Industry • Best Practice

How to Find Stylists for Your Salon & Keep Creative Geniuses Loyal

It’s not enough to know how to find hair stylists for your salon — you also need to give them reasons to stick around.

The biggest challenge of running a salon isn’t finding clients; it’s finding enough stylists. Unfortunately, most salons experience an average annual turnover rate of 40% — just shy of replacing half your team every year. So it seems the question is not just how to find stylists for your salon, but what can you do to help them stay?

In this article, we’ll discuss how to recruit hair stylists and the benefits that encourage your most valuable team members to stick around.

How to find stylists for your salon

It’s not difficult to find a stylist for your salon, but it can be tricky to find the right stylist. You need team members with the training, licensure, and experience to jump into a role and take on clients with the minimum of onboarding. Depending on the beauty scene in your area, there are usually a few reliable places to start.

Job databases

The most direct option for finding stylists is to promote salon openings so they will come to you. In our digital world, that’s usually accomplished through online job boards and databases. Traditional websites like Monster.com can spread the word, although they are not always the best suited to beauty listings. Prioritize industry-specific job sites like Salon Employment and Salon Builder to help narrow your focus.

Once you have a list of websites to work with, prepare an application with a hair stylist job description and publish it on each platform. You may need to pay for each listing, but the more boards you include, the more applicants you are likely to find.

Industry publications

Back in the day, most salons and barber shops posted job wanted ads in local newspapers. That practice is long out of date, but there is value in promoting stylist positions within industry publications. Look into magazines and newsletters that prospective stylists read, especially if they’re published locally. Any stylist brushing up on the latest trends may discover your job ad and decide it’s time for a change.

Cosmetology schools

Are there any beauty programs or cosmetology programs in your area? These locations are perfect for fresh recruits. Many will deliver job applications for new graduates, and some may even be on the lookout for student training positions. If nothing else, you can get permission to post opportunities on a notice board that students will see between classes.

Asking your team

Sometimes the best solution is to ask stylists on your team. Some will have friends in the community looking for work, while others may have ideas for job postings you’d never considered. While you should still conduct interviews and background checks, employee referrals are an excellent way to find stylists while bypassing the hassles of job postings.

How to keep your creative geniuses loyal

The stylist world can become highly competitive, especially in cities that act as fashion centers for the world. If you’re not careful, your salon could be a poaching ground for managers looking to snatch up your best talent. While you certainly want to see your stylists grow, you’re still running a business — and that’s much harder when you’re constantly training replacements.

Thankfully, there are several techniques that should keep your creative geniuses loyal to your brand.

Salary and tips

It’s cliched, perhaps, but the easiest way to earn stylist loyalty is through their bank account. In the United States, the average stylist’s salary is around $17 per hour, give or take a few dollars by location. If you pay above that amount or offer a competitive commission framework with performance-based milestones, your best stylists will have more than 17 reasons to stick around.

Of course, it’s not all about salary or commission — it’s the tips too! A few high-value gratuities can boost stylist morale without impacting your personal bottom line. Help them get there by adopting a POS system that has a 20% default tip option.

Showing appreciation

Not all job benefits take the form of financial compensation. There’s also work-life balance to consider — does your schedule give them enough downtime to refresh themselves? Are you providing enough sick days? Do you support a workplace that your staff enjoys coming to every day?

Even something as simple as developing a positive work culture can boost the connections between stylists. Celebrate birthdays, acknowledge your hardest workers, and show them they matter both as stylists and as people. Even if they eventually move on to bigger things, these personal touches will leave an impression — and might lead to more referrals down the road.

Besides, it’s not all cynical business calculations. When you’re running the right team, forging these kinds of relationships is profoundly satisfying for managers and leaders as well.

On-the-job mentorship

Most stylists are looking for opportunities to grow and learn the craft. Perhaps they are fresh-faced graduates looking to throw themselves into client work. Maybe they hope to become managers themselves one day. As a salon leader, you can offer mentorship and training opportunities to help them achieve this growth.

There are several benefits to becoming a salon mentor. First of all, it produces better stylists who enhance your salon’s value. Second, it helps you identify which team members might fill senior roles in your organization. Finally, your stylists-in-training can take on tasks you have limited time for, which drives long-term salon growth.

In a best-case scenario? One day you can open a new location and know there’s an excellent manager in your corner ready to take the reins.

Change is constant in salons. New stylists will continually arrive, and veteran staff will eventually say their goodbyes. But if you have the right process in place, it’s far easier to adapt to stylist turnover. Eventually, not only will you know exactly how to find stylists for your salon, you’ll build a loyal crew that can help it grow and thrive.

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