An Interview With the Training Queen, Melyssa Ryan

Melyssa Ryan

Some of the most overlooked parts of running a service-based business are creating a strategic hiring plan and implementing efficient training procedures. The hiring and training process determines an employee’s overall impression of an organization. This experience can impact how someone may feel about their job in the long run, as well as the amount of effort that they ultimately put into their work. Incorporating your company’s values in your hiring steps will help you attract the perfect candidates and create a positive, lasting impression.

The heart of freecoat’s hiring and training process has always been our core values. Our goal is to portray our culture from the very beginning. Through the help of our support team, our franchise partners receive all the key resources and assistance to help make this goal possible. We sat down with our Training Manager, Melyssa Ryan, to give you the inside scoop on our nail tech training program, tips and tricks for hiring in the service industry, and more!

Q: What is your role on the support team at freecoat nails?

Answer: “I am freecoat’s Training Manager. I make sure our nail technicians and studio team members feel supported in all of their roles. I help with new store openings and train nail techs. I create training manuals because I was a nail tech for many years and I know the protocols and the non-toxic nail industry really well. I also go through the guest experience and make sure the guests all feel heard, and if there are any issues, comments, complaints, or praises, I like to make sure our employees hear them.”

Q: How have you adapted your hiring strategy to fit the current shifts in the workforce?

Answer: “There are a lot of new things we have been doing to assist with the hiring process for franchise partners. We don’t just use the older techniques, like Indeed, but we also use Instagram, word of mouth, and we go out into the community. A lot of times when I go to cosmetology schools, nail techs will reach out to me a month or two after I visit to tell me, “Hey, you were at my school and I really want to see what freecoat is about… I’m very interested!”. I love that part of it. We tell our franchise partners about the importance of adapting to non-traditional concepts to get nail techs. Everyone wants to work at a “cool” place, so my main goal is to make this clear from the start with the hiring process. It’s not stiff… nail techs can shoot me a text or call me.”

“One of the new things that we try to do during the hiring process is to give other incentives to make sure the employee feels great. One bonus I really like that our Director of Operations implemented is the included DashPass. With the DashPass, our studio team members get free DoorDash deliveries and 20% off services. We use Venmo so the techs know how much they’re getting tipped and we offer paid vacation. We do things that I feel are not normal in a salon setting. We try to be innovative, new and fresh so that employees are more attracted to what we have to offer.”

Q: What characteristics do you look for when hiring a new employee in the service industry?

Answer: “I look for someone who is strong-minded, but also someone who is open to being molded. I mean that in a sense that I like people who are always open to learning something new. You can’t be in this industry and not be open to learning new ways to do things. Even though I’m a Training Manager, some of the nail techs teach me things all the time. I’m constantly like, “I never thought of it that way!”. When I look for someone who is applying, I look for someone who has an open mind, someone who is reliable, someone who I can truly count on.”

I really love it when I find someone who exhibits our core values, too. They understand they are equal pieces of the puzzle, they can have fun because fun is non-negotiable, they understand how the customer isn’t always right but we treat them with love and kindness. I love our core values and that’s what I look for in a person.”

Q: What resources and training do you provide to franchise partners who are in the process of hiring as they open their studio?

Answer: “I think being a nail technician has definitely helped me in this position because I understand a lot from behind the scenes. I feel like I get a little bit more respect from the nail techs because they understand that I understand. I can really support them in a way that I feel like someone who has never been in a nail tech’s position can. I know how to do cuticles, I know what it means to sometimes run over on time, I know when you’re burnt out and exactly how that feels. So it’s not that I’m empathizing with them, but that I’m sympathizing with them. From that perspective, I’m able to be a better Training Manager.”

Q: What is something that you’ve learned during training that has affected your role today?

Answer: “Definitely grace. I’ve learned that people come from all walks of life. I’ve also learned the cost behind a lot of things that nail techs take for granted. But really one of the biggest things I can take away from my experience is that I’m always going to learn! There is so much to learn in the nail industry, there’s always so much to take away. There’s constantly a new trend, there’s always a new personality type.”

Q: What is your favorite part about working with nail technicians?

Answer: “I love their creativity, the passion behind what they do, and the intention that they put into their work. The talent that they have – it makes me want to be a better person, I’ll be honest. They all take their work very seriously. When they’re doing nail art or painting their client’s nails, to see the focus and intent that they have, it’s definitely motivating. A lot of times they’ll do a design that I’ve never seen before, or even sometimes they haven’t seen before, but they will test it out and try it and the client loves it.”

“Another thing that I love about working with nail technicians is to see the connections that they have with the guests. It’s more like therapy as opposed to just going to get your nails done. I love to see how people are just having fun and building those bonds over time… and I just love seeing the passion.”