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Survive and Thrive

By Laura Root and James Mason
Posted: September 25, 2009, from the October 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
plant and soil in hand

page 4 of 7

Independent vs. employee. Be more direct with respect to independent contractors versus employee status. Get to know the IRS test for employees versus independents, and stick to it.

Reconsider rules. Eliminate unnecessary rules. Understand the esthetic environment is, by necessity, a fluid one, and rules and procedures should be put in place to help your team members do their jobs better, not constrain them from giving good service. When implementing rules, keep in mind the bottom line test, which asks, “Does this policy help team members contribute to the bottom line?” If it doesn’t—if it’s only a rule put in place to control behavior—strongly consider whether it should be in place at all.

Also, reconsider rules that diminish the general perception of professionalism in the eyes of your clients. It might be reasonable to ask your licensed staff members to cover the phones on occasion, but asking them to answer phones, sweep, make coffee and fold towels regularly is not a good use of their time, and it doesn’t increase client satisfaction. It’s not that licensed staff members are too important to contribute to these details, but relying on them to do housekeeping and clerical work on a consistent basis, especially as a substitute for hiring staff to do these duties, is almost always counterproductive.

Subject all your policies and procedures to a needs test. Ask yourself what would happen if this rule were not in place. If the answer is not much, you might want to eliminate the policy. It’s certainly worth your time to see how many policies you can eliminate while maintaining a positive business structure.

Hire better and more reasonably. After almost two decades of behavioral and multiple interviewing, the research pretty clearly indicates this technique isn’t really any better at predicting workplace success. Use your own knowledge and instincts, and hire with your gut. Of course, maintain all the checks you normally would, such as on an applicant’s background, education and so on, but trust yourself to make the final decision. If you like the candidate, the candidate likes you and it feels right, the chances that it will work out seem to be higher than using more involved interview methods.