The most common perception we have about working people is that they go to offices and work at their desks with laptops. However, there also exist other types of work in which no offices or laptops are involved, for instance, salons.
Salons house a different breed of employees. A creative lot with work different from that of a typical worker, but that does not make them any less an employee.
Like other employees in corporate India, they too operate under a hierarchal structure of reporting and managing at work, and have growth opportunities in their career.
However, the management takes extra care of their needs and creative mindsets before establishing the performance evaluation practices and career progression plans. They are always required to possess high customer orientation and passion. Getting low on energy or feeling dull at work is very common, but in a salon environment, low energy can kill creativity, put off clients and bring down sales
Primarily, when people join salons as freshers, depending on their performance, they can rise up to become assistants or general managers.
This is the most sought-after position, which only deserving employees get an opportunity to reach! A backstage hero gets to work for prestigious events, such as the Lakme Fashion Week.
Apparently, there are two criteria to be eligible for this position — performance, and completion of two years in a Lakme Salon. Eligible candidates have to go through an online test and the successful ones are interviewed by the national creative director (NCD). On being selected by the NCD, they have undergo a year of training before they become backstage heroes.
This much-wanted role offers the ultimate creative exposure to the employees, with the opportunity to be part of an event that sets the trend for the entire country in this industry. Moreover, every year, workers are motivated to stretch themselves as far as possible, to improve their performance, so that they can be considered for the position and ultimately get selected.
“Organisations have started looking at employees as a unit, as a person, and not just as an employee; it’s not a transactional relationship anymore, it’s a more holistic relationship”
The management creates ample opportunities for growth within the salon. For instance, there are positions, such as that of assistant manager and salon manager, to motivate employees. In addition, a pedicurist can show interest and upskill to become a skin or hair stylist. There is no dearth of opportunities in this business for employees.
The Lakme Lever management also helps its employees to turn into entrepreneurs by supporting them to open their own salons. While they do not extend any financial assistance, they let them use their brand name as franchise partners.
“What keeps most salon employees engaged is a great culture, good and supportive policies, an environment which keeps people updated and makes them feel that they are always learning, and lastly all these things culminating into the growth of the employee,” says Pushkaraj Shenai, CEO, Lakme Lever.
“The salon talent joins an organisation today not only to work but to contribute and when they feel their contribution is valued through recognition or in the form of learning and growth opportunity which he/she is getting, we believe they will feel happy and engaged at work. The perfection and efforts required to make a salon business successful need to be collective and not individual,” adds Shenai.
Every month, some employee-engagement activity is planned for the Lakme Salon employees, taking care not to disturb the clients (customers) who visit the salon. This month, it launched a new hair collection called ‘Art of Latte’, along with which it offered its employees a bouquet of engaging activities. One activity required them to use these colours on themselves, to create innovative and inspiring looks. They were to click photographs and submit them for a country-level competition for which prizes were announced.
The human resource team visits the salons every month to organise some energising activities for the employees. Building of continuous energy is taken very seriously by the management. Salon employees need to display tremendous amounts of energy, stamina and enthusiasm in keeping the customers satisfied while at the same time being more creative at work.
The salon business is a great example of diversity and inclusion at workplace. Previously, it was an industry dominated by women employees, today the scenario is changing with more and more men joining, in addition proving to be great at work.