How to Attract and Retain the Best Employees

A really good employee does wonders for your business;

They are the face of your business, the ones who are dealing with your clients and keeping them happy and coming back.

They can help to grow your business with upselling, bringing in new customers and feeding back from the clients, helping you with ideas, trends and demands. This is especially good if you are not hands on at your salon, the employees are your direct link to the customers so they know what they want. They also work there everyday and know what it is like working day to day so can help to come up with practical and realistic solutions for any problems.

You can rely on them and trust them which is so important.

So firstly you must attract these amazing employees.

You really need to think about what you can offer the employees as much as what they can offer you. An interview should be a two way process; both parties need to feel the job would be right for them. So at the same time as finding out about them remember to sell yourself! Don’t assume they will just be happy if you offer them the job; they may have had other offers so your job needs to be the most attractive offer to them.

Focus on your best bits and make sure this comes across firstly in your advert, so that you attract lots of candidates, and secondly in the interview, so that if you offer them the job they will want to accept!

What is the USP of your salon? Why should they want to work there above others? What are the benefits of working for you?  What can you offer them?

  • Opportunities for training
  • Good wages
  • A good commission scheme
  •  A particularly good working environment
  • Lots of support offered
  • Attractive hours
  • Opportunity to progress

Depending on what type of employee you are looking for you may want to concentrate on different things. You need to know what you want from them firstly and then decide what they might want from you. For example if you want someone ambitious to hopefully progress and manage the salon for you one day then they are probably going to look for a job with good wages, training opportunities and career progression. Or you might be looking for an excellent therapist who will be a team player so they might be looking more for attractive hours, such as some weekends off, and good benefits such as a pension scheme or a good holiday allowance.

So now that you've found them, you want to keep them.

Keep your promises

So in the interview you told them everything they wanted to hear, now if you don't stick to what you’ve said this is going to be really frustrating for the employee. If you've stated that they will have a pay review after 6 months or will be doing a training course after 3 months etc then keep your word and do what you have promised. No one likes being lied to or feeling that they've been fobbed off. It might make them question why they took the job in the first place and doubt whether they can trust you.

Don’t take them for granted

When things are going well it's easy to take it all for granted. Often we don't notice what people are doing until they stop doing it. Straight away we'd be calling an employee up on it if they were doing a bad job but we need to try and notice when employees are doing a good job too. Sometimes a simple thank you will show your employee how much you value them. A bit of recognition goes a long way. If you feel like you've done a really great job on something and everyone ignores it, it can make you feel very underappreciated. It could even make you feel resentful and think ‘what's the point?’ Praise, rewards and incentives will keep your employees motivated and happy.

If someone is reliable it's also easy to become too reliant upon them. Don't expect your employee to take on responsibilities above their position. It's great to find someone you can trust to do things but pile too much on them and you will leave them feeling like they’re doing everything and getting no appreciation for it. If you want to give them more responsibility then great, reward them with that but also reward them with a new title, a pay rise or time off from treatments to carry out their new tasks.

Listen to them

Have regular appraisals and meetings with your employees. Find out how they're doing, if they have any problems or issues, what they're enjoying etc. Listen to what they say and where possible make changes. You can't read people’s minds and often in busy salons you only see each other between treatments so it can be hard to find time to bring things up.

This could be a desire to train in a new treatment or particularly enjoying a treatment and wanting to do more or specialise in them. Perhaps they have a problem like an issue with their hours, another employee or client. Maybe they just have a suggestion for the salon such as an offer they think would be popular or a comment from a client that the towels are a bit worn and need replacing.

Whatever you find out from the meeting will be something valuable that you are able to take on board and try and sort out for them which will make them happier at work. It is important to book some time out and find out how everything is on a regular basis. You will also need meetings or appraisal to keep them in the loop as well. Get them involved with what is going on within the salon. Being uninformed or unsure what's going on causes confusion between the therapists and clients and also can make employees feel undervalued. By getting employees involved it not only make the employees feel valued but can also benefit your business, they could have some really great ideas or suggestions that you would never have thought of.

Targets and keeping motivated

Everyone can get stuck in a rut sometimes, but too much change can get people’s backs up. What you need is a fine balance between the two- not so much change that no one knows where they are from one week to the next but just enough to prevent things becoming mundane. A new challenge helps employees to focus and gives them motivation. It can even increase team morale. You could set up a new incentive or target or perhaps get staff involved in a new project such as setting up social media or an advertising campaign. Giving extra responsibilities where wanted too will change things slightly for the employee and keep the job fresh.


Often employees like to know that they are 'going somewhere'. This is especially important with employees that want to progress. You can move your employees forward by giving pay rises, promotions and further training. Obviously you can only do this when you have the availability and means to do so. If you don't then have a talk with the employee and let them know that the intentions are there it's just not quite possible at the moment. Try to think of other things that you could offer them at the moment; maybe you could give them a few extra responsibilities. If you can't afford a pay rise perhaps you could give them a reward such as a higher percentage commission if they hit a higher target, this way it will pay for itself, or perhaps add an extra holiday day on to their allowance.


It is really bad practise as an employer to have favourites. You can give rewards and praise where necessary but if you are clearly given one employee more favourable treatment such as having one rule for them and another for the other staff this is really unfair on other employees. You may end up keeping your favourite employee but you could lose all of your other staff who might be really good too!

Don't leave it too late

The worst thing to do is to wait until someone has handed in their notice before you offer them what they deserve. If you can offer it now you could have offered it before and even if the employee does stay their relationship and trust with you as their employer would have been so much better if you had just recognised how much you needed them before it got to the stage where they wanted to leave!

What to do if they leave

Treat your staff well and fairly and do what you can to keep them happy. If you do this then you have done everything you can and won't need to have any regrets. If you do have a member of staff that leaves then it is upsetting but you just have to accept their decision. Most people don't stay in one job for their whole career, it is inevitable that you will lose some staff. As much as possible be happy for them if they are moving on to bigger things and leave things on good terms. Always be thankful for what they have done for you and your business (you never know they may even want to come back one day!). An exit interview is always a good idea to find out exactly why they want to leave. You may find out that there are some things you could have done better. This way you can change things for when you find your next perfect employee!

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