How to incentivise staff based on financial performance
In light of the recent Wages Survey, carried out by the newly formed NBF (National Beauty Federation), in partnership with the NHF (National Hairdressers’ Federation) and Professional Beauty, Hellen Ward discusses the importance of incentivising staff based on financial performance
One of the key findings was that qualified beauty therapists are leaving the industry or going self-employed due to low pay. Salon owners, on the other hand, are struggling to retain good staff and are nervous to increase prices in order to cover costs and pay more to staff. Hence, we find ourselves in a vicious circle.
Finding good staff has never been so crucial – or so challenging. The reality is that well-qualified beauty therapists and nail techs are drifting away from a profession that gives them enormous satisfaction (according to the survey) is frankly heartbreaking.
I’ve long believed that a reputation for paying well is a worthy one to have, and performance-related pay is key. Nurturing talent means we must be generous in our commission rates and devise salary structures that help to motivate and inspire our productive, turnover-producing staff to see their columns as a business within a business, so they are always incentivised to perform to the maximum.
Create a structure
Getting optimum turnover is a win-win, and the simplest salary structures – such as a basic wage or commission rate dependent on level of experience, where the employee gets whichever is the greater amount – work brilliantly to ensure the team go out of their way to deliver over and above, and also feel the benefit in their own pocket.
I’m astounded at how many salon owners won’t shell out on good commission rates or create a decent infrastructure that enables therapists to focus on delivering the client experience. Many take a short-sighted approach and refuse to employ receptionists or assistants. A well-trained customer service assistant can be incentivised on upselling appointments (that will easily cover the cost of their wages) and for us, they help with the smooth running of the salon floor and are essential to allow our senior beauty professionals to focus on their clients and perform at their peak.
Everyone working in the beauty industry wants to champion it, but in not paying decent salary packages, aren’t we guilty of perpetuating the myth that we are working in an inferior sector?
I went to an important industry meeting recently where a Government representative started it with a joke about the fact he gets a £9 haircut. I found it immensely disrespectful that a civil servant who is getting paid to champion our apprenticeship system, where we were giving our valuable time freely, started by belittling our jobs. You won’t be surprised that I let him know what I thought of that!
We must all do our bit to ensure we give our industry the kudos it deserves and retain the skilled team members that we work so hard to train and cultivate. It is a simple case of those that do will win and those that don’t will fail.
Hellen Ward is managing director of Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa in London, one of the most profitable independent salons in the UK. She is beauty ambassador for The National Beauty Federation (NBF).