Thursday, January 10, 2008

Personnel Losses

It's not uncommon for a salon to experience some staff losses after a conversion to Team-Based Pay. We knew it was a distinct possibility yet hoped that we could help our team see the possibilities that TBP brings.

In the past two weeks we have lost two employees. One, a talented massage therapist, is starting her own practice. She offered about three weeks notice, which we accpeted, and her last day will be January 25th. Our second loss took place today. An experienced stylist who has struggled with the changes gave notice today. In her case, we actually asked her to leave at the end of the day rather than stay on two weeks. She has been extremely negative lately, has attempted to recruit others to leave with her, and has discussed her departure with some clients. I will not have her poisoning the remaining team for the next two weeks. It was an emotional day for the team, but I hope they will flourish with the negativity gone.

We have been told that a third person may also be leaving but she has not quit yet. While I know the salon will be fine even if we lose an additional person, I hope we can save her. She is high maintenance in her own way, but all in all she is very professional and an asset to the company. It would be an emotional blow to the team if she left.

Our challenge now is keeping the remaining team motivated. We have had very low turnover at our salon so the younger ones are not used to seeing people go! This does open up some opportunity for them and we'll try to help them see that. Meanwhile, we have one new stylist who has just completed her skills certification and another starting soon. We're considering hiring a third, as well. The new staff have never worked in a commission environment so it should be easier for them to embrace our culture.


  1. Stumbled over your blog the other day and I returned today to check something out that I had read the other day. Sounds like you are going through some growing pains...My husband and I have recently relocated and with that relocation 2 miles down the road we lost stylists as well. They also worked in tandem with one another one had a key the other was sneaky and together they were able to get a hold of every name nu,ber and address that my manager and I had worked three months to compile so when it was time to make the move all of our clients would be informed and kept up to date as we were continuing to book and work from one location as the other was being finished. The best laid plans for a smooth transition turned confusing when our customers got two letters the same day one letting them know it was a go and we would see them at the new location and the other letting them know that they (sneaky and key holder) would be at #!$@^%&* Oh and don;t forget the free manicure and 20% off the first cut and style. After the shock and betrayal subsided the fear of making this work set in construction costs payroll well you know the drill don't get me wrong I still had a great staff to work with but two key employees just left and took a list of about 900 names with them and of those names only about 175 of them were their customers. Legal action was my first reaction but the damage had already be done so WE had to act quick and not react hastily. So I guess my point is that it was wise not to let her stick around but I also believe that if in your gut the other employee is thinking about making a move cover your @$$ I have always gotten the feeling when we were about to loose someone and have always been very careful of my books WE believed that everyone was on bored and I let my gaurd down at the end just be careful. Although The end result to loosing people who no longer fit your culture always makes for a more pleasant atmosphere to work in though. Oh by the way by acting quick and not reacting our game plan was simple we used it as an opportunity to busy up some of our assistants the offer went like this so sorry about the confusion as you blah blah blah we offered their customers and only their customers not a free haircut they were given three complimentary Cuts & Styles and now my assistants are busy hairdressers. Industry stats show that it take three times to get it right and build a relationship. Since our move we have retained 90% of their clients and we ahve heard throughthe grape vine(from those who did not come right away) that one of them (the key holder) lost her chair and her great cushy deal what goes around comes around. Good luck to you and remember change is good it brings a new outlook to all things.

  2. Wow - that is rough! Salon owners do face a continual battle to get their clients loyal to the salon and not to the employees.

    I wondered if you might be interested in a salon marketing system we developed specifically to build client loyalty and increase repeat business.

    I'd be happy to let you have a copy for your salon at no charge.

    You can see the details at

    Give me a shout if you'd like it.



  3. I too am coming out of a corporate background and am opening my first salon in just a few months-- for many of the reasons you express here. While much of the marketing, branding, etc. stuff is my core competency I am not a stylist and will have employees. There is much to learn, and I appreciate your willingness to share learnings. I am especially interested in how you would have implemented the TBP compensation model if you had started the salon instead of purchasing an existing business.