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How to Onboard Your New Salon Employee

Efficient onboarding results in skilled, dedicated employees. Here are six steps we find crucial when onboarding a new salon employee.

Remember the day you started working in your first salon? You probably have many memories of that time, but you’re probably also equally full of ideas of what your employer could have done to make the process easier for you.

Now, when you manage your own salon, you can control how you onboard new employees to their new workplace.

It’s essential to perform the onboarding process well because it sets the tone for your employee’s future performance.

To help you make the process seamless, we compiled a list of six steps your onboarding plan should include, together with some real-life examples of their implementation in the industry.

Follow these steps, and you’ll get satisfied employees. And satisfied employees lead to happy clients!

With that in mind, let’s see how you can perfect the onboarding experience.

Gather Important Employee Information Ahead of Time

Besides training, a significant portion of onboarding includes collecting the necessary documentation for your new hire. Make sure to gather all employee information before the onboarding begins so you can use your time effectively.

When you decide on a new employee, there is some prep work to do before they arrive for their first day. You want their first day to be focused on actual training, not paperwork.

A well-organized salon manager will collect the documentation needed ahead of time, send it to the new hire, and ask them to return the filed paperwork before their official start date.

Bear in mind that the documents necessary for employment vary by country, so you’ll have to look up specific regulations for your area.

Still, there are some universal requirements for every new hire in the beauty industry.

Check out the following image for a quick overview of the paperwork your new cosmetologist will have to fill in or sign.

First, you need to ensure everything is right in the legal department. This means signing the employment contract and getting the employee’s bank account information on time.

Depending on the position of your new hire, you may need to obtain their licenses or certificates.

Source: Instagram

Finally, it’s up to you whether you want your employees to sign some internal documents as well.

For instance, if you want to protect the confidentiality of your salon and the clients, you may want to require your staff to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Additionally, it’s helpful to note any potential allergies or sensitivities to products that your new beautician will be in contact with.

For instance, if an employee is allergic to latex, you need to note that info so you can order gloves made of alternative materials.

Establish a Training Schedule

You can make the process of onboarding a new salon employee easy and effective if you prepare it properly. Draw up a training schedule you can adapt for onboarding all newcomers to your team.

Onboarding is a key element in employee experience, so you have to do it well. Since effective onboarding programs can improve employee retention by 25%, you should make sure the training you provide is well-structured and informative.

Ideally, your training plan should cover:

  • technical skills (depending on the kinds of treatments done at your salon)
  • soft skills, such as communicating with clients
  • business skills, such as managing money and information.

We found a real-life example of a salon training schedule to share with you for inspiration.

Dashing Diva, a nail spa and salon franchise with locations worldwide, offers an intensive 13-week training program.

The first three weeks include education on sanitation and the Dashing Diva philosophy, followed by two weeks of service training. The rest of the training consists of two months of internship, complete with weekly reviews.

This final part is of crucial importance. Make sure that your training includes reviews and meetings so that you can point the new hires in the right direction.

A word of caution: don’t overburden your new employees, even if they think they can handle it.

When it comes to overburdening the new hires, let’s take Brittany Molina, the owner of Brittany’s Spa Salon, as an example.

She took on two new employees who were too eager. They wanted to take on too much responsibility right away, so they didn’t last very long at the salon.

Thanks to this experience, Molina now insists on between 3 to 12 months of training before letting an employee work independently.

While your training doesn’t have to last a year, you should still make sure it leaves employees with enough time to learn the ropes.

Connect New Hire With the Team

There’s only so much an employee can learn from handbooks.

To help your new hire see how work is really done in your salon, use onboarding as an opportunity to connect them with the rest of the team by establishing a buddy system.

Besides having technical knowledge, your beauticians should also know their way around the salon.

Salon practices on ordering materials, booking customers, handling cancellations, and workplace sanitation are just some of the areas your onboarding should cover.

Rather than shadowing the salon manager only to see how things are done, it would be more beneficial if your new hire got a mentor among the staff.

After all, mentors are those who can transform apprentices into experts.

Source: Instagram

By assigning a mentor or a buddy to the new employee, you enable them to see how your team puts theory into practice. That coworker will also give them insight into any unwritten rules or cultural norms at your salon.

Here are some additional benefits of a buddy system in employee onboarding:

  • makes new hires feel at home
  • provides context
  • boosts productivity
  • improves new employee satisfaction

The effort you put into connecting the new hire with the team during onboarding will undoubtedly pay off later because it’s the team that drives employees to perform well at work.

Source: TINYpulse

As the above graph shows, camaraderie and feeling encouraged are far more significant factors for going the extra mile than money and benefits.

And there’s no better way to inspire camaraderie than by emphasizing the importance of team connection as early as in onboarding.

So, when your new hire arrives, remember to find a way to make them feel they’re part of the team from the start.

Set Them Up for Success From Day One

If you want your new beautician to navigate the work processes smoothly, you have to set them up for success.

Help them by preparing their workstation, as well as providing health and safety instructions, and a welcome pack.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: preparation matters.

No matter how skilled somebody is, starting a new job can be stressful. To make the transition easier for your new employee, you should prepare everything they’ll need in advance.

You can start by setting up their workstation.

First, remove anything that might have been left there from the previous beautician so your new hire can have a fresh start.

Here’s how a nail salon prepared a workstation for the new employee that joined their team:

Source: Instagram

As you can see, the station is clean and the materials are ready for use—the nail technician can focus on their work, not organization.

Next, make sure to provide the new employee with all the manuals they may need.

For instance, email them health and safety instructions, such as this one, to make sure they study them before starting at your salon.

Also, be sure to set up a business email or an employee account for a booking solution your salon uses.

Source: Zoyya

Finally, don’t forget about other little ways to make your new employee feel at home. If your brand promotion strategy includes branded merchandise, consider gifting a swag pack to your new hire.

The welcome pack should include practical items your employees will use, such as uniforms, hoodies, lip balms, water bottles, or pens.

Hold Regular Feedback Meetings

Onboarding without feedback doesn’t allow your new employee to grow as a professional. So, arrange regular meetings to discuss their performance and set future targets and objectives.

Regular staff meetings are an essential part of effective salon staff management.

Whether you use them to review ongoing activities at the salon or define future plans, make sure to include your newest employees as well.

If done right, your weekly or monthly meetings can become an event your team looks forward to.

Source: Instagram

Regular general meetings are great for your team, but dedicated feedback meetings with new employees are even more significant.

You can use them to acknowledge everything the employee does right and to suggest specific areas of improvement for their work.

Even if your new employee's performance is less than stellar, don’t worry. They will probably be glad to improve it as soon as they become aware of the problem.

As much as 92% percent of employees think that negative feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.

This brings us to our main tip for offering feedback.

When you deliver feedback, make sure it’s specific. Tell the employee exactly what they need to improve.

Here’s what we mean by that.

Saying “your cleaning practices could be improved” sounds vague; the employee can’t know exactly what you’re referring to.

But if you say “please don’t forget to disinfect the station immediately after a client leaves,” the employee has an actionable piece of advice they can apply right away.

Remember, your new hire can elevate the service your salon provides only if you tell them how. So make sure to include regular feedback sessions in their onboarding schedule.

That way, you can track their progress and help them develop their skills.

Introduce the New Employee to Your Clients

Once you’re sure you’ve found the right fit for your team, it’s time to introduce them to clients as a final element of onboarding.

This will increase the new employee’s sense of workplace belonging, and your clients will see you’re constantly developing your salon.

The beauty industry is a client-oriented one.

Your entire team has direct contact with clients, so your customers have to be comfortable with your staff members.

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If your clients know who to expect when they visit your salon, they will feel more comfortable, which is why you should introduce any additions to your team to them.

Of course, doing so in person would likely be impractical, but don’t forget that you can also use your website, Instagram or Facebook to let your clients know you’ve expanded your staff.

Social media is useful for more than just reputation management and handling complaints.

When introducing your new employee to the world, make sure to list some details about them or their professional background so the clients can see what the new hire brings to the table.

Take a look at how this salon introduced their new beauty therapist:

Source: Instagram

In addition to specifying her role in the salon, the therapist wrote a few lines about herself and her passions. These details make it easier for clients to relate to the staff.

Clients rarely book appointments without prior research, so consider posting examples of your new hire’s work as well. That way, the clients can see that they can expect a high level of service.

For instance, Bliss Luxury Spa & Salon introduced their new nail technician like this:

Source: Facebook

The salon provided some information on their new nail technician and included a picture of her recent work.

When clients see the proof of the technician’s skills, they’ll feel more comfortable booking an appointment with an employee they hadn’t seen earlier.

Still, remember to leave publicly introducing the employee for the last part of the onboarding process. You want to be sure they will stick around before you make the announcement.

Nevertheless, letting everyone know the team member is now representing your brand has a motivating effect and fosters a sense of belonging.

Conclusion

The key to employee retention is great onboarding, and great onboarding is a result of careful preparation.

Before your new hire comes to work, prepare an onboarding strategy you can rely on and repeat every time you grow your team.

Monitor the new hire’s performance throughout the training process and be strategic in periodically providing feedback.

Don’t forget about the social aspect of onboarding either: you want the new employee to feel like a valued part of the team. A buddy system can help you with that.

As a finishing touch, introduce the employee to your clients on social media. If they’ve successfully made it through the process, they deserve recognition.