3 Tips to Creating a Healthy Salon Environment

by Ali Davidson, reprinted from this site

Creating a healthy environment for your salon team is more than just carrying safe products, investing in ergonomic equipment and ensuring good ventilation.

Have you heard of the term “mind over matter?” The mind is an extremely powerful muscle. Keeping the mind strong, flexible, and positive is the root of wellness.

So how can you create a healthy environment for your salon team? Focus on the mental health of your salon professionals and the rest will fall into place. A positive mindset for salon employees (and booth renters) evolves based upon the three T’s: Trust, Transparency, and Teamwork.

Trust: Does your team trust you? Trust breeds trust just as distrust will spread like the parasitic fungus it is. So how can you breed trust and squash mistrust? With consistency.

Set up systems for your salon and stick to them. Hold yourself to the same standard. I’ve worked in a number of salons and each time I lost trust in my manager it came back to consistency. I worked in a walk-in salon where customers were rotated through the list of working stylists. Our manager would periodically pull herself out of that rotation “to give the rest of us more clients.”

It was, shall we say, ironic that she would always pull herself out when it was her turn and a kid or questionable looking person was coming in the door. I worked in a high-end salon where the owner still worked behind the chair. She would frequently show up for her clients 10-30 minutes after their appointments were supposed to begin.

She’d also take what appeared to the rest of us to be random handfuls of cash out of the register whenever she needed it. Towards the end of every month, when the bills were coming due, she’d try to get the rest of us to ramp up our sales.

Needless to say, we felt very little compassion or commitment to help the salon succeed. There are similar stories all across our industry of everything from certain employees being granted unfair time off to certain booth renters being permitted to turn in rent late when everyone else worked hard to get it in on time.

Owners must set policies, create systems of operation, set the standard, and stick to it. This consistency establishes trust and ends mistrust because every person in the salon knows what to expect — every day.

Transparency: Imagine walking into a murky lake with no shoes on. If you’re like me, I kind of reach a toe forward to sense if the ground is safe to touch. I move super slow and cautious with my anxiety spiked. Sometimes I even imagine I feel things that aren’t really there because I’m on such high alert. If anyone says anything regarding the lake, I believe them because I don’t know any better. I don’t want to be in that unknown water any longer than I have to be and if someone yells “snake,” I am gone!

A similar phenomenon happens when salon owners aren’t transparent about their business. Do you just expect your employees to blindly follow you? Tell them why that new policy was created and they’re much more likely to adhere. Give them a reason for an upcoming promotion and they’re going to promote it.

Give them the logistics behind the introduction or abolition of a product and they’re going to support the decision. Even if an employee disagrees with something happening in the salon, if the leadership is transparent, that employee will not be against change. Transparency alleviates anxiety of the unknown and provides hope for what’s to come. Being transparent will also help establish trust and encourage teamwork.

Teamwork: Nothing keeps a person loyal to their job longer than a sense of investment in that business’s success. If you want to keep the mental health of your salon team high, give them a sense of purpose and belonging.

Be transparent about all the work that goes into running a successful salon and get your team involved. Create a promo team to help bring in new business. Form a committee to plan team happy hours, parties, and outings. Bring salon issues to everyone’s attention in staff meetings so the collective can brainstorm a solution and own it.

Some successful salons have even gone so far as team-based pay and tip sharing. Do what’s best for your business but make sure whatever you’re doing helps all of the professionals within the business feel a sense of investment and pride that the salon’s success is also their success.

Trust, transparency, and teamwork all play off one another to support the mental health of your salon. You can have all the ergonomic mats, vegan products, and green design in the world but still have an unhealthy salon.

Mental health is king when it comes to creating a healthy environment for your salon team. Focus on the three T’s and watch moral — and your bottom line — soar.

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