Staffing your salon with like-minded and hard-working stylists and nail artists is often easier said than done. We spoke with Roberto Barbosa, owner of Salon Escape in Toronto, and Leeanne Colley, owner of Tips Nail Bar in Toronto, to discuss some of the ways you can staff your salon ethically, keep your staff and maintain a happy workplace in the process.
1. Source your staff ethically
It should go without saying, but poaching staff from other salons is never the way to grow your employee roster. Instead, follow Barbosa and Colley’s examples and hire new talent straight from schools. While both have experienced other salon owners attempting to poach their staff, hiring from schools affords you the opportunity to train your staff the way you see fit. “It’s easier to train great staff when they’re with you from the start,” says Colley. “Sometimes people get set in their ways when they have a lot of experience.”
2. Train consistently
Both Barbosa and Colley have very thorough training for all of their new staff members, no matter what level they’re at, to maintain consistency and fairness throughout the salon. Barbosa explains that most of his employees don’t start working on the floor for a few weeks or start assisting more senior staff before going through an intense 16-week training program within the salon. Colley reiterates that her nail artists start at the front desk while practising their technical skills on other staff, promoting team building within the salon.
3. Mix business with pleasure
While you are running a business, team building is an integral aspect of keeping your staff happy. Barbosa explains that while some of his monthly meetings are more focused on operations, going through the salon’s numbers and upcoming promotions, “It can sometimes be a bit monotonous, so we change it up so that some of the meetings are just about having fun and talking about upcoming vacations or what we’re doing for the holidays.” Colley agrees: “We’re in an environment where we have a lot of fun every day. For team building, we go on vacations together—it’s a hustle and it can be hard, but at the end of the day, we have a great
4. Create opportunities
While both admit that attempts at poaching on their staff are inevitable (and also a testament to the quality of staff you employ), the best way to keep your employees happy and where they are is to breed loyalty. Provide ample opportunities for your staff to continue to learn and grow within their roles. Colley explains that, at Tips, she gives all of her nail artists the opportunities she’s been afforded: “Sometimes, other nail artists are the team lead at fashion shows, getting to connect with the designers to create looks, we all take part in doing editorial shoots or creating nail looks as part of our collection. The main thing for me is that everyone
has the opportunity to grow.”
5. Open lines of communication
Barbosa explains that one of the ways to ensure that your staff is happy is to maintain open lines of communication. While staff turnover is inevitable at some point, Barbosa credits trust as one of the key components of core staff: “It’s like any relationship: Once communication breaks down, you stop trusting and lose respect and loyalty.” He credits his monthly check-ins with each of his staff members for maintaining that trust and loyalty.