What to do when half your team leaves at once

Running your own salon or spa business can be stressful, especially when it comes to managing. In the early days, I fully admit that I was winging it. I hadn’t managed a team before and I didn’t realise the skill that was needed.

Time and experience has brought me to the realisation that it’s not rocket science. It’s a whole lot simpler than it seems, yet so many struggle.

This blog title may seem scary but I’ve experienced this situation not once but twice before. Ok, I must sound like a terrible person right now, but let me explain. In the early days, I wanted to be liked. Heck, I obviously still like to be liked, but back then I was weaker because of potentially upsetting people.

On reflection, I know I didn’t give the kind of support I give to my team now and I didn’t have my eye on the ball. Back then, I didn’t really know how to. My mistake, both times, was that as the business expanded I wasn’t in as close contact with the team and this meant that if they weren’t happy with anything, I didn’t really know about it.

What to do if several therapists leave

Everyone wants to enjoy their working environment and this clearly wasn’t happening at the time in my business. It was a shame as I’m all about positivity, a happy environment and a team that gets on. But, my gosh did I learn so much about management through those challenges.  

First things first, if a similar thing happens to you, don’t panic. Everything happens for a reason and everything does work out for the best in the end. It is better to move on at that point and find new team members who are keen to work for you and be part of your business going forwards. New energy, fresh passion. 

But, how do you manage your staff to ensure this doesn’t happen and that you have a happy, positive and supportive team? I learned a great deal through this experience and the positive thing is that I now feel I offer my team a good support.

Cockell’s six tips for leading a good team:

  1. Hire for attitude over skill: I always hire therapists on the basis that they have the right attitude and will fit with the rest of the team. It makes a difference to how the whole team functions and ensures the vibe in the business are good.

  1. Regular meetings: One-to-one meetings and team meetings are important. I have regular meetings with my employees once a fortnight. It gives you a chance to go over the figures and KPIs, discuss training needs, see if there are any concerns, and boost motivation and results.

    It also allows you to get to know the team (for example, you’d start to notice if someone isn’t quite themselves), be a good support and together drive the business forwards. Full team meetings then give chance for everyone to catch up and be on the same page. 

  1. Be honest and open: Honesty is important and builds trust. I really appreciate now that I have a team who feel they can come and speak to me if they have a problem professionally or personally. I will always deal with the situation sensitively and help resolve any problems with consideration. But, if a request doesn’t work for the business I’ll be honest, so we can discuss.

    Another thing I’ve learned is that you don’t need to answer a question on the spot. It’s much better to say, “leave it with me”, think things through and get back to someone than to give an immediate answer which you might regret. 

  1. Motivation: Regular incentives are a great way of boosting motivation. Plus, working together on events and so on helps to keep things interesting. Let everyone share their ideas and always take any suggestions into consideration – each team member will then feel a part of the business. Remember to say thank you and share any positive feedback, it goes a long way in giving someone a boost.

  1. Ensure everyone is on the same page: People actually like rules and guidelines. It makes everything feel safe and let’s everyone know where they stand. Without set guidelines, things can feel a bit disorganised and makes it harder to deal with any issues that crop up. Also, it’s important to know where you’re at and what you want. If you don’t know your goal, business ethos and brand values, then no one else will.

  1. Confidence: This is a big one – know that you can do it. Be confident in yourself and your abilities. Ensure you have good support around you and don’t be too worried to speak up to your team. Have strength in your decisions and knowledge. If you struggle with this, then it’s an important quality to work on.

Clare CockellClare Cockell is founder and CEO of The Reef Spa in Maidstone and works as an awards judge for Professional Beauty’s National and Regional awards.

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