Keep their edge

Invest in employee training


Have you heard the phrase, “You never stop learning?” This is very true when it comes to servicing your customers, especially if you are in the beauty business.

On a recent visit to Impressions in Mequon, I viewed a continuing education session conducted by a hair color expert. Each of the stylists were focused on the techniques being demonstrated.

Many of these stylists have been plying their craft for more than 10 years, and yet they were being exposed to something new. This was one of many sessions Impressions provides for its stylists during any calendar year. The owner, Kitty Tierney, feels that her investment in training pays for itself multiple times.

In any business, especially one that is so customer-focused as beauty, and where clients expect a level of perfection, the stylist needs to be on the cutting edge. Anyone can wash, blow dry and style your hair, but each client wants a look that sets him or her apart from the crowd. In all my years as a customer of Impressions, each of their clients has a unique look, which has been developed over time with his or her stylist.

Other organizations can take the example set by Kitty and her staff, that they never stop improving their craft. From reinforcement of previous training to learning new techniques, increasing your employees’ skill levels and acquiring new skillsets can only grow your business and strengthen your relations with your customers. The one question no owner wants to hear from a customer is, “Why doesn’t your firm offer that service?”

No matter how much experience Kitty’s stylists have, they all attend these training sessions. Over the years, Impressions has won numerous awards from both its suppliers and professional organizations. Also, the salon has been recognized repeatedly as one of the top 200 salons in the United States by Salon Today.

When I was providing training in the areas of conflict resolution, negotiation and communication for my clients in Wisconsin, California, Texas and in cities throughout the Midwest, I found that our training reinforced earlier learning and produced almost immediate results. After the final session at a local Milwaukee pest control company, the secretary to the president contacted the hotel where they had scheduled an annual meeting. She succeeded in renegotiating their contract at a lower room rate. In another case, one of my seminar attendees went out the next week and purchased a new truck at substantial savings. Research has shown that unless learning is reinforced and applied, it can be diminished in its efficacy.

Investing in elevating the level of your employees’ knowledge results in higher levels of productivity, morale and customer satisfaction. This theory was proven in the early 1920s with the Hawthorne Experiments, conducted by Elton Mayo at Western Electric in Chicago. He concluded that, according to the Manage Train Learn website, “people’s morale and productivity were affected not so much by the conditions in which they worked but by the recognition they received.”

Providing continuous education to your employees is one way to demonstrate you recognize their contributions to your company’s success. The result of your efforts will be a happier group of employees and even happier clients.

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He was a senior professor at DeVry's Keller Graduate School in Wisconsin. Cary has published articles in periodicals and on the Internet. He recently published first book with Dr. Larry Waldman, "Overcoming Your NegotiaPhobia". Cary holds MBAs from L I U’s Arthur T. Roth School of Business. Cary has a BA from CUNY, Queens College. He has certificates in Negotiation from Harvard’s PON and in Labor and Employment Law from Marquette University.

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