Salon staff management

Are your staff proud to work at your salon? Does your team feel energised? Do you really know if your stylists are happy? 

Each member of your staff develops personal relationships with your clients that directly contribute to the success of your salon. This means that effective management is crucial when it comes to the future of your business. After all, the hair and beauty industry is just as much about people as it is making people feel good.

We understand that managing employees can be complicated, especially in a social atmosphere like a salon. Walking the fine line between friend and manager can be awkward when sticky situations arise, and a business that often relies on close relationships between client and employee always comes with heightened risks. Add this to your daily managerial duties and it’s no wonder that informal catch-ups and performance appraisals can slide off the radar. However, staying on top of these best management practices is exactly what will make your job easier and your salon run smoother.

If you’re looking to develop trusting relationships with your employees and add some energy back into your team, we’re here to help! Below, we cover everything from hiring new staff to employee development and managing conflict in the workplace.

Remember – while our guides are a great place to start, make sure any major management decisions are thoroughly researched and thought through. Asking HR or legal professionals for advice is always a good idea, as is being open to feedback and keeping positive.

So, what is ‘effective staff management’? And how do I know if I’m doing it?

Are formal management processes even really necessary for your salon?

There are countless misunderstandings about what makes ‘good management’, many of which result in micro-management, staff feeling isolated or controlled, and blurred boundaries. Effective management is all about listening, encouraging making things easier and being proactive with your staff and your time. It’s what will help your employees to smash their targets, maintain high performance and enjoy coming to work every day. 

Effective management is all about listening, encouraging making things easier and being proactive with your staff and your time. It’s what will help your employees to smash their targets, maintain high performance and enjoy coming to work every day. 

No matter what the environment, setting up processes to ensure your staff feel supported and challenged by their work will have countless benefits on your salon. For starters, it’s an integral element of improving client retention. A new client’s experience with your staff can determine whether or not they will return to your salon, and a well managed staff member is more likely to go above and beyond for their client.

Client retention isn’t the only aspect of your business that relies on your team. Studies have shown that happy employees are 12% more productive. And to put it simply, higher productivity means more clients, more money, and more opportunities for growth. Effective management can also help to increase referrals, attract the best staff, refine daily operations, minimise personal stress, reach business goals and improve the wellbeing of your employees.

Timely staff management success blueprint:

Are you ready to boost team morale and take control of difficult situations? Here are the main points to cover when creating your management processes:

1. Take your time to find the right staff

Finding the right person for your salon is crucial. We’ve highlighted all the important questions you need to ask yourself in our guide for hiring new staff. We cover how and where to advertise, sample interview questions and how to make sure you’re not hiring another stylist when really your salon needs a new administrator.

2. Pay your staff fairly and pay them on time

Your salon’s pay structure can significantly affect the motivation levels of your staff. There are four key pay systems that salons generally follow: commision-based, performance-based, hourly rate and annual salary. Compare these in our salon salaries guide and find the pay structure that works best for you.

3. Implement a goal setting system

Ask your staff to help you set their goals and put actions in place to support them. Tracking and reviewing goals gives your employees something to work towards and encourages staff engagement and high productivity. You can even use the Timely Dashboard to measure staff performance.

4. Create a comfortable atmosphere

We already know that decor can make or break a client’s experience, but it’s also important to think about what the atmosphere is like for your staff. Is the lighting suited to someone who is working a full day? Do you have comfortable furniture in the break room for your employees? Are you separated from your staff or are you physically approachable? All of these little things add up to make a big difference.

5. Create a clear career pathway

Encouraging growth with a clear career pathway shows your staff that you value them and are investing in them. It also is a great way to help you retain your best employees. It’s also important to offer training and elevate your staff. ZING Coach Marie Drever has some great tips for making time to train your team.

Encouraging growth with a clear career pathway shows your staff that you value them and are investing in them. It also is a great way to help you retain your best employees.

6. Prioritise wellness in the workplace

Implementing a wellness program in your salon can enrich your employees lives, improve morale and boost productivity. Something as simple as taking an interest in your employees makes a difference alone. Try organising a team building activity. Put systems in place to make sure no one is overworked. We have a whole collection of wellness program ideas for your salon!

7. If there is conflict, acknowledge it

Sweeping sources of tension under the rug is the worst thing you can do in an environment that thrives on relationship building. Our staff management guide details how to address and manage the conflict. Even if the conflict is with you, as a manager you need to be able to act impartially and approach the situation with a level head.

8. Identify any issues that may be causing poor performance

If an employee is not meeting KPIs, have a conversation with them and ask why they might be underperforming. It could be that they require extra training in a certain task or have a personal situation affecting their work. Take the time to ask their questions and help them improve.

9. Track, review and reward progress

Conversations and goal setting mean nothing if they’re not tracked. Arrange catch ups with your staff every 3-6 months to see how they are going and encourage high performance by rewarding progress.

10. Always ask for advice

We have a range of resources that are great to refer to. But before you make any major changes or enter situations you aren’t sure about, it’s always best to research thoroughly and ask professionals for advice.

Common staff management questions:

We understand that every salon is different and even with all the planning in the world, there will always be new situations which you never expected to encounter. These can often be difficult to navigate, especially if there are emotions involved! 

We asked a group of hair and beauty professionals how they approach some of these stickier situations. Here is what they told us:

How can I stop clients from following a stylist if they leave my salon?

Try to have a relationship with a number of clients, not only the ones that you may do yourself.  Take the time to talk to other clients so they know who runs the salon. Also remember that if a client leaves, you should acknowledge them if you meet them on the street as they may very well like the chance to come back to your salon but may be embarrassed that they left in the first place. Also, ensure that you have sufficient other staff or are training new stylists so that clients know other people within the salon.

Author Avatar
Erica Cumming

How do I say ‘no’ to my staff without hurting their feelings?

In every case I have ended up leaving the workplace and working for myself because I haven’t felt valued and trusted. I remind myself often that my way of doing things is good for some, but not all. So I try to outline to my staff which elements I need, for practical and brand reasons, to be uniform, and where they can be flexible and creative.

Author Avatar
Liz Cahalan
Director, Bey Dance

What can I do to make my staff feel more valued?

Wellbeing isn’t just about the physical elements, but it’s about one’s inner self as well. I want staff to feel empowered, so I work with staff on setting and achieving their goals. I think that is something that is really forgotten about. We revisit it twice a year on their 6 month anniversary. My manager Lauren for example, wants extra time to spend with her family. So, we worked out she gets time bonuses instead of cash bonuses. This keeps her working harder, and is a way to stop her from wanting to leave. Everyone is completely different — we must remember this.

You must make sure staff feel cared for. Make sure they have breaks! I also buy my staff all lunch on Saturdays. It is the little things. Everyone just wants to feel loved.

Don’t forget why you do what you do. Don’t lose sight of that. We do this because we love hair and beauty, we love making people feel good. For me, I love providing jobs for people. Don’t lose sight of your ‘why’!

Author Avatar
Caitlyn Menzel
Huntress Hair Religion and Caitlyn Menzel Coaching

Managing a team of employees requires a wide range of skills and a lot of effort. But it can also be incredibly rewarding and prove fruitful for your salon. The most important thing to remember is that your staff, just like you, are humans. If you treat them with respect, they will respond with respect. 

And remember – refining your management style can be a lengthy process. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time! Learn what works for you, your staff and your salon. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll start seeing the benefits!

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