When you are happy where you work, daily challenges are easier to bear, and in a business where profit hinges on great customer service delivery, salon owners need to shoot for happy employees. Employee turnover is expensive. The telltale barometer of employee happiness can be found in the break/dispensary area. This is where employees let out their level of frustration as they formulate color or bite into a sandwich.

I have been working back in the salon for the last three years and can shed some light on what employees prize and detest, with one caveat: there is that one team member who will never be happy. This person needs to work independently, or silently—do their work quietly, efficiently and go home. Here is a quick checklist for salon owners/managers: 

  1. Be the example of ethics and professionalism—never expect employees to behave better than you do. People in charge will violate policies without realizing they are openly lowering the bar for the entire salon. On days you do not feel like it—stay home.
  2. Don’t negotiate with divas—that team member with the big clientele who wants to dictate to you and the team conditions for employment in order to perform, needs to be shown a dose of humility and the door.
  3. Don’t play favorites— it’s tough not to want to be around the positive ones, but this can be seen as favoritism. Be fair with your attention, time, opportunities, and new client walk-ins.
  4. Keep the salon spotless—and require everyone to follow suit. For a client walking into the salon, cleanliness is the first sign of professionalism, once it goes; everything seems less important. One salon I visited had a sign in the dispensary that read, “The cleaner we look, the more we charge.”
  5. Demonstrated effort to build the salon: employees love seeing an owner/manager really work to bring in more clientele, promote on social media, create exposure, buy trendy product, and decorate for holidays.
  6. Be well prepared for salon meetings- don’t fool yourself, nobody likes staying for a salon meeting, if you are also unprepared, it really frustrates the team. Start with great news and clear benefits to the staff. Hold few and very effective meetings that finish with an action list that you follow up on.
  7. Most ineffective meeting topics-when you decide to remind staff of not enough retail, coming in late, lack of professionalism, low client retention. When do you address these? One on one, with solid evidence of your points as proof. Meetings should be about asking staff how can we do better. Thank your staff and acknowledge what they are doing right.
  8. Always speak the truth- and you will not need to keep track of what you say. It is impossible to hide what is true.

The number one reason staff leaves a salon is a lack of connection to the salon. The move from commission to salon is therefore not over earnings, but about having a greater degree of freedom and expression. Your goal is to create the best platform possible for salon professionals to express their art form. Do it right and watch your salon speed ahead.




For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.