One of the most difficult elements of running any business is how to best manage your staff. Salon business coach, Lisa Conway, uncovers some of best ways to build a kick-arse team of people that you can love and trust.

Lisa Conway is the founder of ZING, a company that helps salon owners transform their business. At ZING, the team specialise in taking hair and beauty salons from ‘good’ to ‘GREAT’! After 23 years as a hairdresser, Lisa knew she could make a difference in her industry. Working from the ground up, Lisa is one of the best when it comes to creating, inspiring and leading a salon team.

“We were taught to cut hair or wax, not to fill in a BAS! Today these skills are just as important in your success as our basic tools of the trade.”

We caught up with Lisa to get her best tips for finding staff that best suit your needs.

Ask the right questions

It’s easy to keep staff happy if you choose correctly in the first place.

In any job interview, ask your candidate about their future. I often say to people, “if you’re not successful here, what will you do.” If they say, “I will be a police officer” then don’t waste your time. Make sure your candidate wants to be a salon professional regardless. It needs to be in their DNA.

An ideal staff member needs to be ambitious. You want that person to say that they will be a beauty pro, and if they’re not successful with you, they will be elsewhere. If you hire someone because they’re passionate and because beauty and hair is their calling, then you’re on the right path.

Ask candidates about their lives, especially about their relationships. This is not to say that your ideal staff member has perfect relationships and a perfect life — but it’s how they tell their story that counts.

“You want people who can see the world as a sunny place even on rainy day.”

Building a Team You Can Trust: With Lisa Conway

Don’t hire people on skill

Sounds crazy right? But skills can be taught — personalities cannot.

“You give me the right person, I can teach them. But they’ve got to want to learn.”

The same goes for your apprentice or receptionist. If they’re planning on becoming a vet, then why have you hired them? Their ambition should be to grow further in the beauty industry and to climb the ladder at your salon.

If you find good people, it’s easy to teach them!

“In an industry of politeness and niceties, there is often not enough truth.”

Work harder on yourself

Just as it’s hard to find great staff, it’s even harder to find a great boss. Being a great boss attracts great staff.

Being a leader is something that you’re never taught. For some, leadership comes naturally. For others, it can be more difficult.

If you want to be a great boss, then it’s up to you to work harder on yourself. What makes you a good boss? If you can’t say why staff should work for you, then you’ve got a problem.

Outline what makes you a good boss, or perhaps the best features that your past bosses or managers possessed? How would you want to be treated? Are you fair, honest, have no time for bitchiness? You need to know what you’re good at.

Once you work harder on you, people will fight for their right to keep their job!

Building a Team You Can Trust: With Lisa Conway

Be the best boss, not their best friend!

Hair salons are a space where there are a lot of friendships. Salon owners need to find the right balance between boss and friend.

“It’s about drawing a line between what is work and what is personal. You need to learn to gauge that.”

Staff need boundaries, and they respect them. It’s your job to provide the best work environment that this person has ever been in, not to be their best friend.

Managing staff shouldn’t be hard

If you’ve hired the right people, managing staff shouldn’t be hard.

Think of the best employee you ever had. Imagine if your team consisted of 6 clones of him/her — how great would life be? Then think of your most difficult employee.

When you ask yourself that question, it establishes that you do know how to find the good ones. Now raise your standards! Don’t settle for those bad staff members who drag you down. This is where you need to draw the line. It’s not friendship, it’s business. If staff are sucking your energy and are difficult, then you need to reconsider their position. Don’t tolerate it.

“Once you have great staff, who are providing for your clients, the money shows up. When you stop settling for less.”

We all like to do things differently, and that’s fine! But it’s about making sure your staff align with your business and your ideologies is key and it all comes down to you. It’s time to work harder on yourself so you can be the best boss and build the best team!