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Everyone knows that hairdressers often double as unofficial therapists to their clients, but who's there to listen to them? SESH salon owner Simon Hill divulges his top tips for creating happier staff.

Salon life is busy and putting your clients first is a key factor in success – but to ensure your salon is operating at its optimum, you've got to check in with your team. (I mean, you don't wait for complete engine failure to decide to change your oil.)

Not sure where to start the process? Read on.     


1. Communication is key

Your salon dynamic should allow space for your team to communicate and discuss their emotions. I believe this leads to quicker resolutions when faced with challenges and also allows your team to collaborate and develop effectively. All team members should be involved in decision making and allowed the opportunity to share their thoughts. A united front creates a great image for your salon, but this image should ring true even behind closed doors.

2. Give back to your team

Investing in your team's well-being is important and can help improve employee motivation. As stylists especially, we tend to work rather long hours with few breaks. I find that taking time to centre ourselves and blow off some steam motivates us as a team. Activities can be a great way of implementing this. For instance, we worked with Pound exercise class to encourage the team to exercise and release endorphins. We also paired up with local meal prep company 80/20 to provide them with nutritious meals and educate them on the importance of a balanced diet in terms of their wellbeing and health. This is a great way to boost morale and encourage a healthier, happier team.

3. Team bonding

To work well together inside the salon, it can be beneficial to socialise together outside of work. This release of energy as a team is a brilliant way to bond and strengthen as a team and often you will find that you develop strengths that will positively benefit the salon whilst at work too. Remember that this doesn't always have to include alcohol, as weekend trips to the zoo or going to a concert together can have the same effect!

A salon environment with a stylist doing a ladies hair

All team members should be involved in decision making and allowed the opportunity to share their thoughts.

4. Tidy space, tidy mind

Clearing clutter and creating a calming space is essential for healthy wellbeing. Creating a clean and clear space for your team to work from allows them to think clearly and openly. At SESH I opted for a predominantly white interior as this embodies freshness, providing a blank canvas for creativity to flow. The salon is open and provides each team member with ample space to work, which I believe is also important. This tip doesn't only apply to the salon floor – it should translate into your back of house area too. When your staff-only areas are free from clutter and mess, your team are more likely to relax and reflect throughout their breaks.

5. Digital detox

Most of us are never far from our phones, relying on them for news and entertainment. However, this can be detrimental whilst at work: I discourage the use of mobile phones on the salon floor for a number of reasons, one benefit of this is the happiness and mindfulness of your team. It's important to switch off and be present in your breaks; this is a great time to gather your thoughts. Checking your phones during working hours also has a negative impact from your client's perspective too. Encouraging staff to interact with other clients during their quiet spells, on the other hand, is a great tool to create a friendly salon atmosphere. Plus, you might find that your team will begin to pick up on smaller jobs around the salon that need tending to.

6. Always be empathetic

Salon owners and managers have a responsibility to support their team members and I believe the only way to do this is to understand their point of view and let them know that you hear them. Often people just need someone to listen to them and to really hear what they are saying. Open lines of communication will help your team members come to you with any issues instead of allowing it to fester and potentially become more dangerous. Ensure that your team knows they have your full support and that they can access you on a one-to-one basis to discuss anything at any time. Having a happier salon team will unlock an endless number of benefits for your business. When you look after your salon from within, you'll shine on the outside and welcome clients in abundance! Don't wait for disaster to hit to start looking after your team.

Two women in a hair salon

Creating a clean and clear space for your team to work from allows them to think clearly and openly.


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