Skin Fairy, Carmen McNamara, On Hiring, Training and Retaining Her Teams

Are you struggling to find new staff?

The beauty and aesthetics industries are facing a shortage of staff that’s only been exacerbated by pandemic-induced restrictions. Between therapists moving to new industries while clinics were closed, leaving cities for country or coastal lifestyles and the reduction of international arrivals, it’s been hard for businesses to hire and retain teams.

A number of new education initiatives are a step in the right direction for the industry but in the short-term, learning from others and making small changes in the day-to-day of your business may be the best defence against staffing challenges.

Carmen McNamara is the Founder of Skin Fairy that operates from two successful locations in Perth with more than 15 staff across both. Her journey to success hasn’t been without challenges, however Carmen has developed a winning formula for growing her team and expanding her business without losing the attention to detail and client care the brand has become known for.

What led you to starting your own business?

I had ambitions to run my own business from a very young age. It was never an ‘if’ – it was ‘when’. After working for other companies, I knew the aspects that worked and the ones that didn’t. It was about adapting the best parts to create a positive, inspiring space and culture for my staff. I am humbled to be doing what I do now. It’s a lifelong dream come true.

Why do you think the beauty industry is struggling with staffing at the moment?

Skin Fairy founder, Carmen McNamara

I believe it’s a combination of factors. Local therapists are staying put for job security, and the pandemic and border closures mean interstate migration has been low. It’s forced businesses to take a fresh look at their structure and team and make positive changes for a nurturing and inspiring culture. Two years ago, I was looking at 30-40 resumes every time I placed an advertisement. Now, my business and many others are having enormous challenges recruiting new therapists and team members. Hopefully, we’ll see this change very soon.

What are the key factors that have helped you build such strong and lasting teams at your Skin Fairy clinics?

Trust is the most crucial factor in running a successful business with a healthy and positive culture.  We are always open and connected to our team. We bond together over our common goals and core values and continue to build a strong foundation based on solid pillars and values. It’s a game-changing move for a business and makes its team stronger. We celebrate our wins and work on our faults as a business and team. Equally important is our passion for helping others and genuinely loving what we do.

What can clinic owners do to improve their hiring and retention strategies?

Take care of their recruits. Set clear guidelines, including outlining what is expected of them and how you plan to help them develop their skills. Importantly, ask them what they can bring to the business. A training plan and a culture plan help define what the company is all about and provide them with the ‘rules of the game’. It makes staff accountable and emphasises how important it is for them to uphold company values.

What do you think needs to change for the industry as a whole to create better staffing pipelines?

Pay your staff’s superannuation correctly and on time. Most of my therapists haven’t been paid by previous employers or received it late, so they lose interest. I have experienced this personally. One of my employers didn’t pay my superannuation for five years. Unfortunately, it’s commonplace in this industry, and it needs to change. I openly teach my team and new fairies how superannuation works, from how much they should be paid to how they can check their balance. I want to design a business module for beauty schools nationwide. It’s a crucial part of their training.

What are your secrets for finding and retaining a strong and loyal team in your clinic? Let us know in the comments.

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