Business Tips: How To Retain Your Staff

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Simon Shaw is co-founder and past director of international award-winning salon group, Haringtons. Currently Chairperson for the Fellowship for British Hairdressing, he’s spent 44 years in the industry and over 35 years creating salon culture, focusing on developing people and providing top customer service. A source of creative leadership with a proven talent coaching both teams and individuals to success, he passionately believes that people are key to every successful business.

In his guise as Simon Shaw Education, he teaches for L’Oreal both in the UK and abroad, as well as privately for individual salons. Simon is a mentor for L’Oreal’s ID artist programme and his clients include artistic and management teams at Trevor Sorbie, Charles Worthington, Rush, Headmasters, Charles & Karen Dodds, Daniel Galvin and more.

Simon shares his tips below to effectively retain staff.

In times like we are experiencing at the moment, and for a generally successful business, a stable team is essential, so how do we ensure that team members stay loyal to you and your brand?
It’s not an easy task, and people can be unpredictable which is why staffing can be one of the toughest areas of a business to manage, but here are some things that can help…

1. All team members want the L.U.V FACTOR ©

LISTEN, make time to sit down and listen to each team member, it doesn’t have to be a two-hour chat and it doesn’t have to be formal, do less speaking than listening, ask questions that are open ended such as ‘’tell me what you see as the salon’s strengths and weaknesses. Let people know you are listening by maintaining eye contact and staying focused on what they are saying, don’t look around at what’s going on around you.

UNDERSTAND, the best way of letting someone know that you have understood them is to repeat back to them what they have just told you e.g. “So you think the salon is strong on training but you think we have some work to do on our customer service?’’ Probe them for more information, and use the replay technique again. Understand that each of us is motivated differently, for some it’s money, for others it’s time or it could be status, find out what motivates the individual as well as the team.

VALUE, if I feel valued I am more likely to want to stay part of the team. Do you remember the film What Women Want with Mel Gibson? He has a freak accident and can read women’s minds. He walks past a lowly office worker as she drops an armful of files and hears her say (in her head) “he never even notices me, let alone value me” Mel of course stops to help her and she is duly amazed. Who in your company does something day after day that makes a difference that you don’t notice? Before your next team meeting ask your team to write down something that they don’t feel they get acknowledged for, read them out and thank them in front of the team. It will take a while to cut through the British reserve, but the results will be worth your perseverance. Notice people doing things right, and cut down on the criticism.

2. Be consistent and fair with your team
Create boundaries but get their buy in, when Clive Woodward took over a failing England rugby team one of the things he got them to come up with was the black book. This covered things like timekeeping and dress code, and he then got the team to come up with what would happen if a player stepped outside the set boundaries. So, from your pay structure to your promotion criteria, take your personal preferences out and always ask “is this fair?” More and more people are looking for a work life balance, so consider being flexible; the demands of the business have to be balanced against the needs of the individual. You might consider that once people hit a certain performance criteria that they get a choice between a bonus or an extra day off.

3. Create opportunities for your team
One of the major reasons people leave is a lack of opportunity. Some people want to come to work and do clients all day then go home; some people want to be able to enter competitions, or put on a show or seminar. Support them in these ambitions and not only will it motivate them, it will bring recognition to the salon. Let people take responsibility for different areas of the salon – not only does it help team members to feel involved, it also gives you more time.

4. The team that plays together stays together.
Organise 2-3 events a year that the whole team can take part in, like bowling followed by a meal. In the summer organise a sports day (or better still get the team to organise it), followed by a barbecue. I know there can sometimes be resistance to these things but as I have said, perseverance is the name of the game. These events help to create a team culture, and other activities that help with this are annual awards, charity events, a quote of the week board and get different team members to write them up, create rituals like biscuit day where people take it in turns to bring in biscuits or cakes.

5. Continuing education for everyone is crucial to retaining staff
We can tend to focus on trainees and their training. I would recommend a training plan at the start of each year for every team member, it makes people think twice before moving. If they can get their needs met working for you why would they need to move?
In my opinion the L.U.V factor is the most important of all these so make their day by making it part of yours to deliver this.


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