A great place to work

Could effective employer branding be the answer to recruitment and retention issues? 

While a strong brand is important for attracting clients to your business, creating a solid and impressive employer brand can help your business compete for and retain the best talent. The idea is to position your salon or barbershop as the employer of choice – the business everybody wants to work for in your town or location, according to Alice Kirby, founder of Lockhart Meyer Salon Marketing and Salon Social Club. ‘It’s about creating a positive image and highlighting what a great place it is to work,’ says Alice.

The importance of branding

Employer branding serves two major purposes for any organisation, whether small or large: attracting new talent by enhancing the appeal of belonging, and retaining existing employees with job satisfaction through thoughtful communication strategies. ‘Building and nurturing your reputation as an awesome place to work is worth spending time and effort on because it does attract people – whether you have employees, rent chairs and spaces, or run freelance collectives,’ says Alice. And attracting talent is crucial right now, considering the industry’s current recruitment challenges. Stark data collected by the NHBF in its 2022 skills report reveals that 57% of hair and beauty businesses have unfilled vacancies, and more than half of vacancies have taken businesses over 16 weeks to fill.

‘Everybody’s trying to recruit right now, but putting out adverts and waiting for people to line up doesn’t really work these days, because anybody who’s any good has got so many choices,’ Alice notes. She believes this is why employer branding has really come to the fore and could also help with recruitment costs.

‘If you’re constantly marketing about what a great employer you are, you should have people coming to you,’ she adds. However, Alice stresses that employer branding is an ongoing process of showcasing your business and drawing attention to it. So how should it be done? Alice shares her top tips to executing it successfully:

Think social media

  • Your platforms are the perfect places to highlight and build your employer brand.
  • Planning and creating specific posts, stories, videos or reels are important in making the right impression.
  • Think of prospective employees as a separate target audience when creating posts, but don’t be worried that what you’re posting won’t be of interest to clients – it won’t offend them. Have fun with it and create content you’d want to watch.
  • Instagram has confirmed that its algorithm is giving preference to reels for 2023, so consider using them to gain the most reach!

What to post

  • Show off your team by highlighting your different employees and their job roles – ‘quickfire questions’ videos can be a great way to do this.
  • Promote any employee training or courses you off er, as well as employee perks and rewards structures.
  • Highlight career progression stories – ask staff members to talk about their career journey from where they started to where they are now, and what they’ve gained working for your business.
  • Turn great Google reviews into posts and highlight the staff member who received the review – make the post all about them.
  • Showcase awards won or entered by employees.
  • Highlight charity fundraisers, community events, or even nights out that the business organises or takes part in.
  • Share inspiring employee stories – whether they’re work or nonwork-related.

Share online

  • Create a dedicated career section on your website with several pages showing what you offer employees and how you can help with career progression.
  • Make it vibrant and exciting, as opposed to just one page introducing you and your team. This can help potential candidates understand how they could work in your salon and how it will improve and boost their professional development.
  • Drive traffic from social media posts to this part of your website.
  • Host any staff or salon blogs here.

Stay consistent

  • Employer branding is a form of marketing – it needs to be constant and consistent to be effective. Planning, evolving and keeping at it is crucial.
  • Check out Salesforce’s Instagram account for a great example of employer branding.


Samantha Turner-Meyer, NHBF digital marketing director, says: ‘Following on from Alice’s point on highlighting your business as a great place to work, inclusion is also really important – making your employees feel like part of a family will enhance their loyalty to you, filling them with a sense of pride in working for you.’ 


Rebecca Peters, research adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), suggests considering the following factors:


Find out how your employer brand is currently perceived by staff.

  • This could be done via employee surveys, focus groups and audits.
  • Are the results as expected? Could areas be improved on?


Build on your findings to create a clear picture of what your business stands for, offers and requires as an employer. This is your value proposition to employees.

  • This could include defining brand qualities and values, developing an overall creative brief, and mapping company characteristics.
  • Identify the culture of your business so it’s clear what it’s like to work for it.


Now it’s time to apply your brand.

  • This could include launching it internally (on your website or social media – see Alice’s Points to remember below), and applying it to induction, applicant information and assessment processes.


Monitor progress and maintain momentum.

  • For instance, check internal and external responses to the new brand.
  • Measure improvements in recruitment and retention figures.
  • Reward and recognise employees who demonstrate company values in their working lives.


Alice says:

  • Don’t over-promise – be authentic, transparent and genuine or you will be found out! Make sure you can live up to your own hype.
  • Don’t overlook opportunities for in-salon employer branding, such as noticeboards, framed employee qualifications or achievements, and photos of team nights out.
  • Don’t forget to add interesting employer branding posts to your e-newsletters – it could be read or forwarded on to a potential employee.