Keeping Staff Engagement High In An Operational Industry

4 min

Keeping Staff Engagement High In An Operational Industry

Flying back to London from the powerful Salon Owners Summit organised by Phorest, I feel focused and motivated about the year ahead. It’s been fascinating to hear stories from such great speakers. Believe me; you never stop learning. What an amazing day! The main elements of my talk were around staff engagement and given how well it was received; I’ve chosen to re-iterate a few things in a blog post.

The Truth About Staff Engagement

We work in an extremely operational industry. Everything we do is repetitive and sometimes draining. Plus, we often have to deal with so much negativity that it’s hard to generate engagement sometimes. Even when we do manage to get staff engaged, the question quickly becomes: how do we keep that up?

The bottom line is that it’s difficult to get your staff engaged when you have so much to deal with and create. When I think that for the longest time, my friends and family thought that I went to work and just stood there waiting for my next client…!

Stories You Will Probably Relate To…

  • One of my clients once told me she had 23 staff members and all of them wanted to be managers. How do you deal with that? Think about it; she knows that at one point or another, they will all get fed up and want to move on… Unless she opens 23 businesses?!
  • I have another customer who is always dealing with Flossies (difficult staff members) and is unable to see what needs to be done to engage her team.

Looking back on my career, I believe that it never mattered how many staff members I had to look after or how many Flossies I had on my team. I knew that I needed to create a system that would make them want to share my vision for the year, but also, that I needed to listen to their vision to lead them to their success. I understood that a team is made of various characters and my role was to make them gel to my vision while keeping theirs alive.

Putting Systems In Place

Over the years, it has become obvious that the systems you set in place allow you to be clear when communicating with your staff. The more powerful the systems, the clearer the guidelines and the more the team will know where they stand. You set your expectations. Read “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Business Don’t Work and What to Do about It”, it’s a great book on operations and business systemization.

On another note, we tend to talk about generation Z a lot and the difficulty we have with recruitment. The fact is, we are scared to manage in case we have to recruit. However, does your business really need recruiting? Do you understand all of your costs and revenue? Does your strategy rely on forecasting and marketing or focusing on your staff performance? Is your rota reflecting the figures you could generate? Could you make a management program that would entail those 23 staff members to engage with your salon?

In that case, we did put in place a 2-year management program which only 2 took advantage of it. For the others, we found key courses they were more inclined to take (marketing and reception courses to name a few). We lost those who didn’t want to adhere to the vision, but we kept a team whose engagement and performance is now incredibly focused. We don’t need to recruit for the ones we lost; the unit is fully functional.

To me, inspiring future generations is crucial, but the only way to do that is to be sure about who we are as a business and to have healthy structural foundations.

Related | 10 Need-To-Know Tips For The First-Time Salon Manager

The 4 Key Elements For Keeping Your Staff Engagement High In 2018

  1. Your structure should be the heart of your success and what the team (& customers) adhere to. It includes your budget, which is the root of all decisions you will make from there on now.
  2. A good customer journey is vital to managing your salon. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons for your staff and customers to be engaged.
  3. Your mindset which is the key to keeping staff engagement high even when working through hard times and time management is essential to creating a proper work/life balance.
  4. About staff and individual growth… Personally, I don’t mind staff becoming ‘bigger’ than me, I want that. Their success is my success and being seen as a leader will push me forward.

For me, staff engagement all comes down to being so sure of my structure, my customer journey and my mindset. I know that nothing will be affected by anything unless I let it happen… Knowing that I have strong foundations to fall back on makes it much easier to ride the waves of difficulties.

To the Salon Owners Summit team over in Phorest, I salute you and thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure to be involved in the blogs/webinars and I look forward to helping salon owners grow in 2018.

Thanks for reading! #LetsGrow

Valerie Delforge is a Business Strategist, 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. For support with your 2018 Business Strategy, visit Delforge + Co. or contact

Featured imaged shot on location of Roller Blow Bar in Dublin. © 2018 Phorest Salon Software.

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