The Number One Necessity of Every Salon


Do you have any guesses to what the number one necessity for every salon is? Well, it’s probably not what you’re thinking. Your salon’s number one necessity is engagement in culture. What does that even mean? Well, we are going to break down what engagement looks like and how you can foster it in your salon!

Recently, I saw Richard Maloney speak, and he is the “engagement guy.” Richard’s mission is to create a globally engaged workforce, and he works with companies all over the world to improve engagement. Friends, engagement is not something to brush off; check out these statistics: 67% of the global workforce is disengaged, 20% are actively disengaged, leaving only 13% as engaged workers. Wow—this is shocking! A disengaged workforce consistently underperforms, struggles with turnover, and can lead to huge losses in profits! In other words: not good!

What is Engagement?

Let’s start with what engagement isn’t; engagement is not training. When things get a little rocky at a company, most leaders think that everyone needs more training. Well, guess what? Traditional training is dead. Having your employees sit and listen to a speaker with some hands-on activities is not good training, and it does not lead to engagement. So, what is engagement? Engagement is participation. Participation is how you can tell if your employees are engaged with the company.

So, let’s start at the beginning. How do you motivate people to participate? There are actually six key motivators that drive all behavior: love, variety, certainty, connection, significance, and contribution. Love can mean many things; it can be spicy romantic love, but oftentimes love is simply caring for people. Variety is central to our industry, so most in the beauty profession have this covered! We are constantly changing as trends and times change. Certainty comes from knowing the end result. When we know what is coming next, we feel secure. Connection is formed through bonds among your colleagues. It’s easy to spot the opposite of connection—are there cliques? or do you play favorites? Significance is making everybody feel like a somebody. Contribution is allowing everyone to contribute to the team’s purpose and goals.

Keeping these six motivators in mind, I’ve learned that there are three ways to get my stylists to participate: discussion, experience, and teaching others. Create an atmosphere where you can have a discussion with your team. An open discussion can lead to love, connections, and allows everyone to contribute. Next, is creating opportunities for experience. Allow your team of stylists to be involved in hands-on learning and to be on the front-lines. Lastly, allow everyone the chance to teach others. For instance, create a mentoring program at your salon where everyone can teach and learn from others. This triggers several key motivators including: contribution, significance, and connections.

What is Culture?

Similar to engagement, many people think culture is something that it actually isn’t. Culture is not perks, and it is not getting everything you want. Culture is how people treat one another as evidenced through meaningful relationships. Aren’t we lucky to be in the industry where we get to pass along positive energy through relationships with our clients? This makes me so excited!

There are a few behaviors that are consistently displayed in a salon with a fabulous culture: respect, honesty, accountability, care, and selflessness. Many of these qualities come down to this question: do you have a we or me mentality? If you’re a Master Stylist, are you willing to help an Associate Stylist rinse her client if she’s running behind? Are team members holding each other accountable? Are there honest conversations taking place among your team members? Basically, if you want a great culture, it comes down to how you treat each other.

Engagement & Culture: Putting it Together

Let’s recap. The number one necessity for your salon is engagement in culture. Culture is how people treat one another at your salon, and salons with a great culture display the following behaviors: respect, honesty, accountability, care, and selflessness. Finally, you can get employees to display these behaviors through discussion, experience, and teaching others.

Are you motivated to take a hard look at your team’s culture and engagement? If you want even more insights into engagement, check out Richard Maloney’s book: The Minds of Winning Teams. Then, share your takeaways with our private Facebook group—we can’t wait to engage with you!  


Emily Kelly