Timothy Howard, chief innovation officer for Vish

Timothy Howard, chief innovation officer for Vish

Building a strong team and constantly cultivating your culture are two of the most important rolesfor salon leadership, but most owners learn little about these skills in the course of their careers. To help you on the right path, Timothy Howard, chief innovation officer of Vish offers this great blog with eight important steps for building a strong team.

The best salons are those with the dream teams. Everyone involved is 100% committed to the brand, turning up every day and giving their best. But it’s more than that; the best teams also really enjoy working together, exuding a vibe clients love. It’s what every owner aspires to but many struggle to achieve.

As a former owner of two salons, I understand how challenging it is to build and sustain a great team, but if you want your salon to thrive, you need to prioritize your people:

1. Embed it into the culture

From day one, make time to look at what sort of team you want. Once you’ve defined it, write it into the DNA of your business. Make it part of your business plan and write it into your mission statement. Reinforce it by sharing it with the team regularly and giving them opportunities to contribute their ideas on team-building.

2. Don’t compromise

You need to avoid stylists who will suck the joy from your salon, even if they do come with a huge clientele. As Suzy Tryall, owner of Sage Tryall in Lynchburg, V, told me: “I think we can all agree that our guests feel the love, joy, and excitement that we give without saying a word. And if they feel that, then they also feel hate, meanness, grumpiness, ego, etc.” True words. If you can attract team players while cultivating a spirit of friendship and support, word will get around and recruitment will get easier.

3. Get everyone on board with hiring

Prioritize team culture from the start by getting your team involved in the hiring process; it gives them a sense of ownership of the new arrivals. Make it a priority to infuse your onboarding program with opportunities for new hires to meet the team, reinforcing the concept that everyone is important. Delegate certain aspects of your onboarding, such as showing how much Vish will cut down on their color waste, to different people each time so everyone gets a chance to help grow the new hires. Finally, appoint a mentor to encourage the culture as well as your high standards.

Building a strong team and cultivating a solid culture is an important role for a salon leader.

Building a strong team and cultivating a solid culture is an important role for a salon leader. 

4. Deal with the drama quickly

Let drama thrive and you’ll end up with a tragedy, so don’t turn a blind eye to squabbles or bullying. Be a positive force by quickly stamping down on any negativity. Use group meetings to emphasize the value of being a team player. If that doesn’t work, and you’ve identified the person responsible, don’t name and shame them, find time to discuss it with them privately. Work on a solution together and revisit it to check for improvements. Make it clear to the whole team that negative attitudes won’t be tolerated. And if that doesn’t work, remember to fire fast.

5. Find the solution together

Give your people ownership of the process. I don’t mean simple delegation. Bring in the team to discuss issues and work with them to find ways to enforce team cohesion, then let them incorporate it into practice. If you struggle to let go, work on problem-solving skills with the team by sharing challenges that they resolve. This will build your and their confidence, enabling you to let go more.

6. Build a family

Nothing helps a group gel more than time together away from work, so invest in opportunities where the team gets to hang out together. Combine it with education, such as live hair shows or bringing in an educator after hours, and you’ve got the golden ticket. Even just a trip to a bar or restaurant, or going out bowling will allow them time to get to know one another.

7. Reward teamwork

Healthy competition within the salon, whether it’s championing the individual with the best Vish reweigh stats or the lowest color waste, helps drive success. But rewarding your team also helps to build a thriving salon, so consider setting team challenges where employees support one another to succeed. Then ensure the reward is something that will bring them together even more.

8. Invest in your team

It can be poisonous for a business to lose people as they might take others with them when they go. To avoid this,  ensure your salon is the best in town, where every stylist longs to work. Many Vish clients have used the savings and additional revenue brought by Vish to introduce 401Ks and retirement plans to attract and retain stylists. But the ultimate magnet that will ensure they never let you go is education. Feed their creativity and passion and they’ll stay forever. 

Check out these other stories from Vish: 

The Shocking Cost of Surplus Inventory

Managing Change in the Salon: Heath Smith of Ruiz Salons on Creating Systems that Work

Greening Practices While Boosting Profits


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