Living The Dream: Hellen Ward’s Tips For Getting & Keeping Your Salon Dream Team

By Hellen Ward on September 5th, 2017

A long-standing salon insurance customer of Salon Gold, Hellen Ward gives us her tips for getting and keeping your salon dream team.

Although we’re lucky enough to be one of the highest grossing independent salons in the UK, that’s not the thing which I’m most proud of in our business. What never fails to impress people is our staff retention, because that in itself tells the customer what they need to know about our salon. The average salon length of service for senior team members is 4 years in the UK, so with our senior team running at 3 times that, we must be doing something right! (And that’s nice to know after 25 years!)

So, how can we ensure we keep hold of those all important team players? After all, they are the key to a secure and loyal turnover, and that all important repeat business. Some salon owners tell me they’re far too busy running their columns to spend any time on their teams, but snatching moments to try and conduct meaningful work on nurturing your crew simply isn’t enough to keep hold of them in the long run. There are some key elements that form part of our HR ethos:

Create CPD

People always need to see a path to becoming more successful and earning more money. I know some salons have the ‘we’re all equal’ mentality but that is never a culture I would want to cultivate. Some people will want to fly and will be very driven to succeed, whereas others will be happier to reach their perceived earning potential and stay there, never wanting more responsibility. It’s their call! You need both types in your teams to get the right balance. But ensuring our future senior staff know what opportunities might be available to them in the future, is essential in hooking them into the company in the long term.

Nurture & mentor

Our senior team all see that they have a personal responsibility to nurture and mentor our younger team members. Sometimes, as the boss, they won’t be able to relate to you as well as they might a senior therapist or hairdresser, so think about having a buddy system to steer young people on the right path within your company.

Develop individual strengths

No single team player can be good at everything. Instead of trying to make everybody a jack-of -all-trades, accept people’s weak points and simply focus on nurturing what they are good at instead. They’ll be happier – and so will you!

Reward well

Commission-related pay is vital. Make the sky the limit when it comes to earning potential. People need to know there is no maximum to what they can earn if they put the work in, and if your percentages are set correctly, uncapped pay is a great incentive to encourage people to maximise their earning power. Commission rates within my salon vary according to price tiering and experience, so there’s a real carrot for people to stay and work their way up the ranks. People need a tangible financial incentive, so make sure you get a reputation for being generous (good news like that spreads, and so will aid your recruitment in the long term).

Appraise & review

Appraisals are essential. They’re probably the most important part of any bosses work load. However, too often and they become meaningless. A quick chat at the back wash or in the beauty room is not a proper performance review. Make appraisals really meaningful; after all, you may do loads but the employee only cares about his or hers. I do mine annually for seniors and six-monthly for junior team members. If I had a smaller team I would try to do everybody every 6 months, but with over 100 staff, that’s just not possible, and Juniors really need their plates kept spinning. Make the appraisal a formal meeting, out of the salon environment, with no mobiles! Go to a local coffee shop where you and the team member can talk without distraction. Make sure the employee has plenty of notice and ensure you have all your critical data – KPI’s (Key performance Indicators). I look at the current performance against the previous appraisal. Taking the previous appraisal form with you is a great idea too as you can refer back to goals and targets you set together.

Keeping your team motivated is key to ensuring they stay with you, but they crucially need to know that there are long term opportunities to grow and develop in the way that’s right for them within your company. Failing to nurture your acorns will never turn them into oak trees, so make time to spend time with your team appraising and reviewing their performance – otherwise someone else may be lucky enough to snap up that very person who you don’t want to lose.

What do you think is key when trying to keep your salon dream team? Share your thoughts with us in the comments on Facebook and Twitter.

Hellen Ward

Hellen Ward is the Managing Director of Richard Ward brands, Salon and metrospa. Hellen is a Hair & beauty industry business consultant, as well as an author and columnist. She is also the Vice President, Director and Trustee of The Hair and Beauty Charity. Hellen has been pictured on This Morning as well as GB News.

All articles by Hellen Ward

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