Improving Staff Retention in Salons

Published on October 16, 2023 by MustardHub Admin

Staff hiring and retention pose significant challenges for businesses in the professional beauty industry today. The post-pandemic landscape has ushered in flexible work arrangements and a flourishing shadow economy, leading many beauty professionals to leave traditional salon employment. Instead, they opt for self-employment or explore entirely new career paths.

For salon owners, this shift necessitates a fundamental change in how teams are recruited, trained, and retained. Despite the current recruitment turmoil, there remains a pool of professionals seeking stable, in-salon positions for the long term. The key difference is that with numerous job opportunities available, professionals can be discerning in their choices. This candidate-centric market is a positive development as it means employees are genuinely invested in your business when they accept job offers.

The strength of a professional hair, beauty, or spa business lies in its team. To make your salon stand out and attract a lasting team, creating a professional, growth-oriented, and rewarding work environment is essential. Let’s explore how to achieve this and build a team that elevates your business.

Careful planning yields better results.

When hiring new staff members, it’s crucial to think carefully about your salon’s specific needs. 

Avoid the reactive approach of immediately advertising a replacement role when someone leaves, especially if your salon has been operating for many years. This approach can lead to stagnation among staff and clients and exacerbate existing issues.

Consider a scenario where a stylist in a small salon decides to leave because she feels overworked and wishes to specialize as a colorist. Instead of merely hiring another stylist and repeating the same pattern, the salon should contemplate restructuring. This might involve hiring a full-time receptionist, training the team in reception duties, and redistributing responsibilities while allowing staff to specialize. Alternatively, the salon could hire a new stylist and invest in salon scheduling software to handle administrative tasks.

While it may seem frustrating to spend extra time brainstorming your salon’s needs before posting a job advertisement, this investment pays off in terms of staff retention and long-term revenue generation.

Thoughtful Job Advertising is critical.

After determining the role you need to fill, ensure that your job listing is honest and realistic about expectations. If, for instance, you require a stylist or technician to manage the front desk one day a week, include this in the listing. If your job listing isn’t gaining traction, reconsider whether your expectations are realistic and whether the role itself needs to be reevaluated.

In the evolving post-pandemic work environment, people increasingly value flexibility, autonomy, and work-life balance. To stand out and attract talent, consider offering additional benefits that make your salon an appealing place to work. Promote these benefits, which could range from product discounts and free services to maternity benefits or health insurance. While these perks may entail additional costs and an adjustment period, they lead to a happier salon team, increased job applications, and improved staff retention.

Additionally, consider where you advertise job openings. The salon industry thrives on creativity and personal connections, so job postings should appear where these individuals frequent, both online and in person. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or local college forums may be more effective than corporate sites like LinkedIn or Indeed. When crafting job descriptions, clearly outline job requirements, necessary skills, and information about your business, including benefits and salary offered. Use inclusive language to eliminate bias and ensure an equitable recruitment process for all candidates.

Support newly qualified professionals and trainees. 

When hiring newly qualified professionals and trainees, remember that some individuals entering the workforce during the pandemic may lack experience in a salon environment. This transition can be challenging. To ease the recruitment process, offer virtual salon tours or opportunities for candidates to visit and familiarize themselves with the salon before starting officially. Acknowledge the additional hurdles posed by the pandemic and maintain empathy throughout this period.

The pandemic may have affected social skills development, particularly for those who trained remotely. Be patient and understanding if it takes time for new team members to build confidence in communicating with colleagues and clients. Address this challenge through regular practice and a nurturing, open, and friendly environment.

In practical terms, some new graduates and trainees may have been trained remotely, which is not ideal for a tactile industry like beauty. If a new hire struggles with certain techniques or protocols, invest the time to provide proper training. Leading by example and dedicating time to high-quality training demonstrates your commitment to offering services of the highest caliber.

Kindness and patience go a long way, especially after the turbulent years we’ve experienced. These qualities contribute to staff retention and cultivate a team of talented, qualified, and dependable individuals. An effectively planned induction process is critical.

Prioritizing Staff Retention.

Retaining a motivated, professional team is essential for business growth. Research shows that 92% of salon clients would follow their favorite service provider to a new salon if they changed jobs. Thus, it’s imperative to give your team reasons to remain loyal to your business.

While offering benefits like higher salaries, career progression, shorter shifts, and free products can help with retention, combining these perks with an open, honest, and people-centric salon environment is more sustainable. Your team members have lives outside of work and are unique individuals with their own aspirations. Building genuine relationships based on respect and recognition for their work fosters a happier work environment.

Establishing clear expectations for your team is essential for both staff and management. When everyone understands their roles and responsibilities, daily operations run smoothly, leading to a fairer work environment. Clear expectations also facilitate addressing staff performance issues objectively and efficiently.

Numbers, such as average appointments per staff member or average client spend, can provide benchmarks to set targets and encourage staff to achieve them. Celebrating or rewarding employees when they meet these targets boosts morale and fosters a sense of accomplishment.

Defining company values is an effective way to emphasize your expectations for the team. These values reflect what’s most important for your business and set a standard of work for staff members. When creating company values, keep them simple, collaborative, and accountable. Incorporate them into the onboarding process to ensure they remain top of mind.

In addition to aligning with your values, it’s essential to understand your candidates’ values to motivate their retention within your business.

Prioritizing Communication.

Effective communication within your salon team is crucial for success. Encourage open, honest, and transparent communication among staff, management, and clients to create a harmonious work environment.

Building genuine rapport with employees lays the foundation for open communication. Take time to get to know your team members on a personal level and show interest in their lives. Regular team meetings and individual catch-ups keep everyone informed and provide opportunities to address concerns or discuss professional growth.

Seek feedback from your team regularly, covering all aspects of your salon, from clients to recruitment, benefits, career progression, communication, and work-life balance. Act on this feedback to demonstrate that you value their input.

Be a leader rather than a traditional boss by guiding your team members’ growth and respecting their autonomy. Establishing yourself as an equal promotes a more approachable atmosphere, making it easier for team members to address issues.

Create a salon culture that prioritizes inclusivity, openness, growth, and celebration. Upholding these values in daily practices fosters a positive atmosphere and ensures that employees feel valued and engaged.

Promoting Ongoing Education.

Investing in ongoing education benefits both individuals and your salon business. In an ever-evolving industry, keeping your team informed about the latest protocols and best practices is essential for success. Encourage staff members to explore their interests, whether related to the salon industry or not.

Education goes beyond industry-specific masterclasses. It involves nurturing team members’ unique interests and investing in their professional growth. Tailor learning pathways to allow staff to develop their passions.

By creating a culture of learning and development, you not only boost individual skills but also show that you genuinely care about your team’s growth. This approach encourages staff loyalty and brings valuable skills and knowledge back to your salon.

Staff hiring and retention in the beauty industry can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. By fostering a nurturing, growth-oriented, and people-centric work environment, you can build a loyal and talented team that propels your business to new heights. In the post-pandemic world, employees are seeking workplaces where they feel valued and heard. Showing appreciation for your team and recognizing their superpowers will incentivize them to continue performing at a high level. MustardHub provides employers with a platform to transform their company culture into a destination for workplace happiness where workers feel valued, heard, and appreciated. Provide them with that, and you’ll create a future-proof, successful salon business.


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