What to include in your workplace rules
When writing contracts of employment, operational issues don’t need to be included and, more importantly, are likely to change.
This becomes difficult if they are contractual. Instead, have your operational rules in a written format as “workplace rules”, which can be updated.
Salon workplace rules are procedures you expect staff to follow to ensure the salon runs effectively. You should cover them during induction and the employee should sign to say they have read them. Why not issue a copy with the contract? They’re invaluable when a conflict arises because the employee can’t claim not to know. For example, a specific instruction that employees leave their mobile phone in the staff room during working hours is black and white, so no excuse is acceptable.
What to include
Your potential content is endless and some salons cover every minute detail. However, the following examples are a good starting point:
Holidays: How much notice is needed? How many staff can be off at one time? Do you have a cap on the number of consecutive days taken? Do you insist some days are taken during quiet times?
Targets and appraisal: You might cover how and when appraisals are carried out, as well as how and when commission and targets are calculated.
Do you have KPIs (key performance indicators)? When are they set and how is achievement rewarded? Is there a reward for 100% attendance, for example?
Staff benefits: Can staff buy products at a discount and if so, is there a cap and clear consequences if employees sell products on online? I hear cases of this every year.
Can staff have complimentary treatments? In one recent case, a salon owner arrived unexpectedly to find staff – including the manager – giving each other treatments with the phone off the hook. She threatened disciplinary action but what had they done wrong? It’s a classic example of where workplace rules should make your expectations explicit. Should free treatments be at the discretion of the manager? Available only on days off? Limited to one per month? Limited to a monthly cash value? Should staff pay for products used at cost? Should they be extended to staff’s family members?
I’ve dealt with disciplinary cases where staff offered reduced rates for friends and argued that they felt they had some discretion. Whatever you decide, put the terms in your salon rules, indicating they will be reviewed annually.
Operational issues: These include specific instructions regarding patch tests, fire procedures, complaint and cancellation procedures, as well as who can offer a discount or free treatment and in what circumstances.
Dress code and behaviour: The rules might include the uniform provided or the style you want your team to represent. It might cover uniform purchase, replacement, and frequency of issue. Include any dress, appearance and jewellery code.
Treatment rooms: Make it clear who is responsible for ensuring beauty rooms and equipment are kept clean and tidy. Who controls lighting, music and stock?
The staff room: If you provide a staff room, be clear about your expectations. For example, something as specific as “there are facilities for you to heat food but please ensure that food smells do not enter the salon environment”.
Other considerations: Some decide to include issues like health and safety practices, training programmes, and even the salon philosophy. There isn’t a right or wrong way, but a written document is invaluable.
David Wright is a consultant in all aspects of employment practice and law. He is the main employment law consultant for Habia and provides a personalised support service for UK salons.