How to Hire (and Keep!) Your Salon Dream Team

Pay attention, people, because we’re about to deliver some cold, hard facts.

A salon is only as stellar as the team who helps run it.

Think about it—every single person who helps with the ins-and-outs of a salon on a daily basis essentially puts a piece of themselves into that salon. Ideally, as a salon owner or manager, the people you hire to put their hearts and souls into your salon are the dream team. They’re efficient, they’re kind, they’re talented. Maybe they’re great with customers and excellent at their craft. Maybe they’re some magical combination of all of those things (and more).

You might be sitting here reading this and thinking, “sure, in a perfect world I’d run a salon with a dream team that was absolutely perfect—but that’s not possible.”

Newsflash—it totally is.

No, we’ll never promise you that you can create a perfect team—we all know perfect doesn’t exist (and even if it did, where would the fun be in that, right?). But you can absolutely have the dreamiest of teams running your salon.

And here’s another quick newsflash for you—it’s on you to make that happen. A dream team isn’t going to just fall out of the sky, into the salon, and start styling. (Gosh, wouldn’t that be amazing though?).

No way! The dream team thing takes time, it takes effort, and most important, it takes determination from you to be the leader your dream team needs!  

Creating the Dream Team—Build it Right the First Time

Having the dream team to run your salon starts from the very beginning—the hiring process. You can’t hire quickly and irrationally and hope something works out in the long run. That’s a risky way to take on the whole dream team thing. Instead, you need to start from the ground up and build the way you want to build.

Know What You’re Looking for Before You Hire

First things first, you need to know what you’re looking for. It’s unreasonable to expect to hire the dream team for your salon if you don’t even really know what that dream team looks like. Don’t even begin your hunt for the ideal staff until you’ve figured out what a dream team looks like to you. 

Think about what you want in a teammate. Think about what your shop is lacking. Think about your weaknesses. Get all of your logistics checked off before you begin the search (like benefits and payroll and admin stuff). Once you have the clarity you need to know what you’re looking for, you’re ready to begin the hunt.

Understand Your Goals and Dreams First, Then Hire Those Who Align

Just as you have to understand the very basics about the type of employee you need on your team, it’s vital to understand the basics of your goals. Why? Because without understanding what your goals and hopes and visions are for your salon, it’ll be impossible to ensure that the people you’re hiring will align with those goals and hopes and visions.

No, not every person in your employ needs to be a cookie-cutter version of you—that would hardly be beneficial. But sharing the same ethics, values, and visions is hugely important because those are the factors that drive you toward the same goal.

Offer Internships & Apprenticeships

If you’re not able to hire pros who have been in the industry for years that fit your specific needs or vision, take an alternate route. Consider hiring on apprentices or interns who are ripe with talent but need a little guidance. This way, you can mold your ideal dream team while also offering new stylists a chance at a great gig. 

It’s definitely an investment (training, education, etc.), but in the long run, it’s worth it if you can take one step closer to creating the team of your dreams.

Trust Your Gut

Sometimes, people seem great on paper. They have all the qualifications, they’re talented, they’re ambitious—but something just doesn’t feel right. If someone doesn’t feel like the perfect fit but you just can’t put your finger on why—don’t ignore that feeling. 

We don’t always advise that you make decisions based on your gut, but we do think it’s important to acknowledge why you feel a certain way about an individual. In other words, don’t give your gut the ultimate say-so, but don’t disregard your feelings, either.

Take Your Time

It’s not a race! Building the dream team takes time, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Don’t rush the process. You know that old saying about how good things come to those who wait? Well, it exists for a reason.

If you’re patient, persistent and don’t rush into something that doesn’t seem right, you’ll end up with the ideal squad.

Keeping the Dream Team—Treat ‘Em Right

Maybe it took you a year (maybe it took you two), but you’ve finally done it—you’ve hired the dream team. Everything is joyful, you can’t get over how wonderful your staff is, and for all your management flaws (come on, they exist), they seem to love you, too.

But that doesn’t mean the work is done. It’s rare that an unchanging environment is a healthy work environment—by that we mean, if you hire on the dream team and then do nothing to keep them or keep everything the same all the time, it’s unlikely that you’ll create an environment where an employee wants to stay forever.

It’s your job to find that delicate balance between being a boss that your employees respect and being a human being they trust, too. Here are a few tips on how you can keep your dream team on board.

Be the Boss You’d Want to Have

Sit back and really think about your strengths and your weaknesses as a leader. As a boss, it’s vital to be a leader your employees will respect, so ask yourself—are you that type of leader?

Analyze yourself honestly. Are you the type of leader that you’d be proud to follow? While everyone has different management styles and different takes on leadership, the ultimate question here is are you the type of boss that you’d want to work for? 

Reward Your Employees

Your employees shouldn’t just hear from you when they’ve done something wrong. It’s vital that you provide your dream team with positive reinforcement, rewards, and extras when they do things right, well, or go above and beyond. Your employees deserve credit when they do well, and they should associate doing well with a positive interaction with you—don’t just reserve your interactions with your employees for the negatives.

Forget a One-Size-Fits-All Management Approach

Every single employee is different, which means every single employee is going to be motivated by different things. It’s part of your job description to figure out what motivates your employees, individually, and do your very best to provide that for them. That’s what exceptional leaders do for their team.

Wait a second—you already have the salon dream team? Can we get a quick hell yeah for you?

If you’re already rockin’ the team you’ve dreamed of, we want to know everything. How’d you find them? How do you keep them happy? Talk to us about your management style! Leave your wise words in the comments and share with your salon community!

For more tips and insight on how to become the leader your dream team would love to follow, keep up with our regularly updated blog.

We frequently post management and leadership insight and advice, along with some really excellent tips for ensuring your salon thrives no matter what’s thrown at it.