One of the frequently asked questions I get from my clients circles around training staff. Staff education is, in my opinion, highly crucial for several reasons:
- It gives clients confidence in your ability to deliver service.
- It helps to establish a minimum standard of service delivered by your team.
- It keeps the business current.
- It creates an environment in which the team feels secure in their roles.
- It can create staff loyalty.
- It can be part of rewarding your team.
I have long been a fan of in-house education programs in which your services are covered in the way the business likes them to be conducted, with a mix of product knowledge reviews focused around seasonal trends and upcoming promotions.
Making time for training in the business has a direct correlation to revenue at the end of the day. So, set aside a monthly education hour and have your senior team members lead it or assign a trainer within your company to organize these learning times.
PAY FOR TRAINING
Next, clients typically ask, “Should I pay my staff for the time? Should I pay for the training? What if I make this significant investment and they leave? What if they want a pay increase after they undertake the training?” In short, yes to all.
If you are expecting your staff to undertake specific training, then it is only fair, in my opinion, that they are compensated for their time, and the cost of the training is on you. I like having a small agreement for all training I have my team undertake (and if you are really organized, it would actually be in your policies and procedures manual). From the get-go, be on the same page about what you expect the outcome of learning to be and how it will be implemented, and agree on things like how you expect your team to show up for training. There is nothing more frustrating to a trainer (which I am) than having Debbie Downers in the class with an attitude that they would rather be somewhere else. Don’t let your team be those students.
OFFER PAY INCREASES
Are there specific training programs you deem essential to your business? Tie achieving those certifications into your remuneration plan.
For example, my clients typically have a high emphasis on a deep understanding of skin analysis and the use of diagnostic equipment. So, their employment offers might include automatic pay increases when these particular training programs are completed. It might be a dollar increase per hour after completing a course on skin fluorescence, another dollar increase after completing training in advanced skin analysis, another dollar increase when they complete a course in dermal needling or laser hair removal, and so forth. Of course, the growth would come with also showing competency after undergoing training, and that directly adds value to your business.
What if they already have some of these skillsets when you employ them? Well, that is great, and they are then more qualified already, so that means that their starting wage is justifiably higher.
I recommend setting an immediately easy, achievable target for new employees – a small increase (as low as 25 cents to 50 cents increase to their starting hourly wage) as soon as they complete product knowledge training on the skin care line you carry. Why? As they build clientele, retail is the way to generate income until their appointment books are full. Retail is also the only way to break through the income ceiling imposed by available hours for services.
CREATE A LEARNING CULTURE
Also, create a culture in which everyone on your team is excited and strives for continued education. I find that those who are keen to learn are also the most eager to see the business grow, so why not aim to have your business full of learners?
There is a well-known phrase, “If you pay peanuts you will get monkeys.” I have always remembered that, and I would much rather pay more and have the best of the best in my team than pay less and have to push unmotivated individuals.
So, let me summarize:
- Develop an in-house training program, led by you or a senior team member, in which you review treatment procedures and product knowledge. Book the time off and let everyone participate just like they would attend a team meeting.
- When you ask your team to do specific training, like a representative visiting and doing a short training on their product in your spa or attending the in-house training, pay them for the time.
- Where there is a cost related to training that is mandatory for your team to take, pay their time and the cost of the training.
- Tie specific certifications into your remuneration plan. If and when achieved, that individual automatically qualifies for a pay increase.
- To elaborate on this point, my idea behind this is that for qualifications that are desirable to your business, and you want your employee to be self-motivated to take it, I recommend that you expect them to assume the cost of training. I typically negotiate that I will pay half the time of the training and, while they pay up front, typically I reimburse the cost to them upon the delivery of the said certificate (optional).
- Be clear up front (in the interview) about expectations with regards to attitude towards the attendance and participation in training when in your employment.
My clients have shared that when they lay out exactly what their training expectations look like to prospective employees, it really highlights who they want to employ and, more often, who they don’t. If an individual is not open or even excited about the personal growth they can gain under your employment, they are unlikely to have a deep desire to see business growth. Those who show excitement about further education typically are the ones who take personal pride in the role they play in growing any company they work within.
So yes, continuing education and training (even in-house) is an essential part of business planning and is an absolutely worthwhile investment. The individuals in your team definitely gain personally by building their skillset, but don’t be fooled, the investment is actually in your business, and it will grow, like your team, because of it.
How do you encourage engaged participation in the personal growth of your team? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below – I do read them all!
René Serbon, skin expert, CIDESCO, CIBTAC, managing director at Dermal Systems Inc, corneotherapy expert, industry educator, and speaker, gives skin care professionals a true point of difference in the industry. How? By handing them the ultimate drawing card: knowledge about the skin wrapped in savvy business strategy. Her keynotes and in-depth trainings educate on skin anatomy, physiology, and how to match cosmetic chemistry to specific skin conditions, helping clinic owners and solo aestheticians to blow the roof off their in-clinic results and business growth (by 30% a year or more). Serbon is CIDESCO and CIBTAC certified, one of the world’s few Pastiche Educators, and proudly serves on the International Association of Applied Corneotherapy (IAC) educational board. She personally swapped “grooming services” for corrective skin care the day she opened her appointment book and saw 10 hours of back to back waxing; hence, her motto: “There’s life after waxing.”