6 Tips for Managing and Motivating Salon Staff

If you are a salon owner who finds that motivating and managing salon staff is the toughest challenge you face as a business owner, you’re not alone. Here are six tips that can help.

When Phorest.com asked more than 250 salons what is the most difficult thing about running a salon, motivating and managing staff came in at the top of the list, even ahead of attracting and retaining salon clients. Specifically, salon owners listed these five salon staff management pain points:

  • Keeping salon staff happy and motivated
  • Making staff more comfortable with selling
  • Avoiding confrontation when dealing with issues
  • Ensuring high quality, consistent work from day-to-day
  • Dealing with absenteeism (holidays, sickness, pregnancy, etc.)

Coming up with solutions to address the challenges of motivating and managing salon staff becomes even more convoluted when you consider the fact that there are many different types of salon business models, such as commission-based, salaried, booth renter, salon suites and so on. What works in one setting might not work – or even be legal – in another; for instance, you might not be able to include the same work requirements in a booth renter’s contract that you could in the job description of stylists who are employees of a salon.

There are, however, universal principles salon owners can employ to improve staff performance, morale and create the type of organizational culture they desire, regardless of salon business model type. Here are six ideas for salon owners who find motivating and managing staff challenging.

6 Tips for Managing and Motivating Salon Staff
1. Inspire by Example

To inspire by example is not only to lead by example but to ensure that salon staff see the connection between behaviors and positive outcomes. This could be as simple as showing staff how much more they could earn over time if they become more proactive in upselling retail products and add-on services or take less time off. Calculating how much more stylists with a high retention rate earn than their counterparts can sell salon staff on the merits of pre-booking clients or improving the client experience.

2. Be Accountable to Your Accountability System

For many salon employees, positive reinforcement tied to the behaviors you want from staff will be all that is needed to motivate them to adhere to your salon’s policies and turn in the performance you want. Before positive or negative consequences can work, however, expectations and standards need to be clearly defined.

Once they are in place, as the leader of your business you have an obligation to hold all staff equally accountable to the performance they agree to provide as a member of your salon’s team. If staff perceive that either promised rewards or negative consequences will not be applied appropriately or fairly, it will become very difficult to develop the type of salon team that will contribute to the success you want for your business.

3. Devote Time to Team Building

Team building exercises, especially when overseen by an outside consultant, can be an invaluable way to build a strong team that works together and feels ownership in the mission and vision of a salon business. While it means an investment on your part, the tangible and intangible dividends produced will nearly always exceed its cost.

Team building isn’t always an exercise, either. Involving salon staff in long range planning meetings and brainstorming for promotions, marketing and events can also produce a significant increase in employee buy-in as well as the effort they are willing to put forth to ensure that initiatives are successful.

4. Connect the Dots

Don’t assume that salon staff understand the underlying reasons behind your salon’s rules, policies, procedures or standards for the customer experience. Tie performance measures directly to customer outcomes and satisfaction so that they can clearly see how their work contributes to the growth and success of the salon, as well as how it impacts their own career development.

5. Make It Safe

There is a saying that goes, “You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge.” Pointing out problems, flaws and mistakes can be a frightening proposition for both parties. When the lines of communication are open and salon staff feel safe in offering as well as accepting criticism and suggestions, it becomes possible to address issues without confrontation and discuss problems without defensiveness.

6. Leave Room for Compassion

Even policies that are spelled out very clearly in writing can be administered with compassion. When salon staff feel that you have made an exception for them or withheld negative consequences they deserved, they may very well return the favor in the form of increased buy-in, loyalty and improved performance.

These tips aren’t only useful in addressing salon staff management challenges. Since each can directly impact employee buy-in and performance, they can also help when it comes to other challenges salon owners face, including attracting salon clients and improving retention rates.

What about you? Do you have a question or advice to offer on the topic of salon staff management? Tweet it to us at @KabbageInc or leave your comment below; we would love to hear from you!

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