When it comes to salon management, one of the greatest challenges faced by any salon owner is finding the right ways to manage staff effectively. The approach that you adopt is particularly important when it comes to dealing with underperforming staff.

Of course it is at your discretion how underperforming staff are dealt with. If they simply aren’t suitable for your business’ development and growth, then it may be easier to part ways. However, sometimes staff become complacent and simply need a motivator to spring them back into action.

Start with a one to one discussion…


Have you noticed a change in the behaviour of a salon staff member? Maybe they aren’t presenting themselves in an engaging and positive manner when working with clients, or their behaviour has been brought to your attention by another staff member? If this is the case, ask to meet with them for a one to one discussion. The sooner the issue is dealt with directly, the sooner your salon can move forward with or without this underperforming staff member. It is advisable to keep a record of all meetings and discussions around the subject to avoid any misunderstandings or grey areas.

During your discussion, provide as much detailed feedback as possible, addressing how you have come to the conclusion that the salon staff member is underperforming. If comments have been made by a client or the quality of your employee’s work has taken a dip, tell them what has changed and how you expect them to turn things around.

Communication is key…


The key to effectively managing underperforming staff is communication. As a salon owner, you need to be prepared to take on and be open to feedback from your salon staff members. Perhaps a member of your team is underperforming because they feel unfairly treated, or that you as the boss are not listening to them – whatever the issue, getting to the root of the problem is crucial.

Related: How to manage staff and their goals effectively

Set attainable targets to get back on track…


Following your one to one discussion, it is important to outline performance targets for your team. Ask your underperforming employee how they would like to improve. Prompt them to explain what they’d like to achieve within your salon business and any new skills they’d like to learn to better themselves as stylists or therapists. Make the most of staff training opportunities, as it may well be that your underperforming team member feels that they have no direction or purpose and that they are thinking of leaving your business. Discover 10 ways to motivate your salon team to help maintain happy staff.

Related: How to maintain low staff turnover in your salon

If you’ve exhausted all of the above, it may be time to cut ties with the underperforming staff member. Holding onto salon employees who don’t want to do their very best for you could result in your business suffering.

In an industry solely reliant on word of mouth recommendation, attracting and retaining clients, it is vital to your business that the right people are representing your brand. Discover our guide on which roles to hire for when opening your salon where we further detail the importance of getting the right team in place within your salon.

It is important that your stylists and/or therapists see you to be taking action with employees who are slacking, as it will instil confidence amongst staff members of your authority and dedication to problem solving within the salon. And most importantly, dealing with underperforming staff will be reflected in team morale, whilst pushing your salon forward.

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