Embracing inclusivity: A salon owner’s guide to fostering a welcoming workplace

By Stephen Sullivan on July 24th, 2023

Steve Diligence is the premier salon nestled on Ledbury Road in the heart of fashionable and affluent Notting Hill, London. Owner Stephen Sullivan says, “I understand the importance of inclusivity in the workplace more than most having been raised in West London, living through discrimination, the identity struggle and emerging triumphantly to create a number of wildly successful businesses. Highs include being named London and national barber of the year on multiple occasions, as well as taking the best salon award four times.”

Steve explores the significance of inclusivity within salons from what he has learned to relay some guiding principles, solutions and provide practical advice on how to introduce and cultivate an inclusive, professional yet fun, respectful working environment.

Things I learned running an inclusive salon in upmarket London…

Why is inclusivity important?

Inclusivity is not merely a buzzword; it is a fundamental value that should be embraced by all businesses, including salons. By fostering an inclusive workplace, salon owners can create an environment where employees feel valued, respected, and empowered. This, in turn, leads to increased job satisfaction, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

Creating an inclusive culture:

  1. Promote diversity: Encourage diversity in your salon by actively seeking out employees from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. Embrace diversity not only in terms of ethnicity but also in terms of gender identity, age, and physical abilities.
  2. Provide training and education: Invest in training programs that promote cultural sensitivity and awareness. Educate your staff about different hair types and textures to ensure they can cater to a diverse clientele effectively. Additionally, offer workshops on LGBTQ+ inclusion and disability awareness to foster a more inclusive environment.
  3. Implement inclusive policies: Develop policies that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or disability. Ensure these policies are communicated clearly to all staff members and strictly enforced.
  4. Foster open communication: Create a safe space for open dialogue where employees can express their thoughts and concerns without fear of judgement or reprisal. Encourage regular team meetings where everyone’s voice is heard and valued.
  5. Celebrate differences: Embrace cultural celebrations and events that reflect the diversity of your staff and clientele. This could include hosting themed days or offering specialized services tailored to different hair types and styles.
  6. Accessibility matters: Make your salon physically accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities. Ensure that your salon is equipped with ramps, wide doorways, and accessible restroom facilities.
  7. Lead by example: As the salon owner, I set the tone for the entire organisation. I lead by example and I practise what I preach by treating all employees and clients with respect and fairness. Encourage your staff to follow suit and address any instances of discrimination promptly.

Inclusivity is not an option but a necessity in today’s diverse world. By embracing inclusivity in your salon, you create a welcoming environment where employees can thrive and clients feel valued. Remember, fostering inclusivity is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort and commitment from everyone involved, be respectful and don’t forget to have fun!

Stephen Sullivan

Stephen Sullivan is owner of Steve Diligence, the premier salon nestled on Ledbury Road in the heart of fashionable and affluent Notting Hill, London. Steve has been named London and National Barber of the year on multiple occasions, as well as taking home the Best Salon Award four times.

All articles by Stephen Sullivan

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