Training your salon employees can be hugely rewarding, or it can be hugely draining. It all depends on how you set up your training programme, how you set expectations and how you define success.
When your training programme is implemented correctly, everyone knows what is expected of them and what steps are needed to progress to the next level. Without a simple framework, beauty employees won’t know where the goalposts are or what is expected of them. This can leave them feeling out of touch with the training and unable to fully engage.
If you are planning to implement a training programme in your beauty salon, try these simple steps to make it more effective and successful. You can also apply these principles to an existing training plan to help make it more effective.
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Every employee should be given the same training foundations to keep everyone on a level footing. No matter what level the individual is at when they join the company, everyone should get the same basic training to ensure a consistent brand experience.
This could include training in communication, inventory management, using your salon software, cleaning procedures and health and safety protocols. When everyone receives the same basic level of training, you can achieve consistency across your team, whether they are entry-level trainees or senior stylists.
Employees will be able to engage better with the training if they know where it is heading. Create a roadmap that outlines the level of training they can expect. If the training feels ad hoc and random, it can be difficult for employees to fully engage with the programme.
For juniors and entry-level employees, this is particularly useful as it will help them to understand your expectations. They will know when they are expected to be working under supervision and what tasks they can be expected to complete unsupervised.
The roadmap can include ongoing training with different paths available for different employees. For example, some might be more interested in colouring hair, while others will want to hone their stylist skills.
Salon training will always be more successful when the individual can enjoy hands-on training. Try to keep the percentage of theory-based learning to around 20-30% so that around 70-80% can be hands-on training.
There are some skills you can only learn by doing. Employees will feel more confident much sooner if they can try their hand at the skills they are learning about. Obviously, you need to balance training with customer satisfaction, so you can’t always let your juniors loose on paying customers.
Regular skills refreshers on dummy heads and volunteers can give your trainees the confidence they need to develop their skills. It will also show considerable trust in your junior employees that you want them to get hands-on experience as quickly as possible.
Throughout the training programme, there should be milestones to reach and different levels of achievement. This will help to incentivise hard work and going above and beyond to understand the core principles you are trying to impart.
Milestones help to mark the progress and let your trainees know when they can expect to progress to the next level. And the levels of achievement will help to give them something to aim for. You could split the achievement levels into “pass”, “excellent” and “distinction” to give everyone something to strive for.
Training needs to be responsive to the needs of your team. Actively ask for feedback on how the training is delivered from the people on the front line. People have different learning styles, and this can often be seen when you ask for feedback.
Some people might want more theoretical training as they are visual learners, while others will want more hands-on training because they have something known as a kinaesthetic learning style.
Ask for feedback about what methods work best for individuals and what type of training they would like more of. You should still have overall control over the training programme – so just because your trainees find something boring, it doesn’t mean they get to skip it.
Once you have created your training plan, don’t let it become stale or stagnant. Revisit the training plan regularly to make sure your materials are up-to-date and still relevant to your team.
You can also look for ways to include new skills and services you might be offering to your customers. Refresher training is also recommended to all members of staff to encourage them to keep updating their skills. This could be training they complete in-house, or it could be training offered by third-party providers.
Everyone in your salon will have something they can teach. Rather than resting the responsibility for training on the shoulders of one person, split the load between your team. This will create a more varied training programme and will also ensure that your junior staff are taught in different styles. This type of training can be more engaging and enjoyable.
Your staff will also appreciate the recognition of their skills and this can be a milestone in their own training plan when they have progressed from learning to teaching. This is another area where you can ask for feedback from your team about what they would like to teach.
A good salon training plan should be well-planned and formalised from the start so that everyone knows where they stand. Once you’ve covered the basics, you can then give your trainees options for which direction they would like to head in.
Be transparent about how long the training will take and what is expected of them to move on to the next level.
Regularly seek feedback from your team on the content of the training and how it is delivered so you can identify ways to continually improve.
You can also include the wider team when choosing topics for the next training programme so that everyone feels like their skills and experience are highly valued in the salon.