Established Sport Clips team leaders open up about how a strong business culture creates a recipe for scalability and continual growth
“Workplace culture” is a term that often gets thrown around as an important aspect of a business, but it’s not often a company makes it a priority. That’s where Val Hill and Jared Lee step in for the Sport Clips Franchise.
Hill and Lee run more than 40 Sport Clips Haircuts franchises throughout Arizona, Oregon and Washington. And what’s been their secret to success? Making sure the workplace culture is one all team members want to be part of. Not only does a positive culture in the workplace lead to strong team member engagement, but it also improves the overall happiness of staff, increases productivity, and helps retention and recruitment efforts.
Hill and Lee, who met in business school at Brigham Young University, realized during the COVID pandemic it was going to take some serious financial management and business acumen to survive. But they relied on the strength of the relationships they’d built with their teams and worked with them to meet the challenges of the pandemic head on.
“I would say one of the key aspects that helped us is that we didn’t lay anyone off,” Hill told The Chandler Arizonan in a feature piece about their Sport Clips franchise locations. “We continued to pay all of our people, and this was before the PPP loan or any of that. We made the determination that our people are our biggest asset, and we need to take care of our people.”
While other people were losing their jobs and relying on unemployment, Hill and Lee paid their teams’ full salaries when businesses were forced to close due to local mandates. The two businessmen were able to pull this off because, with incredible foresight and planning, they had been fiscally conservative and had saved enough money during the good times in anticipation of any potential rocky times.
And because Hill and Lee paid their staff during shutdowns, they were in a unique position to hit the ground running once restrictions were lifted, a time when many other businesses had lost their staff and were forced to find people to rehire – further proof that investing in the workplace and staff pays off in the end.
“I think what that helped us do is that it helped us get us reopened quickly,” Hill said.
As a result of how the two men expertly created such a strong culture among their team members and navigated the uncharted territories of the pandemic, they were named Sport Clips Franchise Team Leaders of the Year for 2020. Hill and Lee have been successful Sport Clips franchisees for more than a decade, reinvesting in their business to be able to open more locations. And how do just two businessmen handle operating more than 40 locations in three states? They’ll tell you it’s the people they hire and trust.
“The key to it all is you have to have good people that you work with,” Lee said. “We have an amazing group of area managers and store managers.”
Hill added staff are empowered to take on larger roles, “The store manager views that store as her store. They’re empowered to hire and fire and spend money to buy what they need. We don’t constrain them much.”