In a post-pandemic world, it’s never been more important for small business owners to hold onto their most skilled workers. Melanie Wallace, UK Marketing Manager at Timely Business Management Software, explains how to motivate, inspire and retain staff in your salon (with a little bit of help from technology).

Staff incentives 101: How to keep your employees motivated and reduce turnover

Like it or not, the pandemic has changed how we work. 

It used to be commonplace for both salon owners and staff to prioritise work above all else, spending long hours on the salon floor. But the long, drawn-out pandemic gave a lot of staff a chance to reassess their priorities – and work is no longer at the top of the list. 

The ‘great resignation’ is underway in the UK and according to The National Hair & Beauty Federation, 57 per cent of hair and beauty businesses have unfilled vacancies and more than half of vacancies have taken over 16 weeks to fill. 

This time has been challenging for business owners as replacing staff is expensive and time-consuming. Here’s how you can keep your staff motivated and happy enough to stay.

Make job satisfaction a priority

When your staff love their job, it leads to stronger client relationships and secures repeat business (a win, win for everyone). 

At Beauty and Bubbles in Manchester, Director Daniel Leeson focuses on “good communication, praise, incentives and a positive working environment” to keep staff happy, along with “a range of engagement such as their birthday off every year, staff parties, lunches, training and development opportunities.”

Celebrate the wins

Positive client reviews can benefit your business in two ways: a) they’re an effective measure for enticing prospective clients on Facebook and Google and b) they make staff feel good

Using Timely’s SMS campaign feature, you can send automated follow-up SMS and email messages to clients after an appointment to request a review. 

When the positive reviews roll in – which they will because we know you provide a top-notch service – be sure to celebrate the details with everyone on staff. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day realities of running a salon, but for staff who spend their days on the tools, these small moments make them feel seen.

Consider a commission structure

Right now, it’s more important than ever to hold onto your best staff. Timely-powered salons are better equipped to retain staff and adapt to change. One way to motivate your staff is through a financial rewards system, such as a commission-based pay system or end of year bonus. 

“All of our senior staff are on a salary but then on a commission base,” explains Alex Fuchs, Director of Fuchs Hair. “Everyone has their own column [in the calendar] which they can effectively run as their own business. We incorporate staff into the process and I think that helps with motivation levels as well.”

This year, cancellations have been at an all-time high and because “they don’t want to lose commission, the moment someone cancels, our stylists check out our waitlist and can usually fill the spots pretty quickly,” Alex continues.

Beauty and Bubbles also has a commission structure in place. “We give staff commission on their total product sales above a certain value each month,” Daniel adds.

Timely’s sophisticated reporting and analytics feature means you can run staff performance reports and set individual targets, making it easy to inspire your team to book an extra appointment or sell one more product.

Invest in staff progression

For staff, training is one way they can develop their skills and continue to evolve as a professional. By investing in regular team training, you can ensure that employees feel like they are valued and progressing in their career while working in your salon. 

Plus, when your staff are knowledgeable and up to date on the latest products and trends, you know your services will be best-in-class.

Be flexible to change

Post-pandemic, flexibility is a non-negotiable for workers seeking to improve their work-life balance or set their own hours. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to flexibility. The best way to go about it? Ask your staff what matters to them. 

Business owners who use Timely can take these changes in their stride. The software allows you to tailor the services each member of your team is available to perform and create rosters that make managing available hours and days simple.

If you’re worried about how staggering hours will affect your bottom line, Timely’s staff performance dashboards, reports and individual targets make it easy for you to compare profits and rebooking rates before vs after the changes. 

Making moves to motivate and inspire your employees will not only help with staff turnover, but it’ll also benefit your business overall. Your vibe attracts your tribe, right?