Sunday, March 30, 2008

Brutal Meeting!

Our last Monday meeting was so brutal it's taken me a week to be able to blog about it. We have been on Team Based Pay for six months. At the time we converted everyone from commission to hourly, we promised to revisit pay at the end of six months. Provided the salon was meeting goals, we would be able to make some pay increases.

Well, we have grown a lot, but not as much as our goals. Furthermore, our key ratio for determining if we could pay raises is below our goal. We want our Cost of Sales to be 55% or lower before we give raises. Eventually that figure will be 50%, but for now we are trying to get to 55%.

The team has worked very hard. The moves we have made created more business so everyone is busier than they were six months ago. In spite of that, we're still around 57 or 58% COS.

My team felt blind-sided when they learned that there would be no raises. That caught me off-guard because it was no secret that we have missed our revenue goals. All of this was communicated at the Monday meeting preceeding the "brutal" one.

So that's the's the story...

The team totally reamed me and my manager. They were vicious - even personal. They were particularly hard on the salon manager, but I think she was just the easier target for them - I know they were really directing it at both of us.

At one point, one of the massage therapists placed the blame for missed goals on us (they were all working hard, so if we still didn't make goal it must be our fault) and wanted to know who holds us accountable. She said the salon manager should have been working extra hours to get revenue up and that owners and managers should be available 24/7 for everyone.

They were like an angry mob. Once it got started it just wouldn't stop. One person says she gets passed around from me to the manager when she has a question (only true when she tries to play "mom" against "dad"). Another says whenever she brings forward an idea it is squashed (totally untrue - she later retracted when we spoke privately). Another complains that we don't have insurance and a pension plan. It became a huge bitch session (and "bitch" can be either a verb or a noun in that sentence).

It was an awful, awful meeting.

During the meeting I did not respond to any of their allegations. I knew they needed to vent and didn't want to appear defensive. (I later found out my failure to react during the meeting pissed them off too).

So where are we now? Well, clearly there is a morale issue so I can't just ignore it. And there were some valid points made during the meeting, particularly who holds management accountable.

So tomorrow's Monday meeting is all about management accountability. We are going to discuss what everyone thinks are management's most important roles and who should perform them (manager or owner). We'll discuss what they need from mgt to be happy and successful in their careers. We'll talk about how to measure the performance of management. In doing that we'll create somewhat of a job description for the management team.

After last Monday a big part of me wanted to just chuck it all. Another part wanted to tell them to quit whining and suck it up. But I do care about the business and I care about each of them. It's important to me that we work together and not be a dysfunctional family. So we're going to move forward, positively and see what we can create together.

Wish me luck.


  1. good luck & prayers for unity. somtimes people need to think about what was said before they realize they may be in error. as for me - it's nice to know that i'm not alone in feeling that my efforts to create a fair, healthy, happy & harmonious workplace sometimes goes unnoticed & unappreciated. hang in there!

  2. I'm reading this a few years after the fact, and I have to say, this is becoming a real page-turner! (I see you haven't updated since 2009, so maybe you'll never see this, but I love reading your accounts!)