Playing for keeps |

2 mins

Playing for keeps

With a career spanning cruise ships, spas, product brands and more than six years as owner of Gateshead salon All About You, Elaine Beatty knows a lot about staff retention. She shares her secrets with Eve Oxberry

What do you think is causing the recruitment issue in salons?

“One issue is that we’re seeing therapists coming through who are only really partially trained due to not getting the hands-on time during the pandemic, so when they start in a salon, it’s almost like starting at the beginning with them. That does mean you can mould them to how you want them to deliver your services but it can also be a challenge sometimes.

“Meanwhile, a lot of therapists with experience are setting up on their own. So, once you do find good therapists, it’s important to retain them and that’s by keeping that motivation up and developing them as much as possible.”

What are your tips for keeping staff motivated?

“Training’s a huge factor because once things start to get stale, people get bored. So keep evolving what you’re offering – introduce new treatments for them to learn. We do in-house training weekly, as well as brand training every three to six months, depending on the therapist.

“I’ve recently increased salaries, as well as introducing the BrightHR app, which offers counselling, discounts with different companies, and if they have HR problems, they can go through this company as well – there are lots of different factors. Even though I’m quite a small business, I’ve found HR to be a huge area. Obviously there is a fee for it, but, to me, it’s like I’ve employed an HR person for a lower price.

“Incentives are also really important, and team nights out. Plus, little things like, on a busy day, I make sure the goodie cupboard’s full for them.”

How much should you involve the team in business decisions?

“Making them feel valued and taking their opinions on board is so important. Obviously, it’s not appropriate to involve them in all decisions, but decisions that are going to affect them, definitely.

“It’s important for them to understand the business in order to feel motivated, so my team have targets and I also share what we’ve achieved in the last quarter and where that money actually goes because once they have that understanding, they appreciate it all.

“When they’ve got a couple of white spaces they can’t fill, explain why it’s important and how lost revenue effects the business as a whole. It’s important they know you’re asking them this for a reason – because it helps the business and, ultimately, keeps them in the job.”

Retention can be harder in small salons with less scope for promotion. How can salon owners overcome that?

“Giving annual bonuses can help, or even a little share in the company. At the moment, I have a single-site business, but in the future I’d like to franchise and also go into consultancy, so this is how I’m talking to my team about the bigger picture.

“Not everybody’s turned on financially but people want to develop, so one way to help keep staff loyal is to give them new skills, which goes back to the importance of training. As well as the training with product houses, there’s all sorts of business and management training you can consider. Even things like health-andsafety courses just give them that extra string to their bow.”

This article appears in June 2023

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June 2023
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With a career spanning cruise ships, spas, product brands and more than six years as owner of Gateshead salon All About You, Elaine Beatty knows a lot about staff retention. She shares her secrets with Eve Oxberry
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