Retention Revolution: How to achieve a near perfect retention rate
by Faye Murray

So you have just been through the exercise of running an advertisement for six weeks for a new team member and spent a considerable amount of money trying to attract the right person. You’ve also said a prayer every day and hoped that the phone would ring with the perfect applicant. You have also gone through the process of interviewing 10 applicants who were not suitable and to make it all worse you’ve wasted more time waiting for the few who did not even bother to turn up for the interview. After several weeks you finally have found someone ‘just right’ or at least you hope.

They match your expectations, or at least most of them, and you are confident that you can train them in the few areas that they need to perform to your standards.

They are due to start next week so how do you prepare to introduce them to your salon? Put some effort into starting off on the right foot.

Everyone knows that finding good people is like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Put a group of hairdressers together and without exception they will agree that good hairdressers are in short supply.

It is also a known fact that the retention rate of hairdressers is not as good as salon owners would like it to be and there are some good reasons for this in most cases.

Accept this as a fact and that there are not always perfect people out there who are going to knock on your door and say “Can I come and work with you?” There are however people (hairdressers) who are not superstars but are very willing to learn and grow to be very good.

When you have a new person join your team, accept the fact that you are going to have to do some work to train them to match your expectations and the quality of service and hairdressing you want for your clients.

Your prior planning to make sure you get it right

1. Welcome letter

Create a welcome letter. This will show that you are professional, caring and are interested in your new team member. Include some words of welcome, their wage package and conditions of employment. Sell them the benefits of working with you and your team and what you expect in return. By writing it down it is clear and easy to understand and can be referred to in the future if required. The most important aspect here is following through on what you can offer.

2. Employee Agreement.
I always suggest that you put together an agreement for each person that very clearly sets out all your salon standards and expectations. Everyone will include different points depending on your own focus and specific needs.

Some areas you might choose to include:
 Dress standard
 Training requirements
 Rosters and how they work
 Protection of client records and details

3. The induction.

Day one is important to get right. You need to balance the beginning of a new relationship and training. So plan for it to be a success.

Even the right person can get off to a bad start if they aren’t given the ‘rules of the game’ and what is expected of them. Give them the best possible opportunity to make a success of the job and give your business the best chance of having a high performing team member by conducting a thorough induction.

Some more ideas

 Take them on a tour of the salon. Sell the sizzle….all the wonderful and special things about your salon and your team
 Introduce them to all the team
 Point out such things as the location of car parking and the best place to buy lunch
 Explain their role and responsibilities
 Give them a copy of your policy and procedure manual to read

My advice is to slowly introduce them to the salon. You have a lot to cover. Don’t make the mistake of trying to tell them everything on day one. It will take time to do this well.

Remember …..Do it once and do it well.

4. Establish the lines of communication

A great relationship is always built on communication. So tell them how you do this in your salon.

 Team meetings are held each week. Explain how they work
 You have an open door management policy where any one can come to you at any time to discuss any issue be it positive or negative.
 Once a month you have a coffee and chat with each team member
 An appraisal is done at 10 weeks just prior to the completion of the probation period and then each year

You need to show them they have joined a team that has two-way communication. Where everyone talks and listens. You want to retain this person for a long period so you need to put some effort and systems into making sure you achieve just that.

Just as you retain your clients by showing that you care and are interested, by offering advice, educating them and continually offering new and different things then you retain your team in the same way. They will respond in the same way.

It takes a lot of effort and time to find and train a great hairdresser so be sure to put just as much effort into retaining them and you won’t need to go through the pain of continual recruiting.
The stronger your systems and training methods, the less reliant you will need to be on finding ready made hairdressers. That is a comforting thought in our industry’s current climate.

This article was written by Faye Murray from Your Coach – Australia’s premier hairdressing business coaching program.
Visit the Your Coach team at Hair Expo on stand 2300b. To register for the free business seminars at expo call the Hair expo hotline on (02) 9422 2859. On the Sunday afternoon at 3.30pm Faye Murray will present a panel of salon owners with a “Steps to More Money” forum. On the Monday at 2.30pm Kym Krey will present on the topic of; “Don’t teach them how to sell…teach them how to teach.”

We welcome a new coach to Western Australia Lisa Moore Ph 0412 777 603. Visit the your Coach web site or phone head office 07 32879199