How well do you really know your team?

I once heard the phrase, ‘Starbucks are growing their business one cup of coffee at a time’. That’s a great expression that easily translates to the salon world, that we are growing our businesses one client, one haircut, or one staff member at a time.

If you are serious about growing your business you have to be serious about growing your people and you can’t grow them if you don’t really know them. That’s why it’s essential that you have a formal appraisal at least once if not twice a year with everyone on your team.

Developing your own and your team’s abilities is an on-going and never ending process. So having a salon culture of ‘on-going communication’ and ‘regular appraisals’ helps everyone to understand each others motives and aspirations which then creates the most likely environment for mutual success.

So if the concept of 1-1 appraisals is not something that you are used to doing here’s 5 key points to get you started…

1. It can’t be just a chat, it needs structure.

Develop a question and answer appraisal form that gives structure to the discussion. There is no right and wrong questions but avoid questions that could get yes/no answers.

Ask open questions that stimulate thought and discussion for example, I used to ask these questions…

“What have you enjoyed most about your job over the last six months?”

“What have you enjoyed least about your job over the last six months?”

“What skills do you have that you feel aren’t being utilised?”

“What areas do you feel that you need further training in?”

“What professional goals do you have for yourself over the next 6 months?” 

“Where would you like to see yourself in 12 months time?”

Give team members a copy of the appraisal form a week prior to their appraisal and ask them to make notes in advance and to bring it along with them.

2. Give thought to the best time and place to have an appraisal.

Allow plenty of time, I suggest you allow at least an hour minimum for each person. If you have an office then that’s where you should hold them, but if not you need a private and quiet setting.

If you have to have it in a coffee shop at least make sure that you have a quiet spot to ensure that you are free of any distractions from clients or phones etc as this destroys the flow of the discussion.

3. Appraisals should be a positive and motivating experience

All to often employees view appraisals as a negative and think it’s just about them being told off.

Avoid the tendency to focus on reviewing all the negative occurrences over the past six months, I think you are better to deal with them as they happen rather than wait for an appraisal. During appraisals you don’t ignore the negatives but concentrate on the positives, concentrate on the future and give the person you’re talking to something to work for in the coming six months.

4. Listen, I mean really listen!

This is an important opportunity to let people communicate their feelings and ambitions to you, so try not to be so preoccupied with your own agenda that you miss what they are really saying. Remember that it is easy for people to feel intimidated and vulnerable in an appraisal situation so make it easy for them to feel heard and that you really are genuinely interested.

And my fifth point is to remind you that an appraisal is a two way process, so ask them…

5. What can I do to help you achieve your goals?

What resources, what training or financial commitments do you need to make to give your team the support they need to continue growing and reach their goals?

During the appraisal make notes as you go and finish with some clear measurable objectives, and a plan that you are both in agreement with and both committed to turning into reality.

Start every appraisal with a review of the goals and objectives from the previous one and discuss what worked and maybe what didn’t and what you can both learn from it.

Thank you for watching…

Have a great week!​

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