The talent working in your salon is your most valuable asset, so what are you doing to make sure they feel loved, appreciated, and well compensated?
It’s the number one question salon owners need to ask in order to craft a supportive workplace that inspires talent to build a career with you.
Owners of Logan 14 Salon Spa in Washington, D.C. Dr. Micheal Londner, Wendi Dofflemeyer, and Micheal Hodges are dedicated to creating a work environment that’s supportive, provides opportunities for mindful self-care, and offers a unique success path for each employee.
For insight on their success tips, we talked with Molly Ryan, Manager of Logan 14 Salon Spa. Ryan shared simple, inspiring ideas they practice to help other salon owners kick things up a notch when it comes to employee appreciation and staff wellness management.
Simple Compensation Ideas that Pack a Big Punch
To build a salon culture that encourages teamwork and connection, use simple ways of sharing appreciation. When staff have the opportunity to work towards self-improvement goals, skill building, and a specific career path in (or beyond) the stylist chair, it incentivizes them while helping them stay on track with personal goals.
The result? A sense of true ownership in their own success and feeling valued as an individual talent, as well as part of a larger salon team.
To create this type of culture in your own salon, Ryan suggested ideas that go a long way with her staff, and keep morale and performance high consistently. She calls it an “appreciation and attention strategy” geared at the front desk, stylists, staff, and guests alike.
Some ways to provide an appreciation and attention strategy in your salon:
#1 Add an employee benefit for each year the salon is open.
It can be extra paid vacation, additional investment opportunities in a 401K package, or added perks for free or discounted products or services. Whatever the benefit, make it different each year so it feels special and worth the work to earn it.
#2 Create a unique career path for each stylist from day one.
Aveda salons offer unique career path options beyond a basic stylist track, including Editorial Stylist, Education Ambassador, and Color Specialist, that includes teaching opportunities. Each career path option has a unique approach related to what the stylist wants to pursue in terms of education, benchmarks, and goals. With details and staff desires clear, management and the stylist can work together to create a clear path to success and enjoyable work.
#3 Use benchmarks to incentivize and offer additional benefits when goals are met.
Stylists are shaping a one-to-one connection with each guest, but they also want to know how their unique blend of client retention and testimonials impact their career goals and success. Using the SalonBiz benchmark feature, it’s easy for managers like Ryan to sit down with each stylist and discuss performance, what to improve, and how, in very specific, measurable ways. Data in hand also helps stylists feel more empowered and clear on what’s working or needs improvement, and how to collaborate with managers to build that success together
Tips for Salon Owners to Improve Operations and Retention
Specific compensations for staff is only one aspect of creating a more successful salon. The other part is mindset.
Salon owners often think creating more value comes at a big cost. In reality, salon owners need to embrace planning and tools to help outline effective management techniques and ways to keep processes flowing. Good ideas can easily get lost when there’s no way to implement and track their efficiency and success. Effective tools and policies also help salons with retention and create an environment people don’t want to leave.
Ryan shared fantastic ideas that work for Logan 14 Salon Spa and provide a culture supportive of positive teamwork and well-being. Here are specific ways to improve operations and retention, without breaking the bank:
#1 Invest in management and highly skilled front desk team.
- Pay above minimum wage and hire someone to manage the front desk only.
- Create a tiered management team that includes: Two overall managers, two supervisors outreach specialists, brand ambassador (specialized management team), and social media manager.
- Craft a specific career path for admin and management and front desk team. These people are essential for product sales and redesigning the front desk area with new products as needed each season.
- Hire a host for guest service practices, and provide clear specialized guest services with instruction on how to upsell and match new clients with the right stylist etc.
Then find simple ways to connect and communicate as a team regularly to boost connection, communication skills, and create clarity on salon needs and business goals.
- Meet weekly with management team and front desk leads. This is especially helpful if some have dual roles.
- Carve a clear career path within the admin roles, including a clear starting and ending point to help them work towards interests and goals.
- Share the salon’s ideal on quality work and ways to spot and recruit more specialized talent into the salon.
#2 Share Gratitude and Demonstrate Acknowledgement
There are many ways to do this; here are some Ryan finds extremely successful:
- Provide ongoing education opportunities.
- Create service provider appreciation days.
- Celebrate staff and offer ways to connect while blowing off steam with happy hours, anniversary and holiday parties, and of course birthdays!
- Acknowledge and celebrate the winners of internal and external contests and awards.
- Host an annual salon retreat and close down the business to focus on wellness and appreciation for the whole staff.
- Offer access to a self care options, a counselor, and an open forum to discuss how stylists and staff manage self-care.
- Share fun personal and team building time outside of work doing things like museum tours, scavenger hunts, pool time etc.
Remember, team building is critical to help reassert values of quality, diversity, connection in a different setting outside of salon.
# 3 Cultivate the Concept of Community and Diversity Internally and Externally
Salons are a lot like a community center, but for connecting with our beauty inside and out. It’s a place where beauty is recognized across gender, race, or culture. To create and foster a feeling of acceptance and inclusion is important for a salon, and offers a place where everyone feels embraced for who they are, no matter what. As a salon owner, be intentional about creating a safe space like this for employees and guests, always.
To build these aspects into the salon naturally, some basics:
- Review and define clear hiring practices to ensure they are inclusive and effective.
- Foster open communication with all staff to help them feel comfortable sharing what may or may not work for them personally.
- Educate all staff on gender language and transgender and style tips, and offer education and styling lessons to transgender guests
- Hire a diversity and inclusion outreach specialist and educate them on how to welcome new guests, and create policies for how to accommodate transgender guests so they feel safe.
The most important thing for any salon says Ryan, “Providing ways for staff to bond and invest in something bigger than you is really transformative. Also, be willing to have a conversation! Ask how someone is doing before you reprimand. Treat people with respect to keep them engaged. Be transparent. Remember, they are representing you each day!” And last but not least, Ryan added, “Give staff a voice.”
To see how Logan 14 Salon Spa practices what they preach, check out these videos that demonstrate their teamwork, gender equity support, and self care management approaches.
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