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How to Motivate Your Salon's Employees

By: Ashley Smith (SALT Administrative Manager)

As a salon owner, you’re responsible for a lot of different tasks: Creating and managing your salon’s retail strategy, putting a salon marketing plan in place, hiring and managing staff, etc. One of the most important jobs for salon owners, though, is also one that tends to get fairly little attention: Motivating your salon’s employees. 

And that’s a shame, because keeping your staff motivated and loving their work won’t just make for a better work environment for your staff—it’ll also create a better salon environment for your clients. Simply put, a more motivated staff equals happier clients which equals a more profitable salon.

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It’s also important to note that the reverse holds true. An unmotivated staff is an unproductive one, which can negatively impact your salon’s culture, work environment, and overall client experience.

Are you looking for tips that you can use to keep your salon employees happy and motivated to show up every day to do the best they can possibly do? Below, we have gathered advice and tips that you can use to motivate three different categories (or buckets) or salon employees: Commission-based stylists, renting stylists, and non-stylist staff.

How to Motivate Commission-Based Stylists & Other Personnel

Listen to Episode 27 of the Hair Goals Podcast to hear from Sarah and Ashley about the ways to motivate your salon staff!

Whether you run your salon by employing commission-based stylists or by renting out space will depend on your own goals for your salon and how involved you want to be in daily activities; neither is inherently better than the other. It is important to note, though, that how you go about motivating your stylists can vary substantially depending on what this relationship looks like. 

Because a commission-based employment agreement is a lot like your traditional employee/employer relationship, you can often motivate your commission-based staff in similar ways to what is found at other types of businesses. Consider some of the options below to keep your commission-based stylists and non-stylist staff striving for bigger and better things:

1. Offer employee benefits.

Offer your stylists and non-stylist staff benefits such as health insurance, vacation and sick time, and even retirement benefits (if you can afford to) in order to show your employees that they are valued and to encourage them. In addition to showing your appreciation, this will also ensure that they do not feel tempted to seek a different job elsewhere with better benefits.

2. Offer incentives.

Consider offering your employees incentives like bonuses and awards. These rewards can be given when a stylist or staff member reaches a new goal or milestone, such as bringing in a certain level of business in a month or performing a certain number of services.

3. Provide employee development opportunities.

Providing employees with development opportunities, such as an educational stipend that can be used to attend a workshop or class, will guarantee that they are regularly improving their skills and staying passionate about their work. Keeping your employees abreast of the latest trends and techniques in the industry will get your stylists excited about what they do, ultimately boosting motivation in your salon.

4. Acknowledge and celebrate your staff’s achievements.

Be sure to regularly acknowledge and celebrate achievements, whether large or small, in order to help your employees feel like a valued member of the team. This can be done immediately after witnessing an achievement or positive client interaction, or more formally during staff meetings. When employees feel appreciated, they are more productive.

5. Help them understand how their role impacts others.

Staff members need to understand how their successes and failures extend beyond themselves. Your stylists might need to be reminded that they are part of a team that is relying on them to be the best they can be.

6. Lead by example.

As the boss, your salon staff is highly influenced by your actions and behaviors. You can’t expect your stylists to be motivated and passionate if you’re not motivated yourself.

How to Motivate Renting Stylists

Because stylists who rent a chair in your salon are not employees in the technical sense, they are largely responsible for bringing in their own business. Whether they succeed or fail is, largely, dependent on their ability and willingness to hustle and put in the work.

But when it comes to your salon’s culture, it doesn’t matter what an employee’s pay structure is. Every employee, whether they rent or not, should be an active team player within your business; if even one employee isn’t motivated, it will bring down the entire team, which will in turn affect your overall business’s performance.

Some methods you can use to keep your renting stylists motivated include:

1. Offer educational opportunities.

Educational opportunities should be offered to all stylists, including your renters. Learning new tips, tricks, and trends can help them reignite their passion for the job. Consider hosting a training event in your salon where all of your stylists can gain hands-on education, or provide a stipend that they can use to attend a workshop or otherwise develop their skills. 

2. Include them in team meetings and gatherings.

It’s easy for renting stylists to feel as though they aren’t really part of the team. Including them in team meetings and team-building events will help them truly understand that you do consider them to be a part of the team.

3. Create an environment that will help them attract and retain their own clientele.

Your renting stylists are likely already coming to you with an established clientele that they hope to expand in the future. These stylists need a positive salon environment that will help them to attract and retain their own clientele so that they are not tempted to leave your salon for a different location.

Want to learn more about how you can lead your salon’s staff more effectively? Download our Hiring & Training PDF. Discover how you can build a strong, highly-motivated team with our tips and tricks for hiring and training your staff.

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