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Team Building

Games Salons Play to Engage the Team

Stacey Soble | August 10, 2017 | 7:41 AM
Megan Gepner, Kristine Bushey, Taylor Kelly and Lo Olsen at Elle Marie play a round of The Dating Game where the contestant chooses her 'date' by matching a product name to the descriptions posed by three different team members.
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The team from HQ Salon and Spa are energized to hit goals after a dance session.
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At staff meetings, Jamison Shaw Hairdressers, stylists select a slip asking them why they appreciate a specific team member and they fill them out and share the compliments.
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By playing Helium Stick, staff members at Integrity Lash learn to work together as a team.
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At each quarterly meeting at Cortello Salon, employees start the meeting by giving a Fashion Forecast, predicting the hair, fashion and makeup trends for the coming season.
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Even though Family Feud is favorite game at Tekniques Salon, the questions are designed to reinforce salon knowledge and education.
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When staff meetings become nothing more than a litany of salon announcements and reminders, team members lose interest, attendance drops and the eyes start to roll at management. In a recent Beauty Pulse salon owner poll, we invited participants to share how they keep the team engaged during the staff meeting, and you flooded our inbox with great ideas.

When reviewing the responses, we noticed a number of salons employ the use of games—either adaptations of childhood favorites or recreations of game shows—to foster teamwork and camaraderie, share wisdom or reinforce teachings. With a little more investigating, we present more detail on the games salons play to engage their teams:

Family Game Day
“At the beginning of the year, we divided the staff into two teams—who have named themselves the Buttermilk Biscuits and the AnnaKandas—and they compete with each other all year long, accumulating points through games we play at every staff meetings. We’ve played games like Family Feud where the questions review education they’ve recently been trained on. And, just for fun we’ve made paper eyes and played ‘Pin the Eyelash on the Eye.’ At the end of the year we’ll take the winning team out for a dinner or treat them to a spa day. At our last meeting, we played a game called Helium Stick, where the entire team has to work together to lower a light-weight rod to the ground using only their outstretched index fingers, but each time they try the rod ‘floats’ up.”--Paul Leubbers, owner of Integrity Lash in Pasadena, California

The Dating Game
“After going to Redken’s Center Stage conference, we started looking for ways to engage our team members more in meetings. We started by renaming the staff meeting our Discovery Meetings, and started infusing fun games into the meetings. We have four locations, and host two meetings with two locations at each. This year one of our meetings fell on Valentine’s Day so we decided to play a version of The Dating Game. We asked for four volunteers and sent the first one back to the breakroom, and the other three to the retail area, asking them to pick their favorite product off the wall. After bringing the first volunteer out of the breakroom in a way she couldn’t see the others, we had the three take turns describing their product using terms of love without saying the name of the product. After hearing all the descriptions, she would identify the product she knows to become her date. I gave out Starbucks gift cards to the stylist who was choosing and the one selected to go out on ‘a date.’ The team really got into this game, and had lots of fun.” –Katie Pelan and Krysten Rouse, managers for Elle Marie Hair Studio in Mill Creek, Washington

Family Feud
“We play a lot of games in our staff meetings, and Family Feud is one of our favorites. We’ll have a stack of questions that are things the team should know about the salon, such as: How many years have we been opened? Or, which of our products contains olive skin? We divide the salon into two teams and they take turns facing off against someone on the other team. Just like the game show, they stand with one hand behind their backs and the other poised over a reception desk-type of bell. We also play Scattergories where each team member has a few minutes to make a list of things starting with a particular letter, so something like Services on the menu that start with R, or things at the reception desk that start with B. For the winners of these games I hand out nominal gifts like product samples. Recently I went to the Dollar Store, bought sports bottles and filled them with the packets of Crystal Light. While the team appreciates the prizes, it’s not really about that—they just love to compete!” --Patti Meade, owner of Tekniques Salon, East Brunswick, New Jersey.

Dance Party
“After a recent change of management, we determined our salon culture was not what it used to be, so we asked our team how we could make our morning huddles, which we call Hands in the Middle, more engaging. One stylist suggest starting the huddle off with a little dance music (see video below). So now the team members take turns coming in with a favorite song, we pull it up on YouTube and play it over the speakers and gather in a circle and dance. A team member will suggest a dance move an others will copy. It’s just fun, but it really gets everyone on their feet and the energy flowing. And it really shifts the mood of the salon, especially on Mondays, which can be tough. We have 52 employees, so everyone only has to suggest a favorite tune every 2-3 months, and we find that Bruno Mars never fails.” --Melissa Broxholm, co-owner of HQ Salon and Spa in Portage, Michigan

Fashion Plates
“At the beginning of every year we pick one to two staff members from every department and assign them to do a Fashion Forecast presentation of hair, makeup and clothing trends for the following season. They typically get together to select trends then start building a Pinterest Board of trends. At the meeting, they give a 10-15 minute presentation, walking us through the upcoming trends. We want to be known as a fashion-forward salon. Being able to discuss trends not only gives them great talking points with the clients in their chairs, but it helps them sell services and products for upcoming appointments when they discuss how trends are changing each season.”—Natalie McHenry, director of operations, Cortello Salon in Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Simon Says
“At a 2 to 10 conference a few years ago, cards were handed out to owners who were identified with different  best management practice strengths in a particular area. Over the course of the conference, these owners were called upon to share their best practice. I thought it was a great idea to bring back to our team, so we frequently select a team member to share a best practice at a team meeting. For example, I recently overheard one of our stylists talking to her client while her color was processing. She had pulled up her phone and opened the Salon Biz app, then said, 'We have about 10 minutes until I take you back to shampoo your hair, let’s book your next appointment.' Notice she didn’t ask, but suggested, and this stylist frequently pre-books her guests in the chair—who better knows exactly how to book that particular client’s appointment? So she shared what she does, why she does it and the dialogue she uses with a client. It’s a great feeling to be able to share something you do well with your colleagues, and having team members speak in front of the group only builds their conversation skills with their clients. After all a hair appointment is just another form of public speaking.”—Karie Bennett, owner of Atelier Salons in San Jose, California

Pass the Hat
“Whenever I’m feeling we all need to be reminded of how grateful we should be, we’ll start a staff meeting by distributing small sheets of paper that say, ‘I like (insert a staff name) because…. They draw them out of a pile when they arrive for the meeting and fill them out anonymously. We then mix them all up and have each team member read one, but not the one they wrote. When they read it, the person receiving the compliment has to stand and look at the person reading the compliment. You’d be surprised at how often the person reading and the person receiving have had a challenge together in the salon. Once they have had that moment, tensions ease and the door of ‘getting along together’ reopens. Once all the slips have been read, we post them in the break room for everyone to enjoy.”—Candy Shaw, Jamison Shaw Hairdressers, Atlanta, Georgia

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