatever it is make sure you respectfully request a meeting, bring evidence to support your offer and state your case professionally. Nine times out of ten your employer sees your value and would be more than happy to negotiate new terms with you. However some employers will never see your value and that is when you need to state your case and then professionally decide on your exit strategy.
At the end of the day being held hostage by your staff is simply an effect and you need to search for the cause. The cause is usually factory run salons and lack of support and appreciation for your employees. Invest in those who are growing your business. Take care of the people that you have hired and pay them properly. Create a culture that focuses on fostering support, collaboration, and creativity.
If you're a stylist, be proactive. Give your employer a chance to see your value by backing it up with facts. Do not wait for them to notice you, show them your worth in a meeting with a professional discussion. Leave the entitlement at the door.
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