Late last year, we won the British Hairdressing Business Award for Salon Team of the Year. Any industry recognition is always a huge honour but to receive this accolade felt particularly special, as so much of the salon’s success is down to the combined efforts of our incredible team members. Finding passionate hardworking staff is known to be tough – especially in the current economic climate but fortunately it’s not an issue we’ve had due to having a complete and stable team. If anything, it’s usually us turning people away! I’ve taken time to build up carefully and I want people to fit into our ‘family’. A team that feels trusted and valued – both from a personal and professional point of view – is vital to a thriving salon business and I believe there are several key factors that have helped me build my strongest ever group of like-minded professionals…
1 All of my team are employed.
I want everyone to feel like they’re included in the business, and that we’re all part of the same salon family. Having a unified team means there’s always a strong support network on hand. We can mentor and inspire each other, as well as share problems and solutions.
Everyone is on the same side, which makes you feel safe and valued. We all genuinely care for – and want the best for - each other.
However, one advantage of being self-employed is that you can choose your own hours, so here at Melissa Timperley, I wanted to make sure I was offering something similarly attractive to my employees. Everyone gets a Saturday off on rotation every few weeks, so they don’t have to use up their holiday time to enjoy a nice, normal weekend. For most hairdressers, four Saturdays off a year is the average – ours is closer to 10, depending on how long the team member has been with us (we reward loyalty). There’s also the security of maternity pay and sick pay, and the obvious benefits during Covid lockdowns. Everyone is paid a good base salary too – and we have just raised the base salary further - because I believe that hairdressing is a real skill and I personally think professionals in the industry aren’t always financially rewarded as well as we would all like.
2 I ensure my team are constantly motivated, through ongoing training and goal setting.
Communication is so important to understand what each team member wants out of their career, so we hold one-to-one My Future Vision meetings together, which helps me to gauge each individual’s hopes, challenges and aspirations. We discuss personal goals - including training goals - and have a bespoke training programme for each stylist and reception staff.
For example, one stylist is on the Fellowship Colour Project this year, another is on the Wella Master Colour Programme and others are attending external precision cutting programmes. We hold product and styling technical training on a regular basis, using visiting external experts, as well as running and in-salon colour and cut training for our salon stylists delivered by the more senior team members.
In my experience, investing in individuals and offering them regular insight and support into their next career steps ensures that they feel secure in their future at our salon; a team member that feels valued and appreciated won’t normally go looking for opportunities elsewhere. We want to give them all the opportunities they want and need right here with us.
3 As well as nurturing each employee as an individual, I am also passionate about us coming together as a team.
The stop/start nature of business during the pandemic presented fresh challenges in keeping team members motivated and feeling united. We needed to demonstrate that we are ‘all in it together’, so I introduced various team-building activities to aid this. We bought mannequin heads for all styling members of the team to use at home during lockdown, and then subscribed to the Sassoon and Wella virtual training. For specific sessions everyone took part individually in the training but we then shared our work as a team on a team Zoom session. We learned just as much from each other as we did from the online tutor, and it was a great way to keep the team focused, motivated and learning new skills. In the salon, we run friendly team ‘competitions’ on product and service sales and client satisfaction benchmarks, which keeps the focus while also having fun. We also hold team socials on a regular basis – even continuing these throughout lockdown periods to keep the cohesiveness of the team.
Our virtual sessions included team yoga and pilates and a virtual baby shower for Lauren!
We have a fresh appreciation of keeping ourselves mentally and physically healthy as a first priority, so I have invested in mindfulness apps for each team member.
Promoting and supporting each other’s work should always be encouraged to enhance the team bond, too
4 We have a ‘one client, one team member’ approach.
I feel that this creates a relaxing, peaceful salon environment. Styling team members do everything for their client; there’s no swapping between people for colour, washing, blowdrying… It's a real personal touch for the client and helps them avoid the feeling of being on a conveyor belt, being passed from person to person! From a staff perspective, it means they’re able to be more focussed and aren’t rushed off their feet. They have balance, can devote their time and energy to one client, and they can enjoy some downtime while a colour is processing. They might only see two or three clients in a day, but they’re fully booked. It has helped create a really nice atmosphere for everyone.
5 We work together to get the very best results for our clients.
It might seem unconventional but one of the salon’s USP’s is that we do fully overt second opinions on colour in front of the client. It demonstrates that we care about getting it right, and value the opinion and advice of our colleagues on, for example, colour combinations, colour formulas and our approach to difficult hair.
This has significantly reduced the number of re-do’s and enhanced our client satisfaction figures.
Clients love that they are being really considered and cared for by professionals, and our team fully support this commitment to sharing their expertise.
Promoting and supporting each other’s work should always be encouraged to enhance the team bond, too. Over the lockdown period we prepared a digital portfolio of each stylist’s work and uploaded it to the salon iPad. Team members share these examples of each other’s work with clients when talking to them about the look they want. There is no artistic sensitivity or ego in the team – they willingly share other team member’s great work with clients to aid the consultation process. I think that extra level of praise and encouragement makes a remarkable difference to the team’s rapport.