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I recently spoke at SmashFly Transform (#TransformRM) about how Great Clips is gaining an unfair share of stylist talent across all 1200 franchise locations. In case you missed it, here are some of our key strategies that apply to all our franchises  and should also be a part of your recruitment marketing plan.

Each Great Clips franchise owner has unique markets to navigate, but they share a common business challenge: When it comes to hiring from a tightening pool of licensed stylists how do we attract, convince and convert Great Clips’ unfair share of talent?

At it’s core, the challenge is exactly the same for every franchise owner, so my team set out to deliver strategies we could replicate no matter where or when a new Great Clips franchise opens. 


The goal: simplify the ability to build meaningful relationships.

When great talent is either beginning a career or considering a change  they will tap their personal network first. So, how do you get into that inner circle? Have a relationship with the person. Seems obvious, but the devil is in the execution.

Building relationships takes time. It takes effort. Most of all it takes trust. What chiropractor/engineer/lawyer who happens to own a Great Clips franchise has time for that, right?

That’s where recruitment marketing professionals like you and I come in. Although you may not serve a franchise business model, I’ll bet you a really great haircut that the hiring challenges your business units face are similar. To that end, here are my recommendations on how to simplify the way you business leaders build meaningful relationships with the talent you seek:


First, start with a solid employer brand strategy and articulation.

If you can’t articulate why it’s amazing to work at your organization, there is zero chance the talent you want will just magically get it. When I started at Great Clips, the employer brand and consumer brand were one in the same. We were trying to appeal to very creative, mostly female stylists using language designed to speak to the average young guy who waits until the last minute to get a haircut  barely the sames species, let alone language.

How did we fix it? We interviewed stylists about why they enjoy working at Great Clips. We ended up using their answers to build a brand based on four pillars that were important to them: creativity, development, team environment and our unique value proposition  instant income via instant customers.


Second, build a content strategy.
Your peers over in marketing are intimately familiar with the term content strategy  it’s probably all they talk about because it is gold. When done well it tells a story, makes a connection and ultimately builds a relationship. It’s no different for recruitment marketing. To stay relevant and have a reason to connect, you need authentic content. The strategy comes in when you clearly define the purpose of the content, clarify who it’s for and determine the best way to deliver it. When we began thinking about content, we had to understand what our audience wanted – again, we went to Great Clips stylists. For us, content focused on things we could be the authentic experts in, for example, trending hair techniques or what to bring to an interview (like cutting shears).


Third, knock, knock, knock … housekeeping!

Most data is a mess. Without accurate details and relevant segmentation, you’ll always just spray and pray. For our franchise owners, data meant 200,000 contacts “organized” on postcards and paper applications, and if we were lucky, the occasional Excel spreadsheet. Every contact Great Clips had looked identical on paper.

We created a plan to learn more about the individuals in the Great Clips talent network. We decided to implement a recruitment marketing system. We put them all in the new system and went out after them again with new messaging, inviting them to come back and share additional information that could guide future opportunities at Great Clips to make connections.


Fourth, build an engagement strategy that tees up hiring stakeholders to be in the right place at the right time.

The average person will now be in the job market at least 10 times in their career. That’s a lot of opportunities to be in the right place at the right time. Yet, the only way to do that is to connect with a frequency that keeps your brand top of mind.

In order to build an engagement strategy that keeps our franchise owners in touch and top of mind, we implemented a recruitment marketing platform that automates content delivery, scheduled regular touchpoints and allows for ongoing updates to “relationship status” with stylists.

For example, our franchise owners may meet a stylist on campus who thinks they want to go full-service right out of school. While we used to wish them luck and part ways, now, we simply ask permission to check in with them in 60 days and schedule a reminder for ourselves.

More often than not, new stylists are struggling to build a client base and suffering financially. That’s when the content we’ve built around our unique value proposition of instant income really plays in our favor. It’s amazing how many stylists connect with that message and apply for a job  I like to think of it as an unfair advantage. 

At the highest level, our job as recruitment marketing professionals is to make the process of building relationships simple for both the business we serve and the talent we seek. If we can do that, we’re set to gain our unfair share of talent.

If you’d like to learn more about our recruitment marketing journey at Great Clips, you can watch my Transform presentation here!


About GreatClips:

Great Clips is family-owned and privately held. We are one of the first to pioneer the no appointments, convenient haircut only salon business models. Today, we have over 4,000 salons employing 40,000 stylists, doing over 100 million haircuts a year. Which actually makes us the largest haircare brand in the world. We operate salons in Canada and United States and we have over 1,200 salon owners or franchisees. Great Clips is currently the fastest growing salon brand in the country.

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