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 Your Commission-based Stylists & Other Personnel

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 staff striving for bigger and better things:

  1. Offer employee 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 and so that they do not feel tempted to seek a different job elsewhere with better benefits.
  2. Offer incentives like bonuses when a stylist 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. Offer employee development opportunities such as an educational stipend that can be used to attend a workshop or class, so that your stylists are regularly improving their skills and stay passionate about their work.
  4. Acknowledge and celebrate your staff’s achievements, whether large or small, in order to help them feel like a valued member of the team.
  5. Help them understand how their role impacts others, so that they understand how their successes and failures extend beyond themselves.
  6. Lead by example by regularly encouraging your staff and giving them the proper tools and training that they need to be successful.

How to Motivate Your 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 that can help them reignite their passions 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 so that they truly understand that you truly do consider them to be a part of the team.
  3. Create an environment which will help them attract and retain their own clientele, so that they are not tempted to leave your salon for a different location.
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