Can We Talk?
Can We Talk?

“Can we talk?”

Sound familiar? Most salon owners dread hearing those three words. The “talk” almost always ends with one less member on the salon team. Just hearing the words can send an owner’s mind spinning in anticipation of what is to come.

Although it is never fun to lose a team member, smart salon owners use staff departures as a learning opportunity. Salon owner, and Eufora Business Trainer, Erin Raber believes the right outlook can build a stronger leader, and provide an opportunity to work out “kinks” in the business. Below Raber shares her own four-point checklist for making the most of a challenging situation.

1. Self-Reflection: Consider the phrase, the fish stinks from the head down. Yes, this means that if you are leading the team, everything starts with you, good or bad. It’s always worthwhile to reflect upon how you are performing as a leader. Am I available to the team? Have I let things slide or maybe kept a bad apple too long? How am I showing up for work? Do I practice what I preach? Could I have done anything differently for this person? It’s important to be very honest with yourself. It’s okay to admit to failure, if you learn and grow from it.

2. Leadership Check: Next, take a look at the leadership team, and go through the same set of questions that you did for yourself. Your leaders are also a direct reflection of you. You must take the time to meet with them on a regular basis. In my salon, says Raber, we meet every Tuesday. This allows us to have time to reflect and pivot, if needed, when troubles arise in the business.

3. Team Health: Keep the team informed! They all know that someone quit. Don’t make it “weirdly” uncomfortable. Acknowledge that some may be upset about a team member’s departure. They too may be thinking about leaving. Have empathy, and let the team know you are there for them, ready to listen and offer help. Be open to suggestions for change, and ask for their input about areas where the business could improve. Don’t forget to ask about their own goals and personal growth as well! A smart team leader knows that people are more willing to support what they help create.

4. All Systems Go: The last checkpoint is an investigation into salon systems. What is working and not working? Was there a breakdown in communication, expectations, education? Are goals and deliverables unclear or inconsistent? Is more training needed?

Raber acknowledges that salon owners can’t always make everyone happy, but to be the best you can be, she suggests continual application of her four-point checklist. At the end of the day some people are just looking for greener pastures, and, while it may be a kick to the ego, that certainly won’t break a determined salon owner. The experience, used wisely, can make leadership, and the business, stronger.

Sharing some parting advice, Raber reminds owners to keep a healthy sense of humor, “There are certainly other times that you really do need to talk, and, so as not to discourage that interaction, we lighten the mood in our salon by following ‘Can we talk’ with ‘and, I’m not quitting.’”

Salon owners interested in further honing their staff hiring and retention skills can visit Eufora University which offers several related online tutorials.

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