Are you exasperated with stylists who show up late, demand more pay, don't take a lot of pride in their chosen field of work, complain about not getting enough hours, and neglect to educate their clients on products? The list could go on and on. But one thing is true. The perfect employee or stylist doesn't grow on trees, nor do they just come walking through the door (except maybe once or twice in your career…if you’re lucky). So, it’s up to you to mold the staff you have into the “perfect employees”.
In situations where most employers would fire an employee, instead try to lovingly coach, educate and mold them into being a perfect employee. Remember, these are stylists - most of whom are “fabulously free spirited and amazingly creative”. What they are not is business minded, or thinking much past their client and themselves. So by providing them with a little understanding of your job as the owner, as well as clear boundaries, you give them a balance they may not naturally have.
Here at Shear Madness Franchising (Shear Madness Haircuts for Kids Salons) we have come up with 4 easy strategies for our franchise owners to use.
When employees show up late and their client has been waiting: Don’t chew them out or make them feel bad. Instead remind yourself that with most stylists their thought process is “its ALL about ME”. So take this opportunity to make it ALL ABOUT THEM and coach them on all the reasons they are holding themselves back. Tell them that by making their clients wait unnecessarily, it makes them look unprofessional. It's also impolite and most likely reduces the amount of tips they receive, as well as potentially ruining the chances of that client ever rebooking with them again. Remind them that because their client’s time is valuable too, showing respect to a client will undoubtedly build a greater client base. Then be sure to let them know that because you believe they can do better - you'll expect better from them in the future. Also, make sure that it's known that poor attitudes and behaviors refelect negatively on the salon as a whole, and that damaging the good name of your business simply can't be allowed. Then smile and give them a hug.
When employees complain because they aren’t making enough money: We’ve all had this employee before. The one who doesn’t want to work hard and believes that it’s someone else’s fault they aren’t making more money. Usually they are simply uneducated as to what it takes to be successful. So if you want the perfect employee, coach them on building their own client base and provide them with specific suggestions on how they can do this. Gently remind them of the “color class” they missed last month and how that new technique would save time by allowing an additional client to be booked per day. Be loving, be kind and never make them feel bad about their work. Educate them, coach them and build them up, and they will become the perfect employee.
When employees give you ultimatums: What should you do when an employee or stylist corners you and says, “I’m going to leave if you don’t pay me more”? First off, don’t cave in and give it to them. Instead, schedule a time that day to meet privately. Then educate them on why the business pays in the manner in which it does. Remember, they cut hair and do not run a business, so give them a few examples of what all needs to be covered by the salon to remain in business. Show them “on paper” how gaining just one more client per day would translate into more money for them over the course of a year. Additionally, perhaps talk about how many more clients they have now vs. when they started, and share with them what marketing efforts you have in place to bring in more clients. Then remind them how they may have kept a client waiting for 30 minutes the other day, and how she didn’t re-book for her next appointment. Reminding them of that client they kept waiting puts the fault of not making more money back where it should be - on them.
When employees are upset because they need more hours: First, remember that you are the owner and will think a little differently than they do. You are all about the numbers and what it takes to run your business, and they are all about being creative and cutting hair. So it’s important they understand that your job is to grow the business with the funds that you have. For example, if you have stylists on payroll when there are no clients in the store, then most of your resources are being burned up in payroll instead of marketing. Coach them on how to build their own request base so that when the slow season comes and hours are sparse, they’re still busy and getting the hours they need. Then you can gently ask them, “didn’t you just ask Saturday if you could be the first to leave if we were slow”?
We have many more business tips and strategies that cover everything from employee retention, to marketing, to product sales, and more! As a Shear Madness Haircuts for Kids franchisee, you could have access to all those systems and strategies.
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