One of the biggest issues tanning salons face is finding good employees who will stick around after you train them. Not only is it difficult to attract reliable help, it’s often hard to keep them on staff because most positions don’t come with the benefit of a big paycheck. With a steadily improving economy, it becomes harder and harder to find a strong workforce when so many opportunities exist. It’s a big problem for many tanning salons and wellness spas, but not insurmountable.
The Importance of Retaining Tanning Salon Employees
It’s important to have a retention strategy in place because it costs your company much more money to continuously train new employees than to keep existing ones. For managers or other salaried members of your staff, it costs about six to nine months of that position’s salary in order to replace him or her. That’s a lot of money (minimum $20,000), when you’re talking about a $40,000 salary.
It also tends to disrupt the rest of your staff and the level of service your customers receive. A departing employee leaves behind a gap which often means other staff members must fill it with time spent away from their usual tasks.
So, how does your business stack up against the competition? It helps to start by calculating an acceptable turnover rate. Until you know where your business falls in the continuum, it’s difficult to assess whether or not you truly have a problem on your hands. The calculation is (per quarter): Total # of Employees (at end of period) / # of Discharged Employees. So if you had 10 employees at the beginning of a quarter and lost two, you would divide eight by 10 to come up with an 80% retention rate. Most human resources professionals try to keep this number at 85% or higher.
Retention Strategy Tips
Now let’s focus on the actual things you can do to save time and money by retaining your best employees.
First, start by finding out your employees’ current level of satisfaction and happiness. Don’t just think you know the answer; find out the truth. This can be done via short, anonymous surveys or regular one-on-one meetings with each staffer. The first one is the best option if you feel there is a lot of discord in your organization as it allows people to share their true feelings without fear of reprisal.
Ask for feedback. Find out what your staff members think is great about your company and what they are disappointed by or frustrated with. Be prepared to let them speak and consider the criticism a tool necessary for growth. Don’t take it personally or use defense mechanisms; it’s more important to find solutions than lay blame.
While you may not be able to offer big salaries to your employees, you could provide them with other benefits. Health insurance is the number one benefit that most workers desire (see this Prudential survey for more information on benefits employees want most). Yes, it can be expensive, but so is losing key staff members and training someone new. In addition to health insurance, things like free tanning or FIT Bodywrap© sessions are good incentives and cost little. Get creative; partner with other businesses to provide benefits to the other’s staff. For instance, a gym owner could offer free memberships to your employees while you give the gym employees tanning and body wraps in exchange.
And finally, conduct exit interviews to find out what made an employee leave your company. It may be too late to keep them, but the information is valuable for avoiding the same mistake in the future.
A tanning salon is only as good as its employees, who are often the first and last contacts for your customers. Find great ones and do your best to keep them in order to avoid the extra cost in time and money when the turnover rate is unacceptable.