We Are Sunshine

Earn the Trust of Your Staff

Monday, November 20th, 2023

By Scott Nichols

Employees are always quitting! We can’t hire enough, and they never want to work. Something needs to give. How many employees have you hired this past year and how many have quit? What are the reasons someone is applying and more importantly what is the reason someone is leaving? If you’re like me, there are hundreds of things you can do in a day that pertain to your business. Usually, you are putting out fires and addressing any major issues that come up. But what if we paid more attention to our employees? Could that help eliminate many of the problems you face each day such as call-ins, no-shows, customer service issues and sales? Instead of creating problems, they help us get more victories.  Is it possible? I think it is!

The main reason people apply at a tanning salon is that they need a paycheck (I know it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out!). We all do and there is nothing negative about it because that’s just the way life is. We all have rent, groceries, and other bills to pay. So you trade your time, talents, and expertise for the paycheck which buys you the items you need.

In addition to this, most people who apply are doing so knowing the level of pay. If you are paying an employee somewhere around $10.00-$15.00 an hour, they are working there because the money they make will support the items they need to pay for. What it won’t do is pay for a mortgage that is $2,000 a month.

I find this a big reason employees quit. Either their lifestyle has changed and they need to be paid more money doing the same job and/or the employee no longer has as many bills. For instance, someone who is working full-time somewhere else and working part-time with you is doing so because they need the extra income to help pay for bills. But things could change, and your employee now has a roommate who is splitting the bills. A reduction in expenses will allow your employee to quit his/her part-time job.

Very few people work because they actually want to. I have found most people will work or do something because of motivation or fear. Here are two examples:

  1. The employee wants to reach the next level in their life. They go from renting a small one-room studio to being able afford the $2,000 a month rent. hey want to level up and are willing to take on more work, responsibility, and leadership.
  2. They become uncomfortable. The fear of losing hours or getting in trouble will make someone uncomfortable. Once at this point, they need to do something about it. They do just enough work to get back to the area of comfort. Once they reach comfort, they do whatever it takes to maintain this status.

I think the majority of people fit into the second point over the first point. As humans, we want to feel comfortable. We want to be able to come home from work, kick our feet up, enjoy a good meal, have plenty of family and friends, and then repeat it. But once our comfort is challenged, that’s when most people will start getting motivated to do something about it. They do just enough to land themselves back in the comfort zone.

Next, I have found the majority of people who apply at a tanning salon do so because they have some type of interest in the services you provide. Maybe they tan with you or have received a spray tan before. I have interviewed employees who haven’t used any of our services but they heard from a friend, employee, or family member how positive and fun the environment is. The interest might not even be about tanning, but instead the excitement you and your staff create, and they want to be part of it.

The challenging part of management is keeping good quality employees on the schedule, making sure employees show up for their shift, employees are performing 100 percent of the time, and making sure employees are having a positive experience.  his is difficult to maintain, as we all probably know, but it is very possible.

I am going to let you in on what I am doing, and it’s something I still need to be better at, but it’s something I am working on every day. I am continually trying to create an environment to allow employees to trust us. 

It took me more than 20 years in management to fully understand the difference between a good management team and a bad management team and the damage they can do. It also took me that long to understand why some employees act the way they do. What I learned is it all comes down to just one simple word: trust.

Trust…if you have a lot of it, then it’s an amazing feeling. If you don’t have it or someone you know doesn’t have it in you, then it’s a miserable and defeating feeling.

The difference between a good management team and a bad management team solely depends on having trust. Everything else falls in line after. I noticed most employees aren’t quitting because they are going on to college or their career job; it’s because their manager hasn’t been present. At first, employees love the idea of not seeing their manager. They can get away with skipping some of the cleaning, won’t be talked to about their sales performance and they can be on their phone. But, what starts happening to the store? The numbers are dropping, the store isn’t as clean as it needs to be, and customers are starting to notice. The manager leaves notes and text messages about making sure the night shift gets their job done, but they don’t.

Most people would say the employee is the problem. Maybe? I do know for sure that the manager is to be blamed as well. A good manager will stay longer than they need so he/she can meet with the staff that works opposite shifts. The manager will find good communication methods to talk about what needs improving and also celebrate the victories. It’s always the victories that are forgotten.

Remember earlier when we talked about fear? “The fear of losing hours or getting in trouble will make someone uncomfortable.” Well, in this case, the manager is uncomfortable about the store numbers, so now for the first time, the manager reaches out to the employee. What if prior to this, the manager made time for the employee, met with them, built a strong work relationship, and celebrated the victories? Would the store numbers have ever slumped? Would the employee have acted in a negative way? I do know from my experience, a lot of employees quit because of the poor relationship they have with their manager.

Most employees act the way they do because it’s a reaction to the environment they are in – an environment that was created at no fault of the employees. I know I don’t always succeed with this, and it’s something that I continually work on each day. I hate hearing when an employee doesn’t show up for work and ends up quitting without a word. At first, I took that as disrespectful and childish. Now, I think about what we did to lead the employee to quit like this and what can be done to fix it.

Earlier in the article, I talked about one of the reasons someone applies to work for you. I discussed how someone looking to work knows the level of pay they are receiving for the work that is required. This pay then allows them to pay their bills. As stated, this is a reason for someone who is interested in working but it’s not the reason why someone stays.  They can go to 100 other places willing to pay $10 – $15 an hour. The reason someone stays is the trust (and respect) you are giving them.

When a new employee starts, they are eager to learn and to prove themselves. As the new employee becomes a “regular” employee, the excitement of the new job dissipates. This point is important because it’s up to management (not employees) whether they succeed or not.

Let me explain.

If the manager is nonexistent, works the opposite shift, is a poor communicator, or any of the other ways someone can be a bad manager, the employee is left alone to fend for themself. He/she is either at the mercy of coworkers or working by themselves. Either way, a lack of contact with the manager will eliminate any trust the employee has in the company. This employee is solely working for a paycheck.

If the manager is present, makes sure to work a few hours or shifts with the employee, and is great at communicating, you will start to see the employee develop a relationship with the company that is about more than just a paycheck. The employee will start to feel like an important part of the team. You will see better sales, better work ethic, and an overall positive attitude due to a positive environment.  The employee who now trusts his/her manager is no longer going to be the person who doesn’t show up or complains about their job.

If you are upper management or a salon owner, don’t for a second think you are off the hook because you can blame a poor store manager for any of these issues. It’s the opposite! You allowed this to happen, and usually you are doing the exact same thing the manager is doing with their employees, but with the store manager. It’s human nature to gravitate toward people who you already have a positive relationship with. To create a positive relationship, it takes both parties involved, and it takes one of them being willing to take a step forward to allow the process of “trusting” to happen. This person needs to make time and do this with as many employees as possible. The more you do it, the less employee issues you will see.

Almost 100 percent of the time, when I hear an employee quit, I haven’t met them yet or, worse yet, I haven’t seen them in a while. The employees who tend to stay with us longer, I have a stronger work relationship with. It all comes down to trust because relationships can only work if there is trust. Once trust is lost, the employee has moved on. The funny thing about trust is it doesn’t cost anything but time – our most valuable assets we have and can give. When you can give someone your time, you have given them more than any paycheck can.