So much has been written about the Millennial generation and what makes them tick. They are certainly different from the previous generations, particularly in some of the visual ways. (Can all those body piercings affect a good FM radio signal?) But, there are many ways they’re quite similar to Baby Boomers and Generation X. The majority of all human beings simply want to seek pleasure and avoid pain. As a tanning salon owner, it’s up to you to make your work environment more pleasurable and less painful for your young staff.
Follow these three simple steps to make your business more Millennial friendly:
Step 1: The Right Attitude
Simply put, tanning salon owners need to lose the it’s-my-way-or-the-highway attitude. This is especially true if you’re only paying minimum wage. (You should be paying your staff more, but more on that in a bit.) This attitude does not work with Millennials. If you use this approach, your salon employees will only stay as long as it takes to find a better job with a nicer boss. You might not think that the “revolving door” is a big problem until you have a mass exodus right before peak season. Can you imagine? I don’t even want to think about it!
Millennials tend to be a sensitive yet socially aware generation. To properly manage this demographic, you need to provide the with structure, such as clear-cut policies such as “no cell phone use during their shifts. You also must be a mentor to them. Communication with Millennials using honesty and tact, and find ways to challenge and engage them, such as contests that reward them for their efforts. There are a variety of strategies you can use to motivate and manage your Millennial tanning salon employees.
Step 2: Pay More Than Minimum Wage
When you’re paying minimum wage or just above it, you’re not giving your employees an incentive to continue to work in your tanning salon. There are many minimum wage jobs out there and Millennials tend to go through them quickly until they find one that makes them happy. Also, it’s hard to create job satisfaction when you’re only paying the bare minimum. There is no incentive for loyalty. Where there is no loyalty, there is huge turnover and a rainbow of issues inherent with a salon full of employees who don’t care about the owner’s interests.
Get your compensation and rewards system in order so you can be the employer of choice. Every tanning salon has different demographics, so it will take some research on your part to come up with an hourly wage that’s competitive yet won’t cut too deeply into your tanning salon’s profits. A word about this – the more you’re willing to pay your tanning salon employees, the better quality employee you’ll attract. Your goal is to lure someone with retail sales experience away from their current job and into your tanning salon.
Step 3: Give Them More Responsibility
Yes, you probably hired your Millennial staff to clean tanning beds and booths, check guests in, and try to make as many upgrade, tanning lotion, and EFT membership sales as they can. These duties are challenging but not always fun. It’s been my experience that if you add a little fun to their workday, you’ll get a positive response from your younger employees. You get bonus points for those times when you give them credit for being the experts. With a staff of Millennials, you do have some marketing experts at your disposal.
You already know that Millennials are the experts at social media. I highly recommend that you utilize this experience. Put their skills, experience, and friends lists to good use by letting them help with your social media marketing. Share this article on social media marketing with them and get their ideas on how they can help. Take it from me, they’ll love the idea that the boss came to them to ask for their expertise. There’s another bonus to this as well – you’ll likely attract new tanners. Better yet, many of these new tanners will likely be Millennials!
Embrace Change and Millennial Tanning Salon Employees
Managing Millennials is just one more adjustment today’s tanning salon owners must learn to make. There was a time not too long ago that we were a “field of dreams” industry. You know, if you build it (a tanning salon), they will come. All that changed in the late 2000s with the convergence of a shipwrecked economy and some horrible tanning press. The dollars salon owners profit today are dollars that are well earned. There is no low-lying fruit to pick up anymore, and harvesting the fruit that’s left requires everyone’s commitment. Use these tips to manage and motivate the Millennials at your tanning salon.