Longer opening hours, new salon protocols and wearing PPE all day – the new normal of salon life can be a challenge for staff during these uncertain times, so it’s important keep your team motivated now more than ever. Meanwhile, the additional financial pressures caused by the ongoing national restrictions and the end of the Government’s furlough scheme have led to some dificult decisions for salon owners in terms of reduction to staff hours and even redundancies. We asked some experts in staff management how you can get the best from your therapists and keep salon spirits high during these turbulent times.
1 Update your incentives
What motivated your team before lockdown may not be as motivating now. “I think those conversations are important because motivations may have changed,” says Stefania Rossi, owner of Utopia salon in Essex and founder of Stefania Rossi Recruitment.
Make sure to speak with your team to find out. “It might be days off, products, vouchers, days out, treatments or team events; there are lots of different things you can do,” says Anna Nickless, co-founder of business consultancy AB Beauty and former owner of the Lavender & Stone salon chain.
“We used to do chase the £10 note which created competition in the salon. Every time you sell a product, you stick a £10 note on the whiteboard with that person’s name next to it. And then the next minute, someone else has sold something and it would move again – it creates a bit of fun.”
“Being appreciated is a huge incentive,” adds Nickless, who recommends generating healthy competition with Therapist of the Month initiatives to highlight team members who have excelled. “Some may be more motivated by flexibility that we can give them, like not coming back on a full-time basis or having their birthday off,” says Rossi.
2 Plan team meetings
Preparation is key, says Penny Etheridge, managing director of Radiant Hair & Beauty Consultancy. “Plan team meetings with an agenda and a timetable to keep it on track,” she says, explaining that you should cover all communication styles in order to engage your team. Check her guide on page 74 to find out which communicator types you have among your staff so you can motivate the individuals in your team.
“If you’ve got lots of open communicators, the chances of it becoming one big conversation are high,” she says, warning that your meeting could be derailed. “Set one topic and bring everything back to that. For example, say, ‘Thank you for that feedback, now let’s just revert to what we’re doing with customer care’. This will help set focus for the day.”
3 Schedule breaks
Working for longer hours can be taxing, so schedule in small breaks for your team to avoid b urnout. “Make sure that they all take their full lunch break,” says Nickless. “Having a walk, g etting some fresh air, eating healthily and drinking lots of water are beneficial.” Additionally, while some may be happy to work the longer shifts, others may struggle, so check in individually. Breaks are also more important now than ever with PPE, which can be uncomfortable to work in. Nickless advises asking your team: ‘How does it feel? Are there some treatments that you’re struggling to do with PPE?’, adding “There are lots of different types of PPE on the market and it may be that some people feel more comfortable with different kinds of visor headwear.”
4 Organise one-to-ones
The pandemic may have been personally c hallenging for some members of your te am, so making sure they feel supported is key. “Individuals may be going through a really tough time and might think everybody around them is coping, but that’s not necessarily the truth,” says Nickless. “However, they might not want to openly talk about that, so a one-to-one meeting is very important. Talk it through, ask them how they feel, how you can support them and let them know you’re there for them,” she says.
Additionally, a one-to-one is an opportunity to show how much you value individuals. “Remind them why you picked them to be part of your team and ultimately find out why they love the job. Really get them to fall in love with it again. That reconnection is very important,” says Rossi. “It’s also important to share your new vision, and get them to be totally invested in your business again. This is why it’s really important to realign where you’re going with the business to make sure you take your staff into account.”
5 Plan team meetings and developcareer progression
Having a career plan in place for your team can help them stay focused and reach their goals. “I like to create career paths in my salon because I want to work with those individuals,” says Rossi. “I identify the key strengths and I almost want to develop the dream job so that I can retain them. Salon owners have an opportunity to think about what those progressions look like.”
Not every team member may want to become a leader or a manager – and equally, those promotions will not always be available in your business – so it’s important to think of different progression routes, too.
“Progressions and aspirations don’t necessarily need to be linked to the financials,” says Rossi. “After lockdown, the progression may be different; for instance, online training. For others, that path will be around flexibility, new ways of working, security, good working conditions or more interesting work,” she says. “It’s an opportunity to empower those members of staff, to get them excited to achieve within the business.”