A Franchisee's Life: 5 Ways to Get Your Staff Excited About Community Projects

By Beth Caron

Jeff Lehman and his wife Janie own six Great Clips salons in the Cleveland and Youngstown, Ohio markets. As individual owners, they’ve always been active in their salon communities. Through community partnerships, Jeff and other franchisees in the area have successfully raised money for local charities—bringing much needed support for these organizations, and in turn, increased visibility to their businesses.

In an earlier blog, Jeff shared how “doing good” for the community was also good for business. In this post, he shares his ideas for getting your staff to support these community efforts.

In our salons, everyone knows we’ve done good through our community projects. We’ve written the big checks, we’ve donated large amounts of food and we’ve given away a lot of haircuts. I couldn’t do any of this without my staff.

Whether it’s giving free haircuts to veterans on Veteran’s Day, or collecting school supplies during Back to School, or raising money for our local children’s hospital, my stylists and managers are completely on board—even though in many of these situations, they are most likely losing money in tips or personal time.

One example of that: Our salons work with organizations that assist people who are out of a job; we offer free haircuts to their clients. Sometimes those folks don’t have a lot of extra money and don’t tip as well as they normally would.

Here are a few ways to get your employees on board:

1. Be clear about your expectations. At orientation, I tell them my goal is to be the most important small business in the community we serve, and that they are part of that bigger effort.

2. Communicate early and often. Give your staff the chance to sign up for events that work best with their schedule.

3. Make it easy. With rare exceptions, we don’t do things off site.

4. Clarify what’s paid time. When stylists and managers are working on community projects, they get paid, but they are not getting tips.

5. Show your appreciation. Say “Thank you.” Celebrate individual and team accomplishments. Brag about them to customers and anyone who will listen!

Our stylists appreciate that this is part of our company culture and it’s how we give back to our community. The stylists feel involved because they are involved. It may not be entirely altruistic because eventually, this will also increase our business, but mostly it is fulfilling to give back. My part of the bargain is to herald their great work out to the community.

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