It’s no secret that the salon industry has grown significantly in recent years. According to research from IBISWorld, the personal waxing and salon sector increased by an average of 7.6% annually between 2010 – 2015. The value of the global hair removal market amounted to 880.2 million dollars in 2017 and is expected to rise to about 1.35 billion U.S. dollars by 2022 which is a 9% Compound Annual Growth Rate. But forget the math… business is booming, baby! However, this increase in popularity has created a nation-wide deficit of aestheticians. The demand for services continues to rise, and businesses across the country are struggling to accommodate this continual increase.
“The spa industry, in the midst of a global boom and beset by staff shortages, is clamouring for talent”, writes Jessica Leeder in an article for the Globe and Mail titled Aesthetician Shortage Threatens Growth of Spa Industry. Basically, there are a brazilian babes that want to get waxed, and only so many waxers to wax them… The demand for waxers outweighs the supply… There aren’t enough cooks in the proverbial kitchen…. you get the picture.
Many owner-operators in the industry will attest that their biggest challenge is not necessarily finding clients, but finding staff. And we learned that as Foxy Box grew, our business was no different. As our client base increased, our need for more staff became apparent. In order to avoid staffing shortages, we adopted a fresh set of policies on hiring and training, ones that would allow us to make selection and retainment the core of our staffing philosophy. Below I’ve outlined three ways that our Foxy Family has not only protected our business from the salon staffing crisis, but continued to thrive and expand our team! Read on for our tricks of the trade…
- The Hiring Process – Never Rush Recruitment
The worst time to start the hiring process is when you REALLY need to fill a position, like, yesterday. This can lead to rash decisions, and you may end up putting the wrong butt in the wrong seat purely out of desperation! The best way to avoid hiring the wrong person for your team is to allow yourself enough time to recruit properly. Don’t wait until crunch time to begin hiring. This way you can pick a candidate based on personality first, then train for the position. Which brings us to our second strategy for surviving the staffing crisis: a robust training program that allows you to scout out the right people, rather than hire based solely on experience…
- The Training Process – Create a Curriculum
In a perfect world your ideal candidate will come sauntering through your doors with all the skills and experience required to excel in their new position, and the right disposition to fit in perfectly with your crew and culture. But sadly, that’s rarely the case. “There is a definite talent gap, no question,” said Katherine Johnston, an economist and senior research fellow with the Global Wellness Institute (GWI). “Every single person we talk to in the spa business says their work force – recruitment and talent – is their No. 1 challenge.”
What we learned over time was the importance of a thorough training curriculum for our new recruits. So we developed the material we needed to train our talent in house! (Keep in mind this didn’t happen overnight, and we do still have some stipulations for new waxers, such as: they’re required to complete a BeautySafe certification to ensure proper safety and sanitation practices PRIOR to beginning training, and they’re put through rigorous reviews before passing their final Foxy assessments). Creating a comprehensive in-house training program allowed us to scout out the RIGHT individuals that aligned with our values.
- Staff Retention – Cultivate a Caring & Collaborative Culture
“Like most professional trades today, there is definitely more demand than supply for highly trained and reliable aestheticians,” said Kristen Wood, The Ten Spot’s chief executive officer and founder. “This is not unanticipated, but it does put pressure on each location to be in a constant talent acquisition and advancement mode,” she said. What do we know about this business? Finding solid staff members can be tough, so it’s important to keep the ones you have! And from a financial standpoint, staff retention is much better for ROI. Constantly training new staff is a major drain on resources, and moreover, it can have a negative impact on your culture.
So how do you hang on to your people? We found that framing our company within the values of transparency and collaboration began to unite us as a team. We made it our goal to have attentive and respectful management, provide recognition and gratitude for a job well done, and celebrate our wins as a group – we’re talkin’ staff parties, fun sales incentives, birthday gifts, you gotta have fun at work my friend!
We’ve had great success implementing these strategies at our wax bars, but they’re applicable to any type of business that employs human beings. The reason being: when you hire staff you’re not just filling positions, you’re developing a team. Whether you’re in the business of waxing bikini lines, serving ice cream sundaes or detailing cars, your team is your greatest commodity.