But while most owners and managers agree with the concept of team building, few really understand how to build, foster and manage a team. There are two key ideas to effective teambuilding: Implementing consistent systems and understanding the core characteristics of each employee.

Effective Team BuildingOperating systems within your salon - how you order and restock products, how appointments are made and how customers are greeted, for example, should remain consistent and dependable. This is important because each employee must understand the environment and know what to expect. Industry research shows that employees - even ones who don't agree with or particularly like workplace rules, report higher levels of satisfaction and lower levels of stress when their environment -- and how it operates -- is both understood and consistent.

Before they're put into place, though, these systems should be well thought-out, clearly defined, written and explained to each employee. Doing so perceptually binds each employee into the group and begins a process of "group absorption" that is so important to the sense of belonging (a basic component of teambuilding).

The second key to good team building, understanding employee core characteristics, should start at the hiring stage. In the past, many managers would hire based on broad needs, by answering the question: "Can this person perform the job that needs to be filled?" However, more productive salons (and modern business models), look at the core characteristics - not just the technical skills - of the employee. They hire based on how these specifically align with overall salon objectives.

It's equally important to understand what drives and motivates each existing employee. Once you've assessed and determined each person's core characteristics, they should be used to both motivate and align him or her with overall salon objectives, so that both (the salon and the employee) move in unison toward goals that are important to each. By doing so, you'll eliminate most of the dissatisfaction, squabbles and drama that most salons experience.

This "cloud management" approach allows each employee and function to be part of a team that serves the bigger picture, making the salon more productive and profitable while cementing the group. Once these employee traits and salon objectives are combined, the constant struggle of forcing a "square peg into a round hole" phenomenon will never happen again (which not only destroys teambuilding, but also becomes a drain of time and energy in the salon).

Whether you're a seasoned manager or just getting in the game, how well you're able to build your team will depend on the systems you implement and the effort you make to understand each employee. Dale Carnegie® Training reports that companies "lose $350 billion a year because of employee disengagement." By effectively building a team from within, your salon doesn't have to be one of the statistics.

For more information about how to better understand people and their performance, click here.

Effective Team BuildingCheryl Spoor is committed to raising the bar for salon professionals. She has more than 30 years of experience as an educator and in salon management and ownership, and has spent her entire career developing solutions for the hiring and managing challenges with which all salons are presented. Spoor has developed and is using a hiring and managing tool specifically designed for the salon and spa industry. For more information, go to www.SalonSnapshot.com.

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