Good salon managers are made… not born!

by | Farr Factor

Every day of every week I spend tons of hours on the phone talking to clients or client staff about a variety of HR and marketing issues. But of all of  the HR issues the most common is “what do we do with managers that don’t manage?” “What do we do with someone who won’t demand higher standards from their workers or higher standards of themselves or those that are too undemanding in any standard?”

Managing people to get their best, on a consistent basis, is part art and part science. You can train managers in the best basic principles (science) of managing other human beings… and… You should do that. And, the vast majority of salon managers may know a lot about managing customers but usually enter the position of “manager” with little or no academic or real time experience in directing or redirecting the actions of other employees. Usually the “manager” is anointed that position because she (usually “she”) was the best at selling packages and products. It’s a proven fact that the core skill set for selling is not always the same as being the best at managing other humans. Conclusion: Usually your best managers will not be those who got that title yesterday. Understanding the flakiness of other people’s actions is a personal case study each manager has to start the minute they take over and EVERY employee is different. Wouldn’t it be great if every employee had a productivity/attitude meter inscribed across their foreheads? You’d just have to check them from time to time like you do your hours count for bulbs) and know if you have winners or losers for those employees, like when tanning bulb are turning… gray.

Unfortunately it does not work that way and your great worker one day may choose to spend the shift texting her friends or leaving the job with her boyfriend tomorrow to dig water wells in Egypt… or some such thing. Managing employees to be consistent producers and to help you grow your business is a slippery proposition at times and it takes managers that have been on the spot and had to deal with both good and poor performers. It takes time to see those differences and to also better manage the actions and practices of the worker the manager sees in the mirror. So, what am I saying? Your new manager… Give em time. If a new associate can’t hit a reasonable per tan average goal within their first 60-90 days that may be a good reason to try another candidate but the demands of good salon management, via inspiration of salon associates, is always a “work in progress.” Managers need not only a good training checklist for the basics of indoor tanning but also a good checklist for training people managing basics such as recruiting, interviewing, training, performance reinforcing/redirection, progressive discipline, terminations, and motivations. No one learns “art” of HR as fast as they can learn the indoor tanning business. Understanding and guiding workers to providing great in-salon experiences is a big job and that’s a science they don’t teach in school.

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