Yes, it’s true: Baby boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials are motivated differently—after all, they are from different generations. But that doesn’t mean they can’t all work together in harmony. Managing staff is challenging enough. So what do you do when you’re working diverse age groups with different goals and concepts of what it means to be successful? “You need to identify what motivates each individual and adapt your management style to their interests and personality,” says Lucie Houde, a management consultant and president of Archétypes-Inter, a consultation firm that specializes in mediation and management for companies employing diverse groups of people. “But you really have to make sure you’re being fair by offering all your staff the same options.”
Who Are They and What Makes Them Tick?
The Millennials (or Generation Y)
Born between 1981 and 2000: Tech-savvy, reward-driven and independent. Looking for work-life balance and want to be treated as equals from day one on the job.
Gen-Xers (Generation X)
Born between 1965 and 1980: Idealists and individualists who enjoy a good challenge. Adaptable, resourceful and the least demanding of the groups because they’ve faced many career challenges.
Boomers (Baby boomers)
Born between 1946 and 1964: Career-driven, value stability and respect hierarchy. They work best with clearly stated goals and tasks.
The advantage? A diverse group means more viewpoints and expanded creativity, which is a godsend in the salon business. Anna Pacitto, co-owner of a group that runs 35 salons (including Montreal’s Pure Salon) and an academy, says involving millennials from day one definitely creates a strong team environment. “We always have our younger staff involved in photo shoots and whatever we’re doing creatively. It feeds them and fuels ideas too, in return. We look at anything there is a need for and create a workshop where everyone can learn and further their skills.”
Having a diverse group is enriching for any business but particularly for a salon, where creativity and skill go hand in hand. “Give your younger staff the possibility to get involved by presenting them a goal that they can reach,” says Pacitto. “Start by having your younger stylists shadow senior talents to develop their skills.” And in return, millennials can show your older stylists how to harness the power of social media and publicize the work they’ve mastered over the years, which will help your salon get more clout.
Take a team approach
Honour each employee’s contribution, particularly when you’re working as a team, when putting together a Contessa collection. Encourage seniors to show young stylists proven ways to properly finish a hairstyle, while millennials can bring more current influences. It’s very easy for employees to become confrontational when there is too much focus on generational differences. Working together on creative projects, helps overcome differences and encourage a more harmonious environment.
The dreaded discipline
It’s a fact: Younger employees who grew up with the Internet and probably saw their parents work remotely want a very flexible schedule. “I give them time slots and they can pick from those, but they have to stick to that schedule once they choose it. I’m a little bit more flexible if employees are working on TV shows or something related to the business outside the salon, but they still need to be accountable,” says Pacitto. You need control if you want to manage your salon successfully. And, in the end, if your stylists don’t do their hours, they won’t see their pay cheques increase. Stylists who make the most money are usually the ones who spend the most time in the salon. Just by being available at the front of the salon, they can add extra clients to their schedule. “Never underestimate the number of walk-ins,” reminds Pacitto.