A positive vibe within a salon has a huge impact on both recruitment and retention. People like to be happy at work and feeling valued encourages them to focus on what they love about their job, generating a sense of infectious positivity, making clients feel good about coming, and returning.

But it’s so easy to fall into a negative groove and get stuck. Instead of celebrating success, acknowledging hard work or being collaborative, suddenly the mood slips. Gossip becomes rife in the staffroom, stylists leave early or arrive late, dust isn’t being wiped off the shelves, and resentment of team chores goes through the roof. 

“It is so easy for things to go toxic, where all you do is chase people to remind them to do what they are supposed to do,” says Ron King, owner of award-winning salon Ron King in Austin, TX. “We avoid that by creating a team mentality where we acknowledge the positive things people do even when we don’t particularly feel like it. It gives them a sense of belonging which translates to a feeling of joint ownership. It’s all about listening, celebrating success and making sure the salon is a positive place to be.”

When complaining is more common than cheering, it might be time to review procedures and recalibrate how things are done. Instead of nagging your reluctant team to do a particular job – possibly because it’s menial and boring – look to remove it. It’s part of listening and being open to change suggested, even passively, by your team. Did I hear you snort with skepticism? One of the easiest (and one of the most hated) chores Ron was able to change was the laundry, moving instead to eco disposable towels. It has helped Ron head off any moaning in his beautiful new salon.

“Everyone hates being the one to sort, wash, dry, fold and tidy away the bags of towels that salons use day after day. Unless it allows them to hide away, dodging other important tasks such as looking after guests or bringing models to practice on,” Ron adds. “So I set up a subscription with Sustain Beauty Co to supply us with Scrummi eco disposable towels.”

Doing so has allowed Ron and thousands of other salon owners to curtail any tendency to badgering, reducing housekeeping labor and redirecting their team toward productive projects that increase revenue. It changed the temperature in the salon completely. No one needs to be reminded to move damp towels out of sight to the back area or to tidy the shelves where towels have been messed up. Crises caused by the washer or dryer breaking down, damp towels being left to go moldy, or stylists being embarrassed by a stained towel they pulled from the clean shelves are no more.

“It’s important to remember that you aren’t expected to know all the answers, just because you are the owner,” says Ron.“In fact, your team feels valued and validated when you listen to their suggestions and can approach group issues with an open mind. It also helps your stylists approach your solution with a reciprocal open mind. They were much more responsive to the idea of the Scrummi towels because it was a solution to help them prioritize their clients over folding towels. We’ll never go back to cotton towels. Especially now that we know it’s so much better for the environment!” 

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