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Making Spirits Bright: How to Keep The Holidays From Sapping Your Stylists' Joy

Keep your staff from bah-humbuging through the holidays with these helpful morale-boosting tips

Visions of sugar plums and chestnuts roasting on an open fire — yeah, no, your holidays don’t have much time for that. No, you’re managing a wall-to-wall, multi-month-long rush of clients who are all fretting about trying to look their best for their holiday functions. You’re also trying to keep your specialists’ and stylists' heads above water as they work on the front lines of this massive influx of customers.

The holidays are tough, and if you don’t manage them right, your staff will have depleted morale, increased stress, and may even burn out. Here are some tips to keep spirits bright well into the new year.

Give people a break (in their schedules)

The first step toward managing the hectic holiday schedule is to display your location’s extended hours well in advance and then stick to them. Your busy clients will likely show up for a midnight appointment if you let them, so make sure you’re honoring the schedule to prevent your employees from working too far into the night.

Also, keep a close eye on the schedule to avoid overworking your stylists. Ensure your team gets adequate time off during the work week, and avoid saddling staff with closing shifts followed by opening shifts (aka the dreaded “clopen”) whenever possible. It may not be feasible all of the time, given the all-hands nature of the holidays, but consistency in scheduling can go a long way to preventing work stress and burnout.

Client demands will likely make requesting time off difficult, if not impossible, throughout November and December. To compensate for this, allow your specialists to accrue bonus time off they can use in the quieter months of January or February to refresh from the holiday gauntlet. 

Keep the salon festive

Putting up the holiday decorations is a tradition, of course, but you don’t have to do it alone. Letting staff partake in decorating the salon or spa, along with their stations, will give them ownership of the festivities and allow them to take pride in where they work. 

Host special days in the salon, like fancy dress or bad Christmas sweater days, Secret Santa gift-giving sessions, or other festive projects that get people involved in the holiday spirit. Moments like these add spontaneity and give the team a chance to let their hair down during their busy schedules.

Throw a holiday party

Nothing says “we’re in this together” like a holiday party. Set a budget, book a table at a restaurant, reserve a movie theater, an escape room, or another fun spot, and treat the team to an entertaining night out where everyone can relax, have fun, and share their war stories. 

Scheduling a party the entire staff can attend may be tricky to balance with everyone’s work schedule. Still, if you set expectations with your salon’s holiday hours ahead of time, blocking out an evening well in advance ensures you can bring the whole crew together for a well-deserved night out.

Reward employees for their hard work

At the end of the day, your staff are front-line workers getting your salon through the busy times. They deserve recognition for their time and hard work in making your clients look their best and giving them peace of mind. 

There’s no better way to reward their efforts than by giving them gifts. Treat the team to a spa day, give them an extra day off, and hand out gift cards — the sky is the limit. You can get extra creative here and even hand out certificates of achievements to go along with their gifts to poke fun at the wilder holiday moments. 

Also, consider offering commissions on individual sales to incentivize workers to upsell specific treatments or products. Providing a percentage of total gift card sales back on their paycheck during the holidays can give your team the extra pick-me-up they need to get through the busy months while boosting revenue and client retention.

Looking for more ways to become a better boss and leader? Our Manager’s Handbook to Salon Operations has everything you need to level up. Get your free copy now

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