From Walkout Culture to Compassion and Respect Culture

We are almost 3 years out from the start of my last big walkout, big is an understatement, huge actually. I had just returned from the hospital with my daughter who has Crohn’s Disease, running multiple tests to try to manage her disease and her pain. The emails and text messages started coming in. I […]

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We are almost 3 years out from the start of my last big walkout, big is an understatement, huge actually. I had just returned from the hospital with my daughter who has Crohn’s Disease, running multiple tests to try to manage her disease and her pain. The emails and text messages started coming in. I recall it was on a Wednesday…

“Today is my last day.”

“I can’t believe I ever worked for a woman like you, how can you even look in the mirror at your ugly disgusting face.”

I was so confused, what the heck was going on?  Well, it didn’t stop until 9 employees left 1 week before my busy season.

Looking back I’m not really sure how I got through it.  But 3 years later. My daughter is in college and loves it.  My two oldest children have moved out and have amazing careers. My husband and I are settling into our smaller home that is just right for  he and I.  Let’s just say, we don’t hate it. It’s so peaceful, and life at the salon is going well too.  I have taken the last 3 years to reflect, heal, work hard, regroup, refocus  and have gotten to the other side. I never thought I would say this ever again, but, I love where I work again and our team is growing and growing my way. With compassion and respect and without destruction. Here’s what we did to finally turn it all around.

It didn’t happen overnight, but our hiring process has changed. It’s still not perfect but it is much better. I make our culture and our expectations clear in the beginning and I don’t hire quickly, I don’t make promises I can’t keep or I know will cost me dearly later on.  I stretch out my hiring process until I feel the hire really understands who we are and why. If they show me traits that don’t fit our culture. I don’t hire them. I’ve learned that we are better off without them.  And, I don’t pay 60% ever!  I’ve figured out the numbers and have found that if I pay even one employee or Independent contractor that much it eats up every nickel of profit. Yes, every nickel!

I now run my numbers weekly to see where we are at and adjust our spending quickly or talk about productivity and performance with the staff. We use the “Power of One,” alot and talk about each of us increasing our 5 business markers by just one percentage point.  It makes for significant improvement across the team and for the salon as a whole.   But most importantly, I made a Code of Conduct for our staff and if someone isn’t fitting in, we can go to the code and see why quickly. We have hence, changed the culture significantly.  I never blame, I have a heart to heart with my staff when I see them have any emotional or work related issues.  I do it without judging and with the utmost of compassion and respect.  I love our heart to hearts actually.  We hug afterwards often!

It takes extreme consistency and commitment on my part to keep the culture at a high level but I am unrelenting in how I expect each of us to show respect and compassion and it is becoming second nature to all of us, slowly but surely. Here is the Code of Conduct and the beautiful comments my team put together for me for my birthday. Huge shift from the comments I showed you above.

MMF Code of Conduct 2021

We will at all times treat our guests, coworkers, team leaders, and founder with compassion, respect, patience and kindness. 

We will never walk out or ghost our clients, coworkers, team leaders or founder. Instead we will give sufficient notice, an exit interview and celebrate our new adventure with our MMF family’s support and cake! 

We will never act in any way to discredit, destroy or damage the livelihood of our clients, coworkers, former staff members, team leaders, founder, the company, their families, livelihoods, children or beloved pets. 

We will support each other in lucrative times and in bad times. Both personally and professionally. 

We do not roll our eyes, use profanity, act aggressively, or treat each other or our guests with anything other than respect and patience. 

We will not steal anything, ever. Money, property, documents, anything created by or for the company by you or anyone else. 

We will not solicit any clients, employees or independent contractors to leave the company, or to damage the company and its ability to service our clients and pay our staff. 

We will help each other become the best service provider, administrator, human being, staff member, friend, father, mother, sister, wife and community member. 

We will chip in and help in any way needed on any day that we are scheduled. Even times when we are not scheduled to help a client, or team member who will do the same for you in return someday. 

This company CANNOT survive unless we work together. We will never work against each other or against the company. We are here to please our guests, support each other and grow the company so we may also each grow. 

We will make every effort to service every guest to the best of our ability, and ask for help when needed. We will treat all guests positively and professionally. We will dress, act, speak and carry ourselves professionally. 

We will never libel or slander against our clients, the company, founder, each other, our product offerings, services, vendors, or the staff of the hotel. 

We will give 100% effort in my 20-38 hours at work in order to have 60-65 hours to do whatever I please on my own time. 

We will do what we are encouraged to do to get to 85% service productivity and 11% retail goal every week. By doing so we will earn more money, gain more personally and professionally. We also contribute to the company’s growth, and success and the ability to stay in business. We will also receive more raises, bonuses, paid time off, health benefits, education and a strong, profitable place to work for a long time. 

We will arrive 15 minutes before our shift to set up for our first client and our day. 

We will pitch in with laundry daily. 

We will enjoy our work, our guests and our time here, because of our positive upbeat attitudes. If we ever get down our team members will help to build us back up with Starbucks, Panera, pizza, sushi rolls, chocolate, wine, hugs, and a kind listening ear.

We will cross promote our team members whenever possible.

We will do a minimum of 2 social media posts per week on our personal social media and for our team IG/FB page. We will create content that displays our positivity and desire to educate guests and future guests.

We will work a minimum of (1) 7.5-8 hour shift in the salon on a peak day weekly to support the team and understand what it takes to truly be an asset/support to our team goals.

Here are the comments my staff wrote me for my birthday. For the first time in over 4 years I got a full weeks vacation. This is what I returned to:

Plus a few words from each employee, This was better than any gift I have ever received from my team:

Kristina – Alayne has taught me to never give up regardless of how things may seem at the moment. I always tell people about how much we like Big Bootie Mix when we are helping people get glammed up. I’m thankful that she took a chance on me and has allowed MMF to be a second home for me.

Rosanna – Alayne has taught me so much about the salon industry and the importance of knowing your numbers. She also taught me how to put my newborn to sleep. I always tell people how I was Alayne’s first customer and how I would help her put the makeup orders away. I am thankful that she has been my friend for 15 years.

Julie – Alayne has taught me to be more confident in myself, to stop second guessing myself and that there are no stupid questions. I always tell people that I’ve never felt as welcome to a job as I have at Make Me Fab. I am so thankful to have found this place and Alayne to call home.

Lilly – Alayne has taught me how to think rationally when under pressure which helped me a lot in my career and my interactions with clients. I am thankful for her optimistic energy and humor in the salon, it makes the day fly by!

Kendra – Alayne has taught me the skills to be successful in this industry. She has taught me how to deal with difficult clients, how to perfect an updo, how to do the perfect bridal makeup, and the list goes on. I am so thankful she didn’t give up on me almost 5 years ago. She has truly helped shape me into the stylist I am today!

Patty – Alayne has taught me that it takes a team to make it in this industry. I am grateful that she took me in and for the support and encouragement to be better!

Regina – The wonderful kindness she shows. Her hard work for all.

Christine – Alayne has taught me not to blame myself in situations I don’t have any control over. She has taught me how to deal with difficult and unhappy brides, and discuss the solutions. I am forever thankful for the opportunity she has given me. I am so lucky to be part of this team. Thank you so much Alayne for all the help.

Ultimately, creating a culture of compassion and respect takes time and consistency.  Need more help on how to have positive one on one session with your team?  Message me at [email protected]

Stay Fab,

Alayne

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