Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, barbershops in the UK were closed down for over 100 days. Salon suppliers and wholesalers were also shut down and we knew things were going to change in the industry when the final restrictions were lifted and barbers could finally return to work.
In order to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus inside barbershops which are now starting to re-open, barbershops have adhered to national guidelines set by the government in order to maintain maximum protection against the virus, which includes all barbers wearing visors, frequent sanitising of customers, tools and screens of the premises as well as social distancing when possible inside the salons.
In an effort to reduce as much contact with the public as possible, we wanted to know if it was possible to pick up all of your salon stocks and requirements online and get them delivered to your door as opposed to taking unnecessary trips out to the local suppliers.
In this time, new online wholesale companies have began to emerge, a sign of the times perhaps, trade supply businesses seemingly operating smarter with much lower overheads to the traditional wholesale cash and carry supermarket model.
One of those new businesses we found is Finest Barbers, a new to UK market wholesale company adding value to barbershop owners who have taste for the finer things in life when it comes to barber products, set up by two brothers Scott and Stefan Michaels from Lancaster, Lancashire.
Stefan told us, “We set up Finest Barbers right in the middle of lockdown, as we could see that barbers and hairdressers were going to be shopping online for their hair products more than ever before, using their trade discount benefits to stock popular brands which they then sell on to their clients.
Ordinary people including barbers are already used to limiting the number of times they visit the supermarkets now, organizing online deliveries for their groceries, and barbers shopping for professional hair salon products is no different.
Some barbers have been shopping online for their hair products for years, it’s nothing new, but with what’s going on it’s definitely on the rise. It also appeals to those that prefer to spend their time making money in their shop instead of taking afternoons off to push a trolley around the local hair and beauty wholesalers. We offer free next day delivery straight to your barbershop door, so no need to even worry about the weather, or paying for parking.
We looked at the traditional cash and carry model and thought, we could do a better job online, with more exclusive service and more selective on products, specializing in an array of values specifically designed to help and add value to barbers in areas the competition don’t or can’t as they don’t have the resources, whilst keeping everything super easy and barber friendly.
We decided to make Finest Barbers trade specialists limited, exclusive, only stocking the finest products, for the finest barbers, and as the fight against the virus continues, we are still giving away the finest sanitizer sprays we could find on the market, free with orders.
Whilst this global business is growing, we want to plan to launch Finest Barbers in a whole host of countries by 2021”
Will you be shopping online the next time you need barbershop supplies?
Find out more about Finest Barbers at FinestBarbers.com
Umar Nisar was born and raised in the busy city of Abbottabad. As a journalist, Umar Nisar has contributed to many online publications including PAK Today and the Huffing Post. In regards to academics, Umar Nisar earned a degree in business from the Abbottabad UST, Havelian. Umar Nisar follows the money and covers all aspects of emerging tech here at The Hear Up.
Great Resignation: How to beat Great Resignation with Employee Experience
The world was forever changed in late 2019 when the Coronavirus made its appearance. Countries shut down. Streets were empty. Companies held as best they could or were forced to close their doors. Many would believe that such an event would lead to employees wanting to hold on to their jobs. Typically, large numbers of resignations signify a good economy and abundant availability of jobs allowing people to follow passions instead of necessity.
Post-COVID employee experience is much different.
For two years, and some a bit more, people were forced to spend time alone, realigning the importance of human interaction, well-being, and happiness. This drive for more personal fulfilment, satisfaction, and growth stemmed The Great Resignation.
No longer were employees basing staying with jobs out of need or comfortability. Now they look for work-homelife balance, greater satisfaction and better employee experiences, or they will leave. So how do companies face this? How do they increase employee retention and improve employee engagement?
The secret is in employee experience.
Holistic Employee Experience
There are, of course, no quick fixes for the Great Resignation, small wins can motivate and drive longer-term goals for your organization. The Great Resignation—and COVID by extension—taught many employees that life meant so much more. That the daily grind working in offices with long commutes, stress, lack of rest or relaxation, and the hustle of strenuous work weeks while normal was not conducive to happiness and mental well-being.
But this shift can be used as a blueprint for better employee experience!
Companies who work on being human-centric in ideals, strategies, and decision-making can improve greatly their chances of stemming mass exodus. Post-covid employee experience is now the new golden standard, and it looks at taking a more comprehensive and holistic view of experiences.
How can you be more holistic and how does it help?
- Think beyond probationary periods – Your employees are more important than the first 30, 60, or 90 days of employment, and yet many companies stop professional development and training after these dates. Normalize career growth, evaluations, employee 360 reports, and feedback loops to keep learning and advancement in the scope of your employees. While doing this, you’re also keeping your strategies and Key Performance Indicators—KPIs—fresh as you go.
- Communication is key – Talk to your employees about what they need, want, desire, and what their ambitions may be. Learn your people like you want them to learn your company. With transparent and open communication, you are engaging with your employees and creating an environment of consistency, openness, and inclusion—aspects employees’ desire.
- Employee-centric Corporate Culture – It may seem like the best idea is to center your company culture around the company’s values, vision, and strategies, but this is only half the battle. Integrating employee experience into the fabric of company culture ensures the company is as focused on their employees’ happiness as their own. It creates a bond to grow engagement, which has an effect on employee satisfaction and experience. As these rates increase, so to can employee retention numbers and customer experiences.
- Life and work-balance Erasure – Should your employees have to ask for more work-life balance? No, they shouldn’t. When built directly into work environments or expectations, it becomes something standard instead of something to be sought after. Examples of this could be:
- Flex hours
- Unlimited PTO
- Work-from-home or hybrid offerings
- Expanded benefits to include mental health and free resources
- Altered work hour schedules
Rise of Human Experience
Human Experience is a viewpoint that blends aspects of customer experience with employee experience, important in a post-COVID world. Instead of viewing them as separate entities entirely, companies can connect metrics and measurements of both to view a more comprehensive experience. Employees are customers—or potential ones—and as such, so too can customers become employees. With this view, it refocuses employee experiences in direct answer to the needs stemming The Great Resignation.
Ways you can use CX strategies within EX:
- Employee Journey Mapping – Like in customer experience, companies can work on mapping journeys for positions within the company overall, building in professional development and growth from the outset. They can then alter these journeys through personalization when an employee fills that role.
- Monitoring metrics – connect goals, milestones, and trajectories with metric directly linked to KPIs. Think employee net promoter score (eNPS), employee experience (EX), employee satisfaction (ESAT), and employee engagement (EE), for example, as they can correlate with operational success as well as customer success with your organization.
- View of employees – view your employees with the importance you view your customers. You cannot survive without either, and just as you court customer loyalty for more profitable relationships, so to can employee relations boost revenue, growth, and expansion.
Remote and Hybrid Work
One of the lasting effects of COVID was the desire to work from home or have the flexibility to. According to Gallup, nearly half of full-time working Americans—45%—are still working remotely. White collar workers have even higher percentage, coming in at 70%. After the shutdown, many leaders were surprised to find employees still wanted to work remotely. The Pandemic exposed an internal need for conducive work environments and flexibility.
The office and all it entailed wasn’t as attractive as some leadership believed.
It was agile leadership who switched to maintaining remote or hybrid options who won out against competitors. Record job openings only further highlight how living is more important, and work can no longer be focused on only paying bills. Organizations who shift better with their employees retain talent better.
Remote work is not the only fix, but it does show how views of work’s place have vastly changed.
Act on Meaningful Feedback
Closing the loop between you and your employees is more important than ever before. Simply hearing them is not enough. Active, empathetic listening pair with actions on a consistent basis is the wining combination. Employees not only want to know they are heard but that their input is valued.
Regularly checking in with your employees, and not only attaching it to their performance, creates a culture of partnership.
Ways to gain meaningful feedback to inspire data-driven action:
- Employee 360 Review [LN1] [SP2] – not to be confused with an employee evaluation, the 360-degree review is a way for all employees to gain feedback from peers, subordinates, and managers to assist employee self-evaluation.
- Pulse checks – a powerful anonymous survey tool. Pulse checks are in between annual reviews and keep the feedback coming for HR initiatives, but it can also inform business strategies that are employee-focused as well.
- Surveys – From satisfaction to engagement, the best thing you can do is ask your employees. Working from assumptions can lead you down costly mistakes. By asking directly you can get their true opinions—think of using anonymity to influence candid responses.
The biggest takeaway from this is: employee experiences is an important part of operational success. The evolution of its importance and what it means cannot be discounted. Doing so can led to higher employee turnover rates and you won’t retain your best talent. As employee experience continues to change, the forward-thinking companies with innovative leadership will make it to the top.
[LN1]Would it be okay to tag our template here?
Yes, we can [SP2]
Khalil ur Rehman is a proud born and raised in Abbottabad. Khalil has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Yahoo News and The Verge. As a journalist for The Hear Up, Khalil covers climate and science news. [email protected]