Understanding why hairstylists burn out before they ever shine bright, and how to help your team avoid falling into this trap.
As the co-owner of Edges Salon and Spa in Calgary, Lina Chammoury understands the importance of balance, especially when it comes to helping her team of 24 hairstylists achieve it. “When they feel heard, your team will feel worth so much more,” she says. “If you are just going to be a corporate guru, then you’ll never get there.” We spoke with Chammoury along with Loretta Tom, director at Salon Haze in Vancouver, for their practical tips on keeping your salon team healthy and well all year round.
Value Your Time
“Gone are the days where stylists work 12 hours straight,” says Chammoury. “We have a structure where our team will work five days a week with six hour shifts, which condenses your schedule so that you can better help your clients,” she says. Using this scheduling strategy creates a demand for you as a hairstylist, which means you’re able to charge more for your time. Tom employs a similar strategy by sticking with a four-day per week schedule, which helps clear her mind. “Having three days off really helps to mentally and physically unwind, and along with a small vacation every few months,” she says.
Guide Your Team
One of the best ways to avoid team burnout is by keeping everyone engaged as a team. “With our staff, we do four events a year that are outside of work,” says Chammoury. In the past, team events have included everything from barbeques in the park to escape-room parties to quiet evening dinners at her home. For Tom it means taking time for self-care. “After a long week, getting regular massages really helps,” she says. “Long hours are a strain, so taking this time to destress with long walks outside helps me reset.” Along with regular staff meetings, Chammoury also has personal oneon-one check ins. “We get them to talk about something besides the numbers. You have to be with them on a mental and a business level.” Another strategy that Chammoury believes has helped her team achieve a healthy balance is pairing up senior and junior hairstylists. “Having a second set of hands helping, for both the senior and junior stylist, is a great experience all around and it means that double the work gets done.” She says that both hairstylists are also increasing their income as a result of being able to book more clients in less time. Even still, “some of our senior people want to work 10-hour days, but then they will get three days off,” she adds.
Show Your Flexibility
As a salon that’s open seven days a week, Chammoury is able to accommodate a variety of schedules for her team. While some senior hairstylists preferring to work daytime shifts, shefinds that afternoon and evening shifts are a preference for her younger team members. “By having a 10-hour day with a shorter four day work week, we can reward hairstylists the time off they need,” says Chammoury. With only 16 chairs and 24 staff, Chammoury says her staff share stations with multiple hairstylists, using one station during their scheduled hours. As a result, this enables her team to rotate and take the breaks they need during their work hours, without feeling the pressure of constantly needing to be behind the chair. “A lack of time is a huge thing in our business, and if we can reward hairstylists and give them back their time to do the things they love, they’ll work better when they are in the salon.”