The Salon/Spa Owner's Guide to Firing an Employee

The Salon/Spa Owner's Guide to Firing an Employee

January 08, 2020  /  By Neil Ducoff

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Firing an employee is a right of passage for every salon/spa owner. Even after years in business, having to tell an employee, “I have to let you go,” rarely gets any easier.

Without question, most employee terminations are stressful and emotionally draining on owners. When you’re taking an individual’s job and livelihood away, terminations should never be taken lightly. Firing an employee can also be disruptive to the salon/spa’s culture, especially if the one being fired has tight friendships with other staff members.

This 2 part, 10 Step Guide to Firing an Employee will help you work up to and through a firing decision:


1. Recognize signs: It’s easy to see when an employee is trying to learn and get better vs. when they’re just going through the motions. It’s not so easy to recognize that what an employee is “telling you”, doesn’t always reflect reality.

KEY: Never get so distracted in your work that you stop observing behaviors that reveal the tell-tail signs of an employee who needs coaching.


2. Listen to the voice: Okay, you took a chance on hiring someone that interviewed well or had a great resume. Those early observations that caused you to wince are now flashing red warning signs.

KEY: If you truly hired a dud, you need to fire the dud. Fix that bad decision fast before it begins to affect your team and culture.


3. It never gets better on its own: The longer any employee’s subpar behavior or performance goes unaddressed, the more you enable it, and the harder it is to fix. There’s a difference between micromanaging and coaching.

KEY: Leadership is about achieving business results by coaching people to achieve their full potential. If you ignore the importance of developing people, you won’t like being a leader.


4. Lock in next steps: Once performance and behavior issues are identified, it’s time to have a conversation that begins with, “Do I have your permission to speak frankly?” The most common mistake that owners make is to address the problem, but not provide next steps to help the employee overcome the problem.

KEY: Prepare a written plan with the next steps and coaching support that will help the employee achieve a win. The objective with next steps is to avoid having to fire a problem employee.


5. Scheduled check-ins: Next steps must be accompanied by scheduled check-ins to monitor progress, address challenges and show the employee you want them to succeed.

KEY: Check-ins need to be frequent, not spread out over weeks and months. Frequent sounds like, “Lets talk tomorrow or at the end of the day to see how you’re doing.” There’s something about “daily” that communicates that making progress is not only an expectation, it’s a non-negotiable. You’ll know in a week or two if progress is happening. If not, you’ll know it’s time to part ways.


Check out Part 2 for tips that are sure to help ease the transition of letting someone go from your business!

About Our Guest Contributor

Neil Ducoff, Strategies

Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies, a business training and coaching company specializing in the professional beauty industry. His is a business trainer, coach, keynote speaker, an award-winning author, and the creator of the Team-Based Pay System. Ducoff is the author of Fast Forward, the definitive business resource book for salons and spas. and No-Compromise Leadership, winner of the 2010 IPPY Award for Business. His latest book, Wake Up!, contains 114 fast and powerful strategies to achieve extraordinary next level success.


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