Getting Started With Salon Appraisals

Salon Appraisals with Phil Jackson
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Salon appraisals are important in ensuring that you’re running an effective and efficient salon team. Appraisals are 1-on-1 discussions between you and the staff and usually done on an annual basis. The big reason why appraisals are important is that it allows you to align your business goals with your team’s performance. As salon owners or managers, we need to ensure that our staff are set goals that are getting them to where we want them to be. Alignment between you and your team will not only help your salon to do well but ultimately, help you forge a much more successful team.

As a business owner, you have to realise that providing appraisals can make a huge difference to your staff’s motivation and productivity. What’s more, with correct preparation, appraisals can help improve team morale and work performance.

3 Rules When Conduction Salon Appraisals

1. Timing – In my salon I run an annual appraisal scheme. Our salon appraisals are done every January. It’s important that you consider what timing works for your kind of business.  Maybe tie it in with your paid holiday year, or financial year end.

More than the timing, you also need to set the appropriate amount of time for it. I highly discourage salon owners from squeezing appraisals into a 15-20 minute meeting. Show your staff that you have enough time for them. If you suspect an appraisal to last for more than 30-minutes, you need to schedule an hour for it. Personally, I do these appraisals just before lunchtime or at the end of the day. This is so that we don’t have to feel that we both need to hurry. Furthermore, this will help make the conversation feel natural and conversational.

2. Avoid surprises – There should never be surprises for your team coming from your appraisal discussion.

“Addressing any performance related problems immediately
should be your priority”.

Don’t wait for the appraisal period to come around to address performance issues.  Doing so will teach your team to fear the appraisal process.  If your team starts dreading appraisals it’ll be counterproductive for everyone. As I’ve mentioned, a perfectly planned appraisal will boost team motivation and performance.

3. Do your homework – When going into the appraisal meeting, make sure you have all the facts and performance reviews of your staff for the previous period.   Also, you need to make sure that you have a clear vision where you want the salon to be in the next few years.

You need hard facts so you can better answer any questions your staff may have. Doing your homework prior to the appraisal meeting will help make for a better discussion.

My Salon Appraisal Format

My strict 4-question format provides me with everything I need in the shortest possible time. These questions are provided to the staff at least a month before the actual salon appraisals. This will allow them to fully prepare for the answers and give me enough time to ask other relevant questions.

These are the 4 questions I ask:
“What has gone well for you in the last 12 months?”

I always make sure to start with this question. This type of question will help set the meeting in a positive and constructive note. It’ll also help them showcase what accomplishments they may have achieved that I may have overlooked.

“What difficulties did you experience in the past period?”

It’s important for me to find out what my team members struggled with in terms of work so their future performance isn’t affected. As a business owner, this kind of information will help develop empathy and understanding towards your team.

“What are your plans for the next 12 months?”

These plans are usually work-related. But, if they have other big things happening in their life it’s also something that I need to know. Big goals such as getting their first mortgage will definitely have an impact on what they want to achieve with their career.

“How can I help you achieve your goals?”

Obviously, I’d want my team to achieve their goals and most of that can only make that happen through my help. Knowing what they expect from me can help me make better plans and opportunities for the whole team.

After the appraisal period, I document all the information I’ve gathered. I usually list any actions down in bullet points so I can have a better view of who’s accountable for each one. After documenting, I send a copy to my staff to make sure that everything is achieved. I also use the information I’ve gathered to draw up my action plan and training plan for the team.

I do a follow-up review in the middle of the year around June. This is just a simple meeting to revisit what that staff and I have agreed on during the salon appraisals.

Why Are Performance Appraisals Important

Creative individuals base their output assessment on their emotions. This can result in performance issues in terms of business goals. Performance appraisals play an important role in ensuring employees are being heard. This also encourages an environment that promotes not just productivity but also creativity.

Additionally, it provides members of your team with the opportunity to be recognised for their efforts. Employees who feel that they are valued for the work they bring to the table are more likely to become productive and loyal.

Here are five good reasons why salon appraisals are important for your business:

It fosters growth for well-performing staff – As I’ve mentioned, you have to create a positive environment for your employees.

Congratulating and thanking your staff for their efforts goes a long way in boosting morale.  Appraisals are a good opportunity to really see which employees are performing and exceeding your expectations. At the same time, it gives you an opportunity to see which staff are ready for more responsibility in your salon.

You make the most of your money – It’s only natural that employees who are loyal to you and motivated will make themselves invaluable to your salon. These employees may, of course, need some recognition in the form of increased salary or commission rates.

A performance appraisal will help confirm any expectations they may have from you. What’s more, giving you the chance to objectively provide them appropriate reward for their skills.

Create an environment for success – Doing performance appraisals will help you see potential gaps in your training. If staff are performing poorly this may be a result of poor training management. It could also provide your staff with the opportunity to ask for extra training so they can advance towards their career goals.

It’s always nice to create an environment that nurtures success and enables employees to get proper training. Not doing so can have consequences for their performance and overall productivity.

It sets goals and excites employees – Salon appraisals will help align your goals with each member of the team. Take your time to explain what your vision is and what you expect from each one of them.

The process should excite the members of your staff and give them the ability to see the bigger picture. Doing so will do wonders for your salon in the long run.

Improves relationship and communication – Communication is a key component of a good working relationship. Doing appraisals will give an opportunity for your staff to practice transparency with you. Keep your communication lines open so they’ll always feel comfortable coming to you whenever they have concerns.

Final Tips Before Doing A Performance Appraisal

  • Be a good listener and remember that it’s a dialogue between you and your staff – not a lecture. Remember to be professional and use words that encourage good behaviour. Most of all, keep your emotions in check before starting the meeting.
  • Ask the right performance related questions. I’ve provided you my top 4 questions that I ask my staff. Feel free to add more to them but make sure that you only ask relevant questions
  • It’s normal to feel anxious and at a loss for words before going into a performance appraisal meeting. You have to remember that your words carry power and you have to use that power in the best way possible. Choose your words wisely and avoid focusing solely on the negative.
  • Be transparent with how your staff are being measured. Show them how they are being measured for and explain to them why they measured for such. Your staff shouldn’t be guessing how the company values them.
  • Avoid biased performance appraisal. It’s human nature to be biased towards people we share similarities with or to feel sorry for those we see performing poorly. Try your best to remove your biases from the performance review and assess your staff objectively.

Working in a salon can be stressful enough so, there’s no need to add more to it through inconsistent performance pressure. When done properly, salon appraisals can do wonders for the growth of your business and your staff productivity.

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