May 13, 2024

Why Your Salon Needs a Mentoring Program

salon
Why Your Salon Needs a Mentoring Program

Diversity in the workplace will always be beneficial, and age diversity is one area where salons can shine. With age diversity, you can bring together those with extensive experience and skills with those eager to learn the trade. This can help to cut down on training costs and provide a more cohesive experience for your customers.

When you focus on age diversity in the workspace, you can also take advantage of schemes like mentoring programs. Mentoring is a key part of the salon experience, with many younger professionals benefitting immeasurably from a well-planned mentorship scheme.

In this guide, we’re looking at some of the benefits of a mentoring program and how you can put it to work in your salon.

What is mentoring?

A mentoring program is an arrangement where more those with extensive experience to share help to guide those at the start of their career. It relies on one person being willing to teach and the other being open to learning. 

When done correctly, mentoring can help to quickly upskill junior members of staff and give them a place to ask important questions about their career direction. It’s not necessarily about sharing the skills needed to become a good stylist, but sharing the soft skills and offering career development advice to help demystify the process of building your reputation as a stylist.

Benefits of mentoring

Benefits of mentoring

There are multiple benefits of mentoring for both the mentee and the mentor. It gives those at the start of their career the structure and guidance they need to focus their attention on the soft skills they need to excel. It also offers an outlet for those more advanced in their career to share their wisdom and to feel valued in the industry. 

Mentors often get a lot out of the arrangement as they learn how to teach, which isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. This can pave the way for new career opportunities if they decide to move on from being a stylist.

Mentoring can also help to quickly upskill trainee stylists so that they are ready to hit the ground running with clients. They might have the technical skills but lack the customer care experience and soft skills needed to excel in the industry.

Finally, mentoring can also help to boost your reputation as a strong employer for aspiring, newly qualified and early stage stylists. This can help to increase your chances of being able to snap up the best of the best graduate stylists.

How to implement a mentorship program

How to implement a mentorship program

Mentoring should always be a formal arrangement. The mentor and the mentee should both know exactly what is expected of them. 

There is nothing worse for a mentor than to be paired with someone who doesn't want to listen to advice or do the work. And for the mentee, they need to know that their mentor is willing to impact their knowledge and doesn’t feel forced into the arrangement.

By making it a formal agreement, everyone will know what is expected of them. This will allow individuals to opt in out of interest rather than being automatically opted in by their employer.

It’s also a good idea to decide how often the mentor and mentee will meet formally. This could be once a week or once a month, depending on scheduling. Rather than leaving it open so that the mentor feels the pressure of constant questioning, try to formalise the arrangement to specific times.

The mentor can then set tasks for the mentee that are in line with what they have discussed. For example, they could ask them to work on a specific skill such as using photos as a reference point, and then report back in a week or a month to see how the advice has shaped their approach.

The mentee also needs to know that they are going to get a minimum level of support for their time and effort. While this is a free exchange of knowledge and time, everyone needs to feel like their contribution is valued for it to be successful. Some salons will go as far as having a mentorship charter which outlines what is expected of both parties before the agreement can move forward. 

Benefits of reverse mentoring

Benefits of reverse mentoring

When we talk about mentoring, we often look at older and more experienced stylists helping to support younger and less experienced stylists, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. Reverse mentoring can benefit your business in different ways. In this instance, younger workers feel empowered to share what they know. This could help to bring older stylists on board with digital skills, social media use, or new and novel techniques.

It’s important not to overlook the skills and experience that younger workers bring to the table. Valuing their contribution can help them to feel more confident in the workplace, and this can shine through in their approach to their work.

Reverse mentoring could help to upskill older employees and those who might feel a little more “set in their ways”. Obviously, this will only work if they are willing to take this knowledge on board. Some people don’t respond well to being taught by those who are younger than them, but it can be hugely beneficial for those who are open to any and all learning experiences. 

Closing thoughts

If you want to share skills between salon employees, a mentorship scheme could be an ideal way to achieve this. Outline what you want everyone to gain from the arrangement and then use this to create a framework for the program. Don’t forget that mentorship can work both ways, and some salon employees could benefit from the knowledge of younger workers in areas such as technology and social media.

Regularly review your mentor program and seek feedback from both sides to find out what is working and what isn’t. This will help you to continually refine the offering so that everyone can get the maximum benefit from your mentoring program. 

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