Recruiting and retaining quality stylists is top priority for Sport Clips Haircuts. Its newly formed Ambassador Program is evident of the brand’s steadfast commitment to becoming the employer of choice among the stylist community. With the program comes another layer of consistent support to team leaders so they can find the best team members to help deliver the championship experience to clients.
Trained and certified Sport Clips ambassadors help spread brand awareness and culture in cosmetology schools, planting seeds and nurturing relationships with future stylists. “These ambassadors are stylists who have a passion for Sport Clips. Their excitement for helping stylists learn about the tremendous opportunities with this brand is genuine and their passion is contagious,” says Mary Burlingame, future professional talent specialist for Sport Clips.
Burlingame joined the Sport Clips team to help spearhead the ambassador program, bringing with her more than 20 years of experience at one of the industry’s leading names in cosmetology education, Paul Mitchell. Under her direction the program has grown from six lead ambassadors to 76 in just one year and that number continues to grow.
In addition to attending career fairs and open houses, ambassadors lead a series of educational classes. Burlingame and her team have created an educational offering that has quickly become highly sought after by cosmetology schools throughout the county. Through high energy presentations and lessons that incorporate games and prizes, ambassadors teach future stylists about the defined career path, development opportunities and value-based culture that are unique advantages to Sport Clips.
“Schools are now inviting us to come in and give presentations. The lessons are fun, engaging and focused on personal and career development. Students have responded extremely well, and the schools see the value these lessons bring,” says Burlingame.
Covering topics such as the importance of aligning personal goals and values with career goals and tips on how to choose the right team to join, the presentations provide tools for stylists just starting out in the industry. Ambassadors also lead discussions on what it is like to work in a franchised salon versus what it’s like to rent a booth or work for an employee-based salon.
“Each employment environment has certain aspects that they might not be aware of, aspects that could determine if it’s the right fit for them. For example, Sport Clips has locations nationwide, allowing stylists more choices of where they want to live. These students may have never considered that advantage before,” explains Burlingame.
Besides adding educational value, the ambassador program provides additional support to the team leaders in these markets. Burlingame comments, “In the past, team leaders would take it upon themselves to go into the schools and recruit, but often their messaging would fall short and miss the target. This program streamlines the messaging and protects the brand integrity while leveraging resources to reach the stylist community in a way an individual team leader (franchisee) can’t.”
Part of reaching the future stylist community is to speak their language, a demographic that largely falls in the 18- to- 24-year age range. Burlingame explains, “You are really speaking to a generation. They communicate differently and are motivated in different ways than older generations. Alignment in values is very important when they join a team. They want to know that you care and will take care of them. Relationships are highly valued. They also want flexibility and a fun work atmosphere. We show them that Sport Clips is all those things and offers a defined career path with plenty of opportunities for personal and career development.”
Burlingame concludes, “Even if a stylist doesn’t come work for us straight out of school, we have planted a seed. We have heard stylists come to us after their second or third job, having not found the right fit. They remember hearing the opportunities available with Sport Clips. These opportunities differentiate this brand in the salon industry and speak for themselves, we are just helping future professionals become more aware of them.”
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