Hairdressers Journal
Hairdressers Journal


Team effort

Longer opening hours, new salon protocols and wearing PPE all day – salon life has a whole new set of challenges so it’s important to keep your team motivated now more than ever. Meanwhile, the additional financial pressures caused by the ongoing national restrictions and changes to government support schemes have led to difficult decisions for salon owners.

What drove your team before the first national lockdown may not be as motivating for them now. “Those conversations are important because motivations may have changed,” says Stefania Rossi, owner of Utopia salon in Essex and founder of Stefania Rossi Recruitment. Speak with your team to find out. “It might be days off, products, vouchers, days out, treatments or team events – there are lots of different things you can do,” says Anna Nickless, co-founder of business consultancy AB Beauty and former owner of the Lavender & Stone salon chain.

“We used to do ‘Chase the £10 Note’ which created competition in the salon. Every time you sell a product, you stick a £10 note on the whiteboard with that person’s name next to it. And then the next minute someone else has sold something and it would move again – it creates a bit of fun.” However, this doesn’t need to be expensive. “Being appreciated is a huge incentive,” says Anna, who recommends generating healthy competition with ‘Employee of the Month’ initiatives to highlight team members who have excelled. “Some may be more motivated by flexibility, which is something we can give them, such as not coming in on a full-time basis, or having their birthday off,” adds Stefania. 

Preparation is key if you want to motivate your salon team, says Penny Etheridge, managing director of Penny Etheridge Creative Business Consultancy.

“Plan your team meetings with an agenda and a timetable to keep it on track,” she says, explaining that you should cover all communication styles to engage your team and elicit the best response.

“If you’ve got a lot of open communicators in your team, the chances of it becoming one big conversation are very high,” she says, warning that your meeting could be derailed.

“Set one topic every time you do a team meeting and bring everything back to the topic. For example, say: ‘thank you Michelle for that feedback, now let’s just revert back to what we’re doing with our customer care’. This will help set the focus and goals for the day ahead.”

Working for longer hours in PPE can be taxing, so schedule in small breaks for you and your team to avoid burnout.

“Make sure they all take their full lunch break,” says Anna. “Getting outside and having a walk with some fresh air, eating healthily and drinking lots of water is essential.”

Additionally, while some may be happy to work longer shifts, others may struggle, so check in individually. “Some staff can do 9am to 9pm, but other people would really struggle,” she explains. “Look at your team individually and make sure it is working for everybody.”

It’s vital to communicate with your team and ask them how it feels to wear PPE. Anna explains: “I know there are lots of different types of PPE on the market and it may be that some people feel more comfortable with different kinds of visor headwear, for example. If they feel comfortable, it means they’ll be able to concentrate on giving your clients the best salon experience.”

The ongoing pandemic will be affecting the home lives of your team members in different ways so you need to make sure all team members feel supported.

“Individuals may be going through a really tough time and they might think everybody around them is coping, but that’s not necessarily the case,” Anna points out. “They might not want to outwardly talk about that so a one-to-one meeting is very important. Talk it through, ask them how they feel, how you can support them and let them know you’re there for them,” she adds.

A one-to-one is also an opportunity to show how much you value the individual members of your team. “Remind them why you picked them to be part of your team and ultimately find out why they love the job. Really get them to fall in love with it again. This reconnection is very important,” says Stefania.

“It’s also crucial to share your vision and encourage your team to be totally invested in your business. Give them a sense that they’re contributing ideas. They may have loads of ideas, which is why it’s really important to realign where you’re going with the business to make sure you take their suggestions into account.”

Having a career plan in place for your team members can help them stay focused and reach their goals. “I like to create career paths in my business because I want to work with those individuals,” says Stefania. “I identify their key strengths and I want to develop the dream job so I can retain them. Salon owners have an opportunity to think about what each progression looks like.” Not every team member will want to become a leader or a manager – and equally, those promotions will not always be available in your business – so it’s important to think of different progression routes.

“Progressions and aspirations don’t necessarily need to be linked to higher wages,” points out Stefania. “Progression for some may involve online training. For others, that path will be around flexibility, new ways of working, security, good working conditions or more interesting work,” she says. “It’s an opportunity to empower those members of staff and get them excited to achieve within your business.” 

This article appears in the December 2020 Issue of Hairdressers Journal

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This article appears in the December 2020 Issue of Hairdressers Journal