How To Stop A Salon Employee From Always “Getting Away With It”

6 min

How To Stop A Salon Employee From Always “Getting Away With It”

Have you ever been in a situation where a salon employee is always “getting away with it”? Getting away with their tasks always being late, causing for someone else to pick up their slack? Or, depending on others to function as a way to get reassurance, attention and approval? Is this staff member genuine? Lazy? Conscious about his or her actions – or rather, non-actions? Are they perhaps simply oblivious to the impact of their behaviour on others?

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I once had a beauty therapist who was always late – with every single client. She added pressure on everyone including other therapists, who’d need the room for the next client. Not only did we have to deal with this beauty therapist’s clients – the ones waiting for her – but on top of that, about three of us would have to reset the room she was in so that another therapist could go in as quickly as possible for the next client.

The result? Apologies and in some cases complimentary gifts, but most of all, comments coming from the team. Sure, they were only joking at first, but it soon was apparent that it had become a strain on everyone…

Now here’s the issue: do we, as salon owners and managers, allow this to happen and give the problematic employee an allocated room, making sure he/she doesn’t impact other therapists? If you do, you’re making it very clear that you allow the behaviour. Instead, do we act upon this attitude? If so, how? In the above situation, this beauty therapist was really lovely and had a great clientele. So how do you change what seems to be a deep-rooted habit?

Related | The Guide To Dealing With Difficult Salon Staff

A Dynamic That Has All-Around Repercussions

As a business strategist, I can assure you that by letting this dynamic take place, you are opening the doors to many more disruptions in the long run. It’s crucial that we stop being so scared of recruiting that we don’t manage our teams.

Three Types Of Issues That Have A Considerable Effect On Others

    • Poor Time Management: Unable to organise themselves and continuously late, unless they are aware of their actions, these salon employees most likely won’t change. Even if you were to create a time management programme for them, the only way it would work is if they were 100% behind it.
    • Bad Attitude: Sometimes, a staff member’s loveable character can lead to them to getting away with things. And despite their bad attitude, they might be performing quite well. It’s all down to you to judge if and when the staff member in question isn’t caring enough about their job. Don’t forget they might be going through a lot on a personal level, which in turn is affecting their work.
  • Bad Habits: They’re hard to change. Like time management issues, unless the stylist or therapist realises they exist and wants to change them, those bad habits will be part of the way they work.

How It Impacts The Others Around The Salon Employee In Question

    • Frustration: Undoubtedly the main emotion that will come from an employee negatively impacting the team. Continually having to support someone in their tasks and work when you also have a lot to do is extremely frustrating. Plus, frustration slows the team down and creates an unhealthy overall salon energy in the long run.
    • The Workload Is Doubled: When a colleague has poor time management, a bad attitude or bad habits, the others have to achieve twice as much in the day to try to make everyone happy. While it’s often manageable for a short period, it stagnates the growth of your business.
  • “Always Me”: It tends always to be the same people that support underperforming employees. This can feel incredibly isolating, making one feel undervalued as a staff member. It’s best to manage this situation quickly, or it can quickly create a feeling of unfairness and turn salon’s dynamics to sour.

Repercussions On The Manager

    • The Energy Changes: A salon employee who keeps getting away with things changes the other team members’ perception of your style of management. It creates an energy that can be rather negative and frustrating – that is unless you are dealing with it.
    • All Eyes On You: How you deal with issues is going to be noticed and whether you like it or not, your behaviour will have consequences for your salon or spa. How far can a staff member take it? How long can they get away with it? It’s down to you to set boundaries, but also down to you to enforce consequences. The question is, are you prepared for that?
  • Think Customer Journey: Bad attitude and habits can affect the customer journey and it’s important to know where to find solutions. A salon or spa is successful because its customer journey is on point and everyone wants to come back to you. A staff member that seems to get away with everything can be detrimental to your operation.

The Real World

Often, most of my clients tell me they simply don’t have the time to think of the procedures to apply and deal with that type of behaviour (poor time management, bad attitude and habits). Not too long ago, one of my clients even told me that they’re so busy, they can’t even see what’s happening until a few weeks or even months have passed, and someone has dared to open up about the issue.

I’m a firm believer that everyone – no matter their title and function – needs to understand the way your salon or spa runs. Otherwise, it creates unfair situations. From communication to performance management, every attitude, especially when it affects others, needs to be dealt with if you want to lead your team to success.

Quick Solutions For Time-Starved Managers

Before even thinking about taking the performance management route, here are some quick solutions for time-starved managers:

    • Hit Them Where It Hurts: For every appointment they are running late, keep track of what wouldn’t pay them if you were to take that 10 minutes off their wages. Within a day, it could mount up to an hour, and by the end of the month, they could be looking at over two days. Money always talks.
    • Intervention Meetings: Get the salon employee to have a meeting with the people who are fed up with their behaviour. Monitor the change in attitude afterwards by having weekly meetings and giving the stylist or therapist in fault feedback. This is what I did with the therapist in my story earlier. Eventually, she became aware of the consequences of her actions. She left within a month. Unfortunately, she realised she couldn’t change.
    • Mystery Shops: Feedback from mystery shops always hit people’s pride and always have valuable insights for creating best practice. To paint an accurate picture, make sure your mystery visits take place regularly and at various times of the week/day.
    • Tough Rota: Get the employee to do all the late shifts with senior people who won’t put up with their behaviour. This should force them to get better. Monitor the improvements in weekly meetings.
  • Time Management: Send your staff on a time management course to help them take consciousness of their actions as well as get structure.
  • Buddy System: Get the employee in question to buddy up with senior members to learn new skills and techniques and perhaps help increase their productivity. Monitor how they get on and support their growth.
  • Good Behaviour Board: Create a board with stickers for good behaviour! I know it sounds childish, but some teams love it!

Final Thoughts

These quick-fix solutions are great to see if the staff member in question is improving, but a firmer approach needs to be taken if you don’t see a behavioural change. In all, staff that “get away with everything” is unacceptable. In the long run, it’s going to affect your team negatively. Plus, it shows that you’re accepting of disruption, and prefer to create personalised solutions than solutions that support your business as a whole.

Being the leader of your business also means implementing a defined customer journey that incites your team to behave a certain way. It’s crucial to always think of the customer first and lead your team to success by helping them become the best that they can be. With that mindset, everyone you will manage will follow your lead… and the rules you’ve set up in your business!

Thanks for reading! #LetsGrow

Looking for personalised advice on managing a difficult salon employee? You can always email Valerie at! Got general feedback? Let us know either in the comments below or tweet us @ThePhorestWord! (Pssst! We’re on Instagram too!)

Valerie Delforge is a Commercial Trainer and Coach for the Spa, Beauty and Hair industry. Valerie specialises in creating specific workshops to support managers. Founder of Delforge + Co, she is keen to support the industry in achieving its best. Delforge + Co is also proud to announce the modules available at The London School of Beauty & Make-Up, which you can sign up for here!

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