People who work in salons and spas are no different than writers, designers, and artists. They’re creative, think outside the box, and look at all the angles to get the best results. They’re individuals, and for the most part they’re fun, good conversationalists, and enjoy what they’re doing.
They look forward to going to work because they enjoy tackling difficult problems, and coming up with unique solutions. When everything works in harmony, the atmosphere in your salon is great for you, your clients, and your staff. But when you’re dealing with a bunch of creative people, all of whom have their own ideas on how things should be done, sometimes conflicts can occur.
So, how do you stay on top of all this, plus keep the peace and the karma flowing?
Stay above the fray
The salon business is fun. There’s usually a lot of interaction between staff members that can include friendships and even dating. And since you’re dealing with creative people, you’re also dealing with egos. In some cases, strong egos. And you know what happens when egos clash… trouble! So how do you handle it and stay above the fray?
You need to monitor closely what’s going on in your shop. The second you spot trouble brewing between employees, you have to act. Letting it linger simply means letting it fester until it blows up. As the manager, you have to get the two parties together, usually after work when the rest of the staff has gone home.
Get to the root of the problem and do your best to handle it fairly and impartially. You can be friends with all your employees, but never forget that you’re the boss!
Communicate as much as you can
Always make it a point to keep the lines of communications open. Talk to your employees and find out what’s going on. But, don’t talk to one more than another or you’ll be perceived as having “favorites”. Your employees will respect you if you act in an even-handed manner. And when they respect you, they’ll try and impress you by working harder and producing more.
Reward them as a group
Around the holidays, schedule an informal dinner party paid for by the salon. In the summer, perhaps a picnic at a local park. You’ll be amazed at how much this can add to your salon’s camaraderie, and carry over to your shop. And there’s a side benefit to this, of course. The happier your place is to work, the happier your clients will be when they walk in for their appointments. Happy employees + happy customers = a happy cash register!
Defend your employees
It happens. Every so often, you’re going to have a disgruntled client. Perhaps she doesn’t like the cut, or maybe the color is wrong. But she’s upset at the stylist, and by association, at your salon. It’s up to you to step up and control the situation.
Regardless of whether the client is right or wrong, tell her that you’re sorry she’s unhappy and you’ll try to make up for it with a free appointment, or some other incentive. In any case, stand by your employee! Never throw her/him under the bus in an effort to placate the client. It’s a lot easier to replace a client than it is a good employee. Hard working employees are worth their weight in gold. When you stand up for one of them, word will circulate to all the others. They’ll hold you in greater esteem, and work all the harder.
Letting a bad employee go
This is something no one wants to do, but for the good of your salon, and the morale of your other employees, it sometimes has to be done. If you notice that an employee isn’t living up to your expectations, take that person aside and discuss it with him/her. Make a note in the employee’s personnel folder about what was discussed, why it was discussed, and when.
If another incident occurs, you might want to do the same thing again, this time with a written warning. If it keeps happening, it’s time to let the axe fall. But here’s the thing: Should the employee attempt to sue you for unfair labor practices, you have written proof, and a paper trail, documenting the employee’s history. You’re covered from all angles.
Encourage your employees to come to you with their concerns or ideas
You’re not only their boss, you’re their leader, and your employees should feel comfortable enough with you to discuss any concerns they might have, or any ideas for improving your salon’s business. If you’re busy when they approach you, set up a time when you can get together in private to converse.
Don’t put it off! If you do, your employee will simply think you don’t care about him/her, and probably start looking for another job. By the same token, the employee may a have a great idea to make the salon more profitable or productive. If the idea turns out to be a winner, make sure the employee is rewarded.
Your employees are the face of your business
The face your salon puts on for the world. If they’re happy, creative and productive, your clients will recognize that immediately, and they’ll want to bring their business to your door. Success breeds success, and it all begins with your employees’ attitude. Make sure they have a good one!