How to hire the right employees to staff your beauty salon or spa and create the dream team.
Feb 12, 2020 · 6 min read
Anyone who has ever owned or managed a salon knows that sometimes, finding and managing staff is about as easy as herding cats.
In fact, many salon owners say it’s their number one problem.
From finding the right people, paying the right wages and setting the right commission, to motivating everyone to all get along and work together, it’s not surprising that it’s a challenge that leaves many business owners tearing out their hair. 😱
But, help is at hand. Here, we’ll take a look at the steps you can take to make your hiring and day-to-day staff issues more straightforward.
Here’s how to get it right:
Not everyone needs to be a carbon copy of one another on your team. Sure, you may have a superstar employee who you wish that you could clone, but differing personalities and skills bring new things to the table and will appeal to a wider range of clients.
The beauty industry, in particular, can be a difficult place to find staff who want to work and stay somewhere and build their reputation. Nor is it easy to find experienced staff who have both the technical and the interpersonal skills to be a true asset to your business.
But they do exist. Here are some ways to find the diamonds:
Ask your team if they have other friends who may be looking for a new job.
Don’t rush to hire someone. It’s better to wait a few weeks and be short-staffed than to hire the wrong person in a hurry. Use a temping agency in the interim if you need to.
Have a checklist of the typical treatments you offer and see if your needs match their skills. It’s unrealistic to expect a therapist to be able to do everything, but look for a close match.
After a successful interview, arrange to hold a trade test. Get them in to show you what they can do. Don’t just take their word for it. Use this session to check their treatment timings are up to speed and the accuracy of their work.
In the interview, see if they know anything about the brands you stock or use. Bonus points if they have done some homework on them, and of course, if they have trained in that system and are qualified in performing them — even better.
Are they up to speed with current industry trends?
How is their customer service? Give them a few problem-solving scenarios during the interview to try and get an understanding of how they would handle different situations
Develop a staff manual (if you don’t have one already) that not only outlines your working practices and how problems are solved, tasks are distributed etc, but also clearly sets out your business values.
Outline in detail things like how you want your customers to be greeted, extra jobs you expect to be done around the salon and how your systems work and operate. Include a section that covers how you pay commission, plus the names and numbers of the people they can speak to if they have more questions on anything, from payroll and tax to HR.
Being clear and open helps quash any rumors and encourages an open and honest business culture.
Who gets the best reviews? Who has the best rebooking rates? Who makes the most in commission from product sales? A good salon management system will be able to tell you all this and more, at the push of a button. That way, it’s easy to see who your top performers are. Make sure that these team members are nurtured and see what lessons others can learn from them. Could they do a team training session to share some of their skills? If some people are clearly underperforming, what can be done to nurture and motivate them and get them back up to speed?
They don’t need to be long or procedural and can be as informal as getting everyone together and having a coffee and a chat. The aim is to give people a voice and to help them feel involved and invested in the business. As the ower, focus on listening to your team. People can share knowledge and you can keep them updated with what is coming up ahead. Take coffee and pastries or sandwiches so it’s something your team looks forward to.
Whether it’s a regular thing or product-specific training, make sure that your team is trained in your main product lines and that they all have training plans to work towards. Be sure you’ve got enough staff who are trained and qualified in your most popular treatments and always take into consideration customer reviews and feedback to find out the strong and weak sides of your employees that could benefit from development.
Motivate staff members by being a leader. Sure, you may love members of your team like they are almost family, but remember — you are their boss, not their friend. They need to respect you — and each other, and it’s for you to set that example and not show favoritism. Be clear in communicating your shared vision for the salon and for the team — to be successful together.
Don’t just drop new team members in at the deep end. Have a plan for their first day/week and a checklist for the key things they need to know about how your salon or spa operates and who they can turn to for help and support when they are learning the ropes. Create a welcome offer to help introduce them to clients, using your salon management software and give them the opportunity to begin to build their own client base.
The best way to pay staff varies largely by region, country and even by city! You may offer a fixed hourly or weekly wage. You may offer basic pay, plus commission on bookings. Or basic pay, plus commission on retail sales. Or maybe you have everyone working self-employed or renting a chair. Whatever you do, make sure that staff are always paid on time and that they have their payslip when it is due. Have a good salon management system in place that can log and track hours and product sales by employee. Make sure that all taxes and insurance payments that you owe are paid on time. The fastest way to lose staff is to not pay them on time.
What’s the takeaway here? When you are short of staff, the worst possible thing you can do is just hire the first person who comes along and hope they gel with the team and pick up the skills they need. Nothing will lose you clients or the respect of your team quicker than hiring the wrong people. Think about having a broad spread of ages and skills within your team, so you can appeal to as wide an audience as you can. And make sure everyone knows what your business stands for, the standards you expect and the culture you want to foster. And never, ever delay paying your team on time.
Alexander is a serial entrepreneur, co-founder at RetentionForce, Simply Technologies, a beauty salon OD Blow Dry Bar, and other ventures. His expertise ranges from business software development, conversational marketing and business automation.