Guest Article by Valerie Delforge, Founder & CEO Delforge + Co.
From hairdressers to beauticians or from new to existing businesses, the rules can vary when it comes to grooming policies. Grooming guidelines can become an issue if not addressed properly, and ultimately reflect on your brand. In a way, there is no right or wrong, as it all depends on what you allow within your business. However, there are 5 key elements you should consider to ensure your salon’s image is at its best.
It all comes down to the brand image you have, or want to create: Will you be strict? Relaxed? Will you have a particular uniform? Allow your employees to wear what they want? Modern? Old fashioned? Traditional? What colours does your brand represent?
In hairdressing, things are a lot more relaxed, from clothes to tattoos and piercings. A hairdresser has more freedom regarding grooming standards.
In the beauty industry, things tend to be more traditional and slick. It’s tradition to have your hair tied back, display hardly any piercings, and hiding tattoos is more or less the norm. However, over the past few years, there has been a shift in how strict rules have become and as a salon owner, you must be careful not to discriminate who you employ or have employed. It’s all down to the clients you have or want to attract (what will they find acceptable?).
Remember that it is your brand that you are projecting. Small details like tattoos and piercings can make an impact on the customers’ perception of your salon or spa.
Quick Tip | Do you ever look at your team the way your clients do? Get a mystery shopper in and ask them about the uniforms and what they see.
The budget you set for uniforms can be what defines who wears what. For example, a beauty salon might decide to supply the tops, but not the pants as there is an extra cost to that: “Supply your own black trousers”.
While this method does work for budget purposes, the idea of black trousers is very different for every person and next thing you know, you have leggings, black jeans, etc. So, again, can your brand be represented in such manners?
It’s important that you link the budget you set for uniforms to what your brand wants to give as an image. Make sure you review this budget every year, as uniforms will need changing from time to time. There is nothing worse for your salon or spa than to be represented in dirty uniforms.
The Procedure Behind Grooming Policies
Whether you are a hair or a beauty salon, you must establish your grooming policies. Mention if you are strict, relaxed, don’t mind tattoos, piercings, or don’t want any of that. A simple explanation of what you expect from your staff regarding grooming should be written down in your SOP manual – read more on SOP manuals here.
Make your employees read your procedure and sign it. You want them to be aware of what is acceptable and what isn’t. For instance, even if you accept tattoos and piercings to a certain extent, think about if you have a limit in mind? What is not acceptable? Your procedure must reflect your thoughts. If you don’t take this simple measure, you are leaving the door opened to everything.
Quick Tip | You can put the grooming guideline as a part of the contract which makes the reinforcement of it a lot easier. And don’t forget to be as specific as possible regarding tattoos and piercings.
If you already have uniforms in your salon, specify how many your staff is entitled to, add in your request for them to be clean and ironed (you will be surprised how this is the most common issue) and what your staff is responsible for when caring for a uniform. For instance, do they have to pay for a new one themselves if they are misusing them?
For those who have managers, you must also have a procedure for them. What do you want your manager to wear and how do you want them to represent your brand? What is acceptable and what isn’t? In all, a simple grooming procedure facilitates the communication and ensures your team meets your standards.
The interview process
The best time to introduce grooming policies is during the interview. To talk about uniforms, tattoos and piercings straight away ensures that potential staff members know what to expect. They will understand the importance you give to your salon’s image and you can consider their understanding as a verbal contract as such.
Ask your applicants if they have something to say about your policy, tell them they will be signing a grooming guideline procedure – make it a big deal. If they don’t agree with your policies, you best know now. If they have a tattoo behind the ear and you want them to put their hair back at all time, discuss your policy on it.
For example, one of the staff issues I’ve had to deal with on behalf of a client, was when someone decided to put contact lenses that made her look like a cat. As a very relaxed hairdresser, she had a point. No one had ever told her anything about staff grooming. Be careful and set limits even if you don’t see the necessity for it.
Whether you have a new business, you’re about to open, or you’ve been opened for 20 years, if your policies aren’t applied, you’re allowing any issue to happen. For example, if the tattoo behind the ear was a no go and you made sure your staff knew during their interview, then you need to make sure your standards are met. I have seen staff (especially in Hotel Spas) where employees can’t start work without first seeing a manager who checks if their overall appearance meets their requirements. Grooming is that important to them.
To once again take the tattoo behind the ear example, if it appears and you have no procedures in place, then you don’t stand much of a chance at getting your employee to hide it. With a procedure, however, you can reinforce it and potentially put that staff member on performance management (after 3 strikes). You can then follow that up with disciplinary actions, if needed.
In all, it’s human nature to defy your boss and try and see how far you can take things! If you are not on it, they won’t be either. Set your expectations straight away, and you will be the one with the upper hand. Remember that staff grooming policies are meant to represent your brand and how your customers perceive it. To ensure your salon’s image is at its best, you must make your grooming policies a priority.
Valerie Delforge is a Salon Consultant with 25 years in the Beauty Industry. Valerie specialises in creating specific workshops to support managers. Founder of Delforge + Co, she is keen to support the Beauty industry into achieving their best.
It is a must that the group of individuals you hire works as a cohesive, motivated, enthusiastic team. And one of the best ways besides training to guarantee your salon’s success is to hire the right people. Check out these very best salon interview techniques that will ensure you hire the best-of-the-best!
Thanks for reading!