Industry • Best Practice
Job Roles in a Beauty Salon - How to Hire & Manage a Lean Staff
Opening a salon is no easy task, but it gets easier when you have the right team at your disposal. Ideally, you’ll want a lean staff with a small number of highly-skilled employees to handle all the job roles in a beauty salon. What you must remember is the role of a stylist is not the same as a manager or receptionist — you need the right balance of employees to handle every task while keeping costs down.
The only challenge is that hiring and training employees are skills in and of themselves — to say nothing of the obstacles of managing teams during a pandemic! Here are a few best practices and recommendations that will help you know what to look for in a salon team:
Understanding job roles in a beauty salon
From a customer’s point of view, visiting the salon is a one-on-one interaction with their stylist. In reality, the beauty experience is often made possible by many salon employees, including receptionists and assistants. (And in a small, privately-owned salon, you’d better believe each stylist is wearing many different hats to make it work!)
So before you start hiring, it’s essential to understand the different job roles that keep everything running in a beauty salon.
A stylist is the beauty expert who manages and maintains your look for everyone to enjoy. Depending on the nature of your salon, this position covers hairdressers, cosmetologists, and even manicurists. Most job postings will require stylists to be professionally trained and licensed. If an employee in a salon is making any physical contact with a client — whether it’s trimming hair or adding gel to nails — you know they’re filling a stylist’s role!
Managers can double as stylists in many salons, particularly small businesses and startups. But managers have additional responsibilities as an immediate team leader of salon employees. They will be responsible for hiring, training, scheduling, and occasionally disciplining employees in their department. In larger salons, there may be multiple managers supporting various teams instead of a salon owner acting as the sole manager.
When every stylist is with a client, who answers the phones? Many salons have dedicated receptionists who manage the front desk, take calls, respond to emails, and most importantly, manage bookings. While a receptionist won’t pick up scissors or a curling iron on the job, they need to keep organized and line the right clients up with the right stylists.
Salon assistants fill a crucial support role, especially in large salon operations. These are the individuals sweeping and cleaning workstations between clients, grabbing towels from the back, and sometimes washing hair or mixing colors. In short, the assistant helps the salon thrive by setting up the conditions for stylists to succeed.
Best practices for hiring
Once you know what you’re hiring for, it’s time to put out applications that will attract your salon's best and brightest. This process can be complex and will vary state-by-state — to say nothing of salon-by-salon — but there are a few excellent best practices to keep in mind.
Prepare answers for applicant questions
It’s not just the manager interviewing applicants — they’re interviewing you to feel out whether this salon is a good fit. The easiest way to address their questions is with the application itself. Be sure to include:
The salary range for this position
The size of the team
A clear breakdown of regular and irregular responsibilities for the role
Place job postings far and wide
It’s 2020, so you can’t just put job postings in the newspaper anymore — although in some small towns, that can still be effective! You have many channels at your disposal, including social media, job boards, and more. Find the options with the most visibility for local applicants — or those able to travel — and make sure to use them.
Tap into your professional network
Sometimes the best applicants are those referred to you by other salons and stylists. Don’t be afraid to tap into your professional network to find employee recommendations from trusted peers and colleagues. Just don’t confuse network recommendations with instant hires — they’ll need to go through the same hiring process as anyone else. Check their qualifications and references, give them an interview, and prepare exercises to measure their abilities.
Have clear workplace policies that everyone can understand
Once you’ve accepted a new employee and started training, it’s important to have a formal onboarding process that will introduce them to your salon. Training is the obvious consideration here, but you also want to make them aware of work policies, how schedules and booking processes work, and how the different roles interact in this salon.
Reducing staff interactions during COVID-19
COVID-19 is just part of our reality in 2020, particularly when it comes to beauty salon work. The pandemic is transforming much of how we do business, perhaps permanently, but it is still our responsibility to prioritize the safety of clients, stylists, and employees. Managing the job roles in a beauty salon is a big part of that:
Include COVID-19 elements in training: Save the link to Barbicide’s COVID-19 Certification Course and make it a crucial part of training. All beauty professionals in your salon need to understand pandemic-era sanitation and transmission vector management, particularly those roles that have direct contact with clients.
Minimize client/staff interactions: As much as possible, only stylists should have direct contact with clients. Given the circumstances, stylists and assistants may need to adapt their workflow. For example, instead of washing a client’s hair to start the appointment, they can leave that to stylists and focus on sanitizing equipment.
Keep PPE in mind: All employees should wear masks and gloves when assisting a client. Ensure each stylist’s workstation is fully stocked with personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer. Having the right PPE on hand goes a long way towards keeping everyone safe!
Optimizing operations with a salon management system
Finally, one of the most important ways to optimize your salon is to give your staff tools for managing their tasks. Salon equipment is a vital starting point, but salon management software also grants a considerable advantage by handling booked appointments, employee schedules, and more. These platforms let stylists, managers, assistants, and receptionists coordinate their efforts and improve their day-to-day effectiveness.
Salon management software can improve your operations by helping you:
Manage client memberships and personalized services
Intelligently balance booked appointments and walk-in sessions
Manage inventory and track retail sales
Process payments, including online and contactless options!
The right platform will be robust enough to handle everything described above and accounts for ease-of-use. If you’re in the market, we humbly recommend Boulevard. Our platform takes the stress out of scheduling logistics and includes a wide variety of user-friendly features to simplify your complex workflows. But don’t take our word for it — see for yourself!
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