Genesail, Inc. operates multiple Sport Clips franchisees across Idaho, each location with its own culture and style of internal communications. Despite the uncertainty of 2020 and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company added three locations.
This rapid growth across a distributed workforce raised distinct challenges for Genesail’s leadership, making it harder than ever to keep a largely deskless and increasingly remote workforce on the same page. Without having its stylists regularly present in stores, it became exceedingly difficult to cascade information across the organization and manage scheduling processes. As owner Jason Bowman describes Genesail, “We have a company environment that is not your typical office, where everybody sits down at a computer and has an email or an easy way to be contacted. The average age of our employees is mid-twenties, and a lot of these employees are living their lives on their phones - they don’t use a computer.”
As the Genesail team prepared to grow their footprint by 33%, Jason knew that they would need to get two things right if they wanted the expansion to succeed: scheduling and communication. With a growing and more distributed team, the need to get scheduling, one of the biggest drivers of profitability and success for the business, right was paramount. “There were big gaps in how we communicated, and I thought there could be improvements in how we manage our scheduling,” said Jason. “I was looking for a really good process to communicate schedules and manage changes on an everyday basis. That’s what drove us to Crew.”
After introducing Crew, Genesail quickly saw 100% adoption across the organization and the benefits to improved communication where it mattered most: scheduling. “Since payroll is our biggest expense, being able to accurately allocate payroll dollars to the right hours while meeting demand is key in our business,” explained Jason. “If I had to pick one thing we do that we spend time and resources on and try to get right, it would be scheduling. Finding the right balance is the difference between a store that’s struggling and a store that is performing very well.”
Not only was efficient and effective scheduling critical to Genesail’s business success, but it was central to their value proposition to clients. “Our business model is developed around convenience. If our clients aren't able to conveniently come in and get a quick, good quality haircut then it completely goes against what we're built around, said Jaymee Hooten, Area Manager. “In order to make that a success, scheduling is huge. Crew has been really effective for me with schedules.”
Being able to trade shifts on Crew has been extremely helpful with finding shifts for stores in an easy way. I can send it out globally, or I can send directly to the managers and they can then share with their teams. Crew has been amazing with finding shift coverage and giving us a good indicator of staffing levels - it's been a definite time-saver.”
Jaymee Hooten, Area Manager, Genesail, Inc.
Crew helps Genesail strengthen and maintain its culture with each new team member and each new location they open. With easy communication and visibility across the team, stylists can share best practices, information about new products, and problem-solve together. Crew also enables leadership to reach out directly to stylists, and vice versa, allowing for a bidirectional flow of real-time communication that keeps everyone on the same page.
“One of the biggest things Crew has given me is the ability to be closer to the managers and the stylists. Especially during COVID-19, I am very happy we had Crew, because it would have otherwise been so difficult to communicate in a fast-changing environment,” noted Jason. “We needed to communicate down to the stylist level. The Announcement feature came in extremely handy - you can send messages and updates out to everyone about what’s happening.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic radically changed Genesail’s operations, Crew made it easy for the team to stay in touch about evolving circumstances and guidelines, especially as Jason and his wife, co-owner, launched a benefits program to help stylists returning to work. They were able to share important and timely information to team members about how to access the benefits - and importantly, reopen sooner. “I think people appreciated that communication, that help. It helped us pull through and keep us feeling like we’re all on one team. It’s been a huge benefit,” Jason said.
I definitely feel like it was a big blessing in disguise that we had Crew right before we went into this [COVID-19 lockdown]. It helped keep our message consistent, in a direct line of communication, throughout the entire company. It certainly helps clear up any gray areas, which was extremely important with the COVID-19 situation.”
- Jaymee Hooten, Area Manager, Genesail, Inc.
Every year, the Genesail team runs a sale on season passes, a package that allows clients to buy six haircuts at a time at a discount. Prior to adopting Crew, each manager was tasked with cascading the information about the deal and how to sell it to clients to their team of stylists. Total sales per store that year came to roughly $3200 worth of season passes.
In 2020, Jason used Crew to communicate the sale and all accompanying information to all team members across the organization. He also set up a contest to encourage friendly competition among locations, sent out regular updates, recognized high-performing stores and stylists - and sold nearly $10,000 in seasons per store, three times more than the total from the previous year.
“We tripled our total from last year, despite COVID and all the challenges with that. I don’t think I would have been able to do that without Crew,” said Jason. “We are planning on doing this now two times a year, using Crew to maximize the effectiveness of the promotion.”
As the Genesail team has continued to grow, Crew’s communications and scheduling capabilities contributed to critical business benefits, from keeping everyone on the same page with streamlined communication to bottom-line impact through stronger team education.
What's really cool about Crew is that it enables all of these options to explore new opportunities for recognition, communication, scheduling that we didn't have before. The value in Crew just continues to expand. We are continually finding new ways to benefit the team.”
- Jason Bowman, Owner, Genesail, Inc.