A simple solution to your staff problems

Aug 04, 2011 No Comments by

“If you want something done right, you can do it yourself. But, if you want something done right and you want to be a business owner, then you must train others to do it your right way.” Susan Carter

Have you ever found yourself stressed out with your Therapists lack of performance? Maybe even wanting to pull your hair out at times? I regularly hear Salon Owners complain about their staff. They say things like, “If only my Therapists weren’t so stupid! I tell them to do ABC but instead they do XYZ.”

I believe that staff problems are the number one challenge that Spa Managers face.  If you don’t believe me, just take a look at how high staff turnover is in the South African Beauty Industry.

People problems are the number reoccurring frustration in nearly every Spa or Salon I’ve worked with throughout South Africa. Over the years, I’ve worked with business owners from just about aspect of the Beauty Industry, and I’ve heard nearly every one of them say: “If only I could clone myself!” If only I could find staff with my passion, skill, drive and work ethic!

Getting staff  to do what you want according to your standards:

Probably the most important issue a business owner must resolve is determining what results her staff are accountable for and then how to get her employees to do what she wants them to do. High performing staff is what every business owner wants and needs. Therapists, Nail-Tech’s and Stylists who do not just what you tell them to do, but they do it right the first time and even more importantly, they do it according to your high standards. So how do you do that? How do you get your employees to do what you want them to do?

The answer to that question is – you can’t. You can’t get people to do anything! It’s hard enough to get yourself to do anything, let alone get someone else to do it. But you have to do something! So what do should you do? If you can’t get your people to do anything, how are you supposed to run a business?

Simple: Your business should be systems-dependent, not people-dependent. The systems run the business, the people run the systems. With the effective implementation of the right systems, you can get results through your people – every time.

A Simple System to Start the Process:

Here’s a simple tool you can use starting right now to begin the process of developing a high performance Spa environment. It’s a system called the “Staff Development Meeting”. This also applies to Hair Stylists, Beauty Therapists, Nail Tech’s, Receptionists, Tea Girls, Cleaners or any and all staff in your beauty business. The Staff Development Meeting is a short meeting that you hold every week with every employee who reports to you.

The key to creating results and making this meeting work for you is consistency. In other words the meeting must take place every week without fail! Staff members have to know in advance what day and time they are due to meet with you. They then meet with you at the same time and day every week. If you are inconsistent in holding the meeting, guess what? Your staff will duplicate your business habits and they will also be inconsistent!  The Development Meeting is a one-on-one, face-to-face meeting, scheduled in advance, and it’s everyone’s #1 priority. The meeting is non negotiable. No customers can be scheduled for that particular Therapist on that day at that time. I recommend scheduling this meeting first thing in the morning when the Salon is quiet. I also I recommend keeping the meeting short. If the meeting is held regularly on a consistent basis, it will never need to be longer than 30-minutes. Your responsibility as Spa owner or Manager is to set out an agenda for each meeting. You must have a plan, set the direction for the meeting and also have a specific outcome in mind for each meeting. Using your knowledge of your staff and your businesses particular needs, use the meeting as a forum for training, skills development, discussing issues, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and planning.

The meeting gives you a chance to discuss and follow up on the work the employee has been doing, prioritize goals, reward and recognize superior performance, make agreements about work to be accomplished, discuss exceptions, exchange information, clarify results and most importantly – hold staff accountable for the results they are paid to create. There is a horrible misconception in the market place – most business owners think that staff are paid to work. That’s not true. Staff are paid to create results. The Development Meeting is an opportunity to equip staff to create those results and hold them accountable for the results they are paid to create.

The Staff Development meeting is also a huge time-saver. Do you have a problem with employees bugging you all the time? Do they continuously come to you and asking you what to do? Simply ask them if it could wait until their Development Meeting. Nine times out of ten, the problems can wait. Most importantly, the Staff Development Meeting is a medium to help every single person in your business confront and overcome obstacles – in short helping everyone be at their best.

Evaluate how smoothly your business systems are running right now. Measure how many “people” problems pop up in your salon each month, each week, each day. Then implement the Staff Development Meeting for a month. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

In my experience, more than 90% of salons I work with have no staff management plan and inconsistent, wishy washy staff meetings.. If you can implement the Staff Development Meeting in your business it will become the backbone of your management system, and it will make all of the other systems in your business work more effectively. I guarantee you that if you implement this meeting it will help you create a highly motivating, productive environment in your business.

Setting the Stage For Successful Employee Retention:

If the Staff Development Meeting makes sense for your Spa, set up a meeting time with all your Therapists. You as the Manager / Owner are responsible for calling the meetings. Managers should set up Staff Development Meetings for at least three months. Once these meetings are on the schedule, look for opportunities to eliminate other non-essential meetings—after all, this is also about saving time and increasing efficiency.

The Managers Role:

  1. Be Organized: I am willing to bet that most of the Salon Managers / Owners reading this article do not have a management calendar. Get organised, plan your meetings in advance. A well run, organised Spa is not an accident. It is the result of planning and intention. Your business is a reflection of yourself. If you are disorganised as a Manager, your business will reflect your weakness in its day to day operation.
  2. Be consistent: Set the frequency, regular time, and basic agenda for Staff Development Meetings and stick to it.  Promptly reschedule any missed meeting.
  3. Be present: Conduct Staff development Meetings in a quite place free of interruptions and distractions to allow a real communication to occur.
  4. Be Committed: Inquire, listen, and secure commitments.  Find out what is going on with your Therapists. This includes the good and bad. Address key work related issues, announce new projects and tasks, answer or clarify any questions and set and secure agreement regarding responsibilities.

The Employees Role:

  1. Provide updates, not excuses: Be prepared to report on your work and inform your Manager in advance when tasks are not going to be delivered on time.
  2. Ask questions, ask for help when needed: Staff Development Meetings are open two-way exchanges, both parties share responsibility in bringing up topics, communicating their needs, and discussing issues.
  3. Show your Skill: Contribute and add value to your salon or spa. Remind your boss why she hired you in the first place. Prove to your Manager that you are not just working hard on the job, show her that you are working hard on yourself. Let her see your committment to improving your skills and day to day performance.

The End  Result:

The Staff Development Meeting is a straight forward communication opportunity that is consistent, focused, highly accountable and keeps both Managers and Staff on the same page at all times. By creating a safe, consistent environment for communication to occur, Employees and Managers can connect with a high degree of confidence that they are working to achieve the same goals.

Whatever result you’re pursuing, the Employee Development Meeting moves you, your employees and your Spa one step closer to the satisfying, motivating work environment that most people dream of, but few ever experience.

Action Exercise:

    1. Commit right now to set-up your management calendar for the year.
    2. Create a short, simple agenda for your Employee Development Meetings. (Keep it simple)
    3. Define how often you will meet and then stick as closely to the plan as you can.
    4. Clearly define the 3 most important tasks each staff member is paid to do. (Did you know that most employees don’t know what they are paid to do.)
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