Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc. is one of the largest professional beauty product distributors and retailers in the world. More than 5,000 Sally Beauty Supply stores reach millions of consumers and professionals, while the company’s wholesale business provides salons with more than 10,000 haircare products from top brands.
To maintain its leadership in the intensely competitive beauty products industry, Sally Beauty Holdings prioritizes investing in what it sees as its greatest resource: its people. The company’s leadership academy is called “Greenhouse”, as it aims to nurture the growth of associates in all positions across the company as individuals and business leaders.
“Our goal for Greenhouse is to be a different type of leadership education,” says Yvette Birlew, Director of Learning & Development at Sally Beauty Holdings. “We challenge people to really think outside the box, and that means presenting material in very creative and dynamic ways. We create highly interactive classrooms where we experiment with paper airplanes, build things with Legos, and do other activities that get people thinking differently. The results have been outstanding.”
Historically, such strongly interactive lessons meant that learning was best conducted in-person. However, this limited Greenhouse to corporate associates, not allowing for inclusion of leaders in the field or distribution areas of the organization.
While learners reacted very positively to classes, in-person training has some other drawbacks. For instance, if participants miss a class, there’s no way to make up lessons another day. It can also be costly and time-consuming for both educators and participants, many of whom need to take time away from business and home to travel to classes. Additionally, accessibility can be an issue for learners with disabilities. And, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the health risk of in-person gatherings has become a concern. All these restrictions made it challenging for Sally Beauty Holdings to easily expand training to reach more associates in leadership roles across the company.