Professional Beauty
Professional Beauty


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5 WAYS TO motivate STAFF in December

1 Let them be pampered

“Keeping staff motivated to do their best work during the festive season is one of the hardest things to achieve as a salon owner,” says Nicole Blacklock, CND education ambassador and co-owner of Absolutely Fabulous Nail Bar and Beauty Salon in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear. “It’s the busiest time of year, with long hours, not many breaks and all of your clients are in a rush.” For these reasons, Blacklock says it’s important not to forget that it’s your staff who bear the brunt, and that they need to recoup too.

“We have a hamper filled with prizes for clients and use the money from this towards a spa day in January for all of us to relax,” she says. “The salon pays the balance so the team don’t worry about affording it, and we chat, eat nice food and all get treatments. It’s something for us all to look forward to once the busy period is over and means we aren’t hungover from a night out during December, making us even groggier. It works perfectly.”

Samantha Humberstone, owner of Lotions n Potions in Sheffield, also suggests a team spa day: “Let them be the ones who are pampered for a change,” she says.

2 Take them out of the salon

Bonding with your team can take on a new dimension if you spend time together away from the salon or spa environment. If you go for a traditional night out post-Christmas, Humberstone believes the main thing is to allow staff to let their hair down and have fun together. “This could be a big party in a hotel, dinner at a nice restaurant or simply a night out at a bar,” she says. If you choose to close the salon and take staff out for a daytime activity instead, Humberstone suggests something completely unrelated to the industry, such as “cocktail making, a craft workshop, a trip to the races or theme park, or a team-building outdoor adventure.”

Kelly Murgatroyd, owner of Prestige Health & Beauty in Morecombe, Lancashire, adds: “After our Christmas event in late November, we have an outing to relax and have fun. I always feel great afterwards – the team is even more bonded and encouraged to work their hardest over the busy season.”

3 Give them time off

While time off in December is usually not possible, giving therapists Christmas Eve off would go a long way towards boosting morale. “All of our staff have Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day off; and we open additional hours the week before to compensate,” says Blacklock. She adds that although it can be tempting to stay open in order to fit in extra last-minute bookings, “it’s so important to be firm with clients and stick to your opening hours over the festive period, otherwise you’ll be working all night” Many salon owners who employ younger therapists agree that financial incentives aren’t as effective as they used to be.

Rewarding staff with time off could prove to be much more of an encouragement to put in extra work during December. “I’ve found that millennials don’t strive for commission or have the urge to make more money that I did when I was starting out,” says Murgatroyd. “Instead, I now give incentives of days off, staff nights out and free gifts. This Christmas, I’ll be giving employees a target to hit to receive a Saturday off with their commission.”

For Ian Egerton, owner of The Stress Exchange Hair and Beauty Salon in London, getting to know what makes each therapist tick has proved the most effective way to incentivise them. “During December, when we usually need greater capacity, we encourage therapists to be flexible with their time so we can sell extra appointments in the run up to Christmas,” he says. “We offer them the opportunity to accrue time in December that they can then take off in lieu in the new year.” To add an extra sweetener, Egerton usually offers time and a half.

4 Create a festive atmosphere

There’s no reason why employees shouldn’t get to take part in festivities at work over the Christmas period, providing they still work efficiently. “To shift the focus away from the physical effort of the run up to Christmas we like to inject some fun into the salon,” says Egerton. “Over the years, we’ve tried many different things, such as fancy dress on Christmas Eve, a festive jumper day for charity and a team Secret Santa where we provide low-cost but fun prizes.” Similarly, treating staff to festive snacks and (non-alcoholic) drinks of their choice as they rush through busy days and long evenings could help keep Christmas cheer alive.

“Make sure your staff are provided with plenty of easy-to-grab snacks and drinks that help keep up their energy and nutrition,” suggests Blacklock.

To boost morale and say thank you on the busiest days in December, Egerton often arranges for lunch to be delivered to the salon. “Or sometimes at the end of a day if we’re all finishing together, we’ll arrange pizzas and drinks after work, especially if it’s an extra-late finish,” he adds.

Involving staff in client Christmas events could also help keep them motivated. Murgatroyd hosts an annual event for clients with an extra incentive for staff: “The therapist who makes the most on the night receives an advent calendar filled with products; and on Christmas Eve, I bring in food for the end of the day to toast the end of a busy period,” she says.

5 Reward them

“Heading towards Christmas, we’re focused on seasonal treatments, shiny retail displays and trying to make the most of upping our revenue, but what about our staff?” asks Humberstone. It’s important not to forget that a successful Christmas period wouldn’t be possible without your team, and with that in mind, it’s the perfect time to let them know how appreciative you are for their service the whole year round.

“Never underestimate a simple thank you card or a certificate of achievement,” she adds. “Sometimes it’s the smaller, thoughtful touches that we really appreciate and remember.” There are other simple but effective ways to give back to the team despite being extra busy and focused on Christmas revenue.

A tactic Egerton uses to incentivise staff for the final December push is the promise of a Christmas bonus before they finish. “To drive sales of gift cards and treatment courses in December, we offer team incentives that rely on everyone pulling together so no one misses out. We set a team target based on either financial goals or units sold, and then give a bonus by way of a percentage (usually between 5-10%) of sales made in December,” he explains. “We make sure we pay the team bonus out just before we finish for Christmas, as everyone loves having extra cash for the festive season.” PB

This article appears in the October 2019 Issue of Professional Beauty

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This article appears in the October 2019 Issue of Professional Beauty