Fringe benefits: Would an on-site hairdressing salon boost engagement?

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A multi-national corporation has cited ‘flexibility and trust’ as the key tenets behind allowing employees to pop down to its own on-site hair salon for haircuts and treatments during working hours.

Consumer goods manufacturer Unilever opened a permanent hair salon for employees at its head office in London this week, as part of a commitment to boost “agile working”. Staffed by two stylists, the salon will provide discounted cut and blow dries to the 1,200-strong workforce between 11am to 7pm daily and is being touted by the company as a way to give employees the flexibility and trust to make work and life work together.

But according to the marketing manager the salon also serves a strategic function, as it will be stocked by Unilever’s own range of hair care products and will help encourage employees to become “brand ambassadors”.

No evidence has yet come to light of bald employees feeling disenfranchised by the move which, while certainly innovative, cannot claim to be a first: the armed forces did it years ago.

The salon builds on other staff benefits already rolled out by the company, which include on-site massages and gym facilities. In 2010, the company announced a permanent health and well-being program after a successful pilot had resulted in a quarter of its factory staff losing weight.

In these uncertain economic times, could regular haircuts for employees could be an ideal way of stimulating new growth and highlighting business assets?

 

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