Train People Well Enough So They Can Leave, Treat Them Well Enough So They Don’t Want To



Richard McCabe

I believe that a lot of salon owners don’t have the skill or the know how to grow their salon correctly! Let me explain why….

…they seem to have missed something, and this something is really, really, important.
I don’t know how they missed it, but they did…….

Every successful salon will have a great team behind them

Without a great team, all you have is a bunch of mercenaries who are only looking after themselves. It may seem like the quickest way to make money, but to me, it’s just climbing higher before you fall, and believe me, you will fall.

A great team
Every Salon needs a great team

I’ve owned salons all my life, and I started this way too……… I would get fully qualified staff and fill them with my clients.

Now I don’t want to tar everybody with the same brush, but I see this all the time in salons which I coach. Salon owners who desperately need staff, so they take on a staff member and fill them with their clients.

Why Is That A Problem?

The problem with this is that the new staff member isn’t aligned with the salon’s philosophy, they seem to do what they want. I call these staff members ‘superstars’ because they are usually high performing staff members who seem to make you lots of money.

So what’s wrong with that?

They are transient workers, they will come, and they will go, taking your clients with them and the clients that stay get annoyed that yet another new staff member is leaving.
I learnt this lesson with my first salon. I was very busy, and I had to take on staff to help me out, they were good workers and made me money fast, and all was good until…

Held to ransom
Do you have an employee who is holding you to ransom?

That day, the day I was dreading, they wanted more money………. or they would leave. I was being held to ransom, they knew it, and I knew it. If I paid them what they wanted, they would want more…….. it was a scary time.

So I had a decision to make, do I pay or do I not?

I like to think that I’m a very quick learner, so I didn’t pay and they left. I worked harder and I promised myself I would never let this situation happen again. So, I had to learn what system needed to be in place for this to never happen ever again.

I decided to go old school and see what other salon owners did in the past. What I found was that they didn’t take on many seniors, most staff came through the ranks, they trained their own.

Train your own stylists
There’s nothing better than training your own stylists

Nowadays people are scared to train their staff to be better than them, I don’t know why? Because back then there was never a shortage of stylists, therapists or apprentices. The circle of salon life wasn’t an issue. They took on apprentices who they trained to become became seniors, who then became salon owners. It just kept the circle alive!

Somewhere along the line the chain has broken

Salon owners today just want seniors, and there seems to be less and less apprentices moving through the ranks. But no apprentices coming through means that there are less and less becoming seniors. Hence why we have the biggest staff shortage ever around the world

Speak to any salon owner today about business, and one topic is red hot! The staff who are coming into the industry are just not good enough… but that’s always been the case. The difference now as opposed to back then is that back then the salon owner would do something about it. He would invest his time in training in them, inspire them and educate them. But most salon owners today have been burnt once and don’t want to invest time or money into apprentices.

In the earlier days of my hairdressing career…

In the town where I came from the top hair salons were all owned by people who worked in one particular salon. He trained his staff so well that he always had a great team, and yes, some would leave and open up their own salon and train staff the way they were trained. It kept the flow, it gave back, it regenerated itself.

A lot of salon owners wouldn’t like to train their staff so well that they might leave and open up and be a competitor. The difference between these and the mercenaries are they usually left under good circumstances, and all were giving back to the industry.
This particular owner has owned his salon for over thirty years, and he’s still going strong. In fact, he has built an academy on the side of his salon, so you cannot say that training staff to leave is bad and a waste of time, I believe it’s the opposite…….

Train your staff well or you WILL struggle

The salon owners who don’t train their staff, who don’t invest in them, who just want it all on a platter, are the salons who struggle. They just don’t know anything else, and it’s bad for them and bad for the industry.
When I realised this in my very first salon that I had to take on apprentices and train them my way. Yes it was the long route, yes I had to think a year or two ahead. But once the ball started to roll, I always had an apprentice to work through the ranks. That way, I would never be short of a new staff member ever again.

Tea and Tidy
Do you use your apprentices just to do the cleaning and make tea?

I built a system that fast-tracked my apprentices onto the floor quicker and better. I believe most people that come into our industry want to do hair or beauty. The problem most salon owners have is they want a tea and tidy person (a helper) and then turn them into a senior. By this stage, the new and passionate employee is bored and will leave our career forever.
If you invest in people, people will invest in you, and that means more loyalty you, your clients and your salon.

This should be the foundation for every salon owner today!

Every staff member that I have trained myself has been able to hit the magic figure of three times their wage. They have been loyal to myself, they have been loyal to my clients, they have been loyal to the salon. This, in turn, means that in the long run and they earn you far more money. The bonus is they stay around for longer, and they have the same ethos as you and your salon.

To be successful today………. you need your team to believe in you, and your philosophy, this is a must!
I genuinely believe that you should not employ superstar staff members ever again.

I’ve been saying this for years……
I’m sure this story resonates with you, and if it does I want to show you how I overcame this and how you can too……

That’s why I dedicated a whole module to this topic, which I teach to my private clients. I would love to share a workshop that I held where I covered this topic.

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