Two Of Your Salon Employees Are Dating: Now What?

Taking A Step Back

Before saying anything further, I don’t want to come across as a love killer. Personally, I actually never minded much if staff dated. I always felt that with a team, no procedures will ever stop feelings to develop. It’s human nature. To me, it very much depends on the situation. For example, is the relationship based on a Casanova playing up with all the new team members, or is it a true love story?

One thing is for sure, creating a procedure for such a situation is not part of my recommendations. Sometimes, procedures don’t stop things from happening, especially when it comes to human emotions.

The potential issue with staff employees dating is the fact that the team dynamics changes. That, to me, is the most important aspect of the situation: how is it affecting the salon/spa/clinic/barbershop?

Salon Employees Dating: The “L.O.V.E” Principals

Personally, I have always applied the following L.O.V.E principals.

(L) Let It Go

It always comes back to you as a manager: you need to know, or realise that something is up. For a while, I’d personally let it be, observe how the team dynamics change, how the team behaves, and how it’s affecting the other salon employees and customers.

(O) Open The Conversation

Once that’s done, I would have an informal chat about the situation, even if it’s not affecting the team or customers. Again, personally, I simply want my staff to be aware that I know and that I’m ok with it, as long as it doesn’t affect my business.

For this reason, this chat should be a one to one meeting as you’re not there to be a babysitter of love. You’re there to be clear about your business intentions. Call it a warning, a friendly chat or whatever it is, but ultimately, it’s important that this conversation takes place. It not only allows you to judge how serious or potentially damaging the situation can become, but it also sets the tone of your views on the whole matter.

(V) Vent If Needed

This, I’ll repeat again and again: communication and clear business intentions are key to ensure smooth operation. It’s important that your team members know they can vent to you if they need. It allows them to stop bottling up what bothers them. My recommendation to you: stay very aware of the people dating, and as soon as you hear someone is unhappy, let them vent and diffuse the situation.

(E) Establish Disciplinary

If a situation comes out of hand, or if there are any sign of troubles, you can create a disciplinary procedure with a first verbal warning. For this to happen, you need to ensure you have notes on conversations that have taken place, but also facts on situations.

In the case that you’re not prepared to create a procedure, your message needs to be clear to everyone. For instance, “I am happy with staff members dating as long as it’s not affecting my business. The minute it does, I will deal with the situation straight away with disciplinary procedures.”

Related | The Ins And Outs Of Writing A Salon/Spa Procedure Manual

Now What?

In all, it very much depends on the situation at hand.

I’ve dealt with a situation where I had to give the salon employees 2 weeks off and put them on different shifts when they stopped dating as they were really upset. I’ve had to use disciplinary measures when 2 staff members were really awful to one another and created a difficult atmosphere. Both of them were on disciplinary very quickly, and one was let go. I also attended a couple of weddings, which in the end makes it all worthwhile…!

It’s important to listen and understand each point of view. It’s also equally important for your team to know that you will not tolerate any erratic behaviour, in which case you will be ruthless with disciplinary when needed.

Going Ahead With Procedures

Some companies have procedures in place and are strict on the matter. No dating allowed. Procedures can help the disciplinary process, as you can reinforce everything quickly. However, it can also create an underlying atmosphere. As soon as something is not allowed, it happens: isn’t that human nature too?

Perhaps I’m more of a romantic than I am led to believe, but as long as it doesn’t affect the business, I am happy to let love blossom around me… What about you?


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co

Judge, Key Note Speaker, Commercial Trainer & Coach for the Spa & Beauty Industry

Become Commercially aware




Spa/Salon Meetings or no Meetings, that is the Question

Salon meetings or no meetings? That is the question. Successful teams are the ones that make time for regular meetings. However, individual or team meetings can be scarce and disjointed. Communication within your salon or spa is one of the most important aspects of a smooth business operation. Let’s look at why they’re important and some of the best practices to implement for 2017.

Avoiding Salon Meetings: The Typical Excuses

1 – Salon meetings are time-consuming

2- The team is established, they know what is happening

3- I send a newsletter to my clients and give it to my team

4- The same people always get praised

5- I don’t know what to talk about

Do any of these excuses ring a bell? And the thing is, I’m sure there are much more out there.


Why Bother Meeting Up?

Reason 1 – Procedures

Sure, meetings are time-consuming. However, they are the best investment you can make to create a winning team. They allow you to iron things out before they get out of control. They are informative, educational, bring everyone together and set standards. But most importantly, meetings allow the team to be aware of your procedures, ensuring no one can come back and say ‘they didn’t know’.

Reason 2 – Motivation

Managers of well-established teams often think they don’t need meetings. However, in this instance, meetings are essential for keeping your team motivated. You can make the meetings fun, innovative and creative. For example, I had a manager in a hair salon who used to take his team for a breakfast meeting every month. They loved it and appreciated their time out. Another manager only did this if the targets were met. Another one had their team salon meetings in their salon with everyone baking a cake for it! Personally, I used to get each team member to present something to the team, whether it be a product they loved or a treatment they were good at. This way everyone felt valued as well as feeling involved in the meeting.

Reason 3 – Updates & Brainstorming

The importance of ensuring your team knows what is happening is crucial for achieving set targets. Most great ideas come from the staff. They are the ones working with the customers and know what they want. Encouraging your team to talk about marketing ideas or new treatments not only gets them involved in your business but in the area in which they have chosen to talk.

Best Practices

Take Your Yearly Diary And Plan Your Meetings

Individual meetings are quarterly

Team meetings are monthly

Even if you go on holiday, team meetings should still take place. There is always time to reschedule individual meetings. These meetings should be planned well in advance, so you have time to prepare and bring a strategy together.

Individual Meetings Are For Setting The Tone

This is where you give your team their required targets, plan their individual journey within your business, talk about training or interests they have. But most importantly, get them to understand and know what you expect from each of them. Your time with them should be no longer than 1 hour, sometimes ½ hr will suffice. This allows them to have a relationship with you and improves communication which ultimately makes everything smoother.

Team Meetings Don’t Have To Be Conducted By You Only

1- Talk about results from the previous month, and any incentives won. If you feel it’s always the same people that win, why not praise someone else for their work. For example, cleanliness of their room, peer support or amazing client reviews. You can easily find alternatives to ensure everyone receives praise at some point.

2- Talk about finances and results for no longer than 1/2hr. Otherwise, it gets boring for everyone. You will be very surprised how much the team expects this and how they love to know whether they achieve their targets or not.

3- Think of educational workshops from outsiders like the brands you hold. Or even get a therapist who has a particular talent in a given area, to talk about that to everyone.

4- Go through your salon’s marketing, results and what is coming up. To keep employees focused, give them information for the month ahead only. And go through the targets or incentives you have set for these activities.

5- Get the team to have their say, get things off their chest, but adopt the Hot Dog Method of communication: positive, negative, positive. Even if it is something that cannot be resolved, finish on a positive note. Explaining why something cannot happen makes them realise your side of the story and sometimes it’s all they need to hear to get on with their jobs.

Be Consistent

If you think you make no impact with these meetings, think again.

They are crucial to the smooth running of the business.  But they need to be consistent – there is nothing worse than sporadic salon meetings. Consistency is easy once you plan ahead. So go on and get that calendar and implement them for 2017!


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co

Key Note Speaker, Commercial Trainer, Judge, Coach & Mentor

Become Commercially aware



Plan your 1st quarter of 2017 - the Dos and Don'ts

The first quarter of any year is the most important for planning. Valerie Delforge outlines the 10 priorities in Q1 that will set your business up for a successful 2017.

The first quarter of the year is when you need to think strategically and focus a lot of your energy on the job of generating more revenue. This isn’t something that can be left until the last minute, it needs planning. It’s very difficult to start the year this way because we’re usually tired in January from the energy the last quarter demanded. However, if you start the year strong and focused, you will set the tone and generate enthusiasm throughout your team.

10 dos and don’ts for Q1

1. Plan ahead 
Do prepare your marketing strategy for the year: be thorough and include your digital communication. A strong marketing strategy is the heart of your business and will bring you new customers as well as keeping your exisiting clientele. 

Don’t leave your business strategy to the last minute: chances are it will not happen and you will not be as efficient as you could have been. Try to work three months in advance and don’t be afraid to delegate where you can.

2. Maximise retail 
Do make it a priority to work on your retail strategy. If you want to retail more, you will. Think of everything you can do to achieve better figures.

Don’t rely only on the brands you use. They offer great support but it is not enough for your retail to come alive and increase your revenue year on year.

3. Invest in training 
Do focus on your yearly training plan. This way you know what you want to happen, the team feel you are putting their development first and you’re able to budget the training from the start. If you work alone, plan training for yourself to increase your revenue. 

Don’t assume the reception team are fine left as they are. They’re the ones having to deal with stress from all angles at the same time as generating cross-selling, up-selling and rebookings. Quarterly training will support them and keep them focused.

4. Get a work-life balance 
Do think of your wellness: time management is the key to creating a balance in whatever you do. Manage your time efficiently by creating a detailed plan of action. Consider time management as your engine and give yourself “me time” to stay sane. 

Don’t procrastinate. We’re usually shattered in January and it can be overwhelming. It is the easiest month to let fly by as so much is happening. By the time you know it, it’s February and you’re still not prepared. Throughout all my years in business I’ve never taken time off in January until all my strategy was finalised. The same goes for my management team.

5. Focus on the people 
Do review your database. This is one of the most important aspects of your Q1. Look at your lapsed customers, incentivise them to come back but if they don’t then cease to give them any more or your time. Look at your clientele and find out what will capture their attention. Why not send a survey? 

Don’t look busy all the time: your team need to feel that they can approach you. Consider an open-door policy at certain times of the day. Be clear as to when you will be in or out of the business as this makes staff feel more secure. 

6. Measure success 
Do monitor the impact of every activity you organise. This way you will know what has worked each year and whether or not to repeat it.

Don’t assume, have a spreadsheet so you can remember. Don’t think you’re alone. The first quarter is usually the most important for delegating, networking or finding a mentor to support you on that journey. It is when you need support most. 

7. Diarise your commitments 
Do plan meetings with your team for the year ahead. Whether they are individual or team meetings they are vital for helping to realise your vision by getting everyone on the same page. If they’re in the diary they will happen. If someone goes on holiday you can reschedule. 

Don’t leave recruitment to the last minute. Give yourself a minimum of one day (and ideally two days) per month for recruitment. Constantly search for that hidden pearl. Keep in touch with colleges. Recruitment is such an issue in our industry that you should be making time for it.

8. Motivate your team 
Do generate a yearly, quarterly and monthly incentive for each individual team member. If they know the prize is within reach, they are more likely to go for it. 

Don’t forget to book your team building-days for the year. They can be costly so book them early and look at alternatives to create a buzz and motivate staff. 

9. Take digital seriously 
Do focus on building your online audience by setting a digital strategy in January. On social media, post daily or stop using the platform. 

Don’t create unrealistic plans for the year. Don’t dwell on what you haven’t achieved but think of what you have. Set no more than two priorities a day so you don’t feel overwhelmed. 

10. Build your brand 
Do understand your brand values by creating a picture board with everything you represent. Get your staff involved; the more visual you are, the more they will buy into your brand. Think about logo, font and images. 

Don’t have too many messages as this kills the original message: think educational, promotional and informative at all times. This can be true for retail, treatments or your brand. The same goes for what you want to tell your team.

It’s important you create your vision for 2017 and make it clear to your team. The more you plan, the more you will succeed. Think of the three Ps: plan, prepare, present. If you adopt this for everything you do, you will feel less overwhelmed and more proactive. You will also communicate better to those around you throughout the year and create a successful 2017.


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co

Key Note Speaker, Commercial Trainer, Judge, Coach & Mentor

Become Commercially aware


Grooming policies in your Spa/Salon

From hairdressers to beauticians or from new to existing businesses, the rules can vary when it comes to grooming policies. Grooming guidelines can become an issue if not addressed properly, and ultimately reflect on your brand. In a way, there is no right or wrong, as it all depends on what you allow within your business. However, there are 5 key elements you should consider to ensure your salon’s image is at its best.


The Branding

It all comes down to the brand image you have, or want to create: Will you be strict? Relaxed? Will you have a particular uniform? Allow your employees to wear what they want? Modern? Old fashioned? Traditional? What colours does your brand represent?

In hairdressing, things are a lot more relaxed, from clothes to tattoos and piercings. A hairdresser has more freedom regarding grooming standards.

In the beauty industry, things tend to be more traditional and slick. It’s tradition to have your hair tied back, display hardly any piercings, and hiding tattoos is more or less the norm. However, over the past few years, there has been a shift in how strict rules have become and as a salon owner, you must be careful not to discriminate who you employ or have employed. It’s all down to the clients you have or want to attract (what will they find acceptable?).

Remember that it is your brand that you are projecting. Small details like tattoos and piercings can make an impact on the customers’ perception of your salon or spa.

Quick Tip | Do you ever look at your team the way your clients do? Get a mystery shopper in and ask them about the uniforms and what they see.


The budget

The budget you set for uniforms can be what defines who wears what. For example, a beauty salon might decide to supply the tops, but not the pants as there is an extra cost to that: “Supply your own black trousers”.

While this method does work for budget purposes, the idea of black trousers is very different for every person and next thing you know, you have leggings, black jeans, etc. So, again, can your brand be represented in such manners?

It’s important that you link the budget you set for uniforms to what your brand wants to give as an image. Make sure you review this budget every year, as uniforms will need changing from time to time. There is nothing worse for your salon or spa than to be represented in dirty uniforms.

The Procedure Behind Grooming Policies

Whether you are a hair or a beauty salon, you must establish your grooming policies.Mention if you are strict, relaxed, don’t mind tattoos, piercings, or don’t want any of that. A simple explanation of what you expect from your staff regarding grooming should be written down in your SOP manual.

Make your employees read your procedure and sign it. You want them to be aware of what is acceptable and what isn’t. For instance, even if you accept tattoos and piercings to a certain extent, think about if you have a limit in mind? What is not acceptable? Your procedure must reflect your thoughts. If you don’t take this simple measure, you are leaving the door opened to everything.

Quick Tip | You can put the grooming guideline as a part of the contract which makes the reinforcement of it a lot easier. And don’t forget to be as specific as possible regarding tattoos and piercings.

If you already have uniforms in your salon, specify how many your staff is entitled to, add in your request for them to be clean and ironed (you will be surprised how this is the most common issue) and what your staff is responsible for when caring for a uniform. For instance, do they have to pay for a new one themselves if they are misusing them?

For those who have managers, you must also have a procedure for them. What do you want your manager to wear and how do you want them to represent your brand? What is acceptable and what isn’t? In all, a simple grooming procedure facilitates the communication and ensures your team meets your standards.


The interview process

The best time to introduce grooming policies is during the interview. To talk about uniforms, tattoos and piercings straight away ensures that potential staff members know what to expect. They will understand the importance you give to your salon’s image and you can consider their understanding as a verbal contract as such.

Ask your applicants if they have something to say about your policy, tell them they will be signing a grooming guideline procedure – make it a big deal. If they don’t agree with your policies, you best know now. If they have a tattoo behind the ear and you want them to put their hair back at all time, discuss your policy on it.

For example, one of the staff issues I’ve had to deal with on behalf of a client, was when someone decided to put contact lenses that made her look like a cat. As a very relaxed hairdresser, she had a point. No one had ever told her anything about staff grooming. Be careful and set limits even if you don’t see the necessity for it.


The follow-up

Whether you have a new business, you’re about to open, or you’ve been opened for 20 years, if your policies aren’t applied, you’re allowing any issue to happen. For example, if the tattoo behind the ear was a no go and you made sure your staff knew during their interview, then you need to make sure your standards are met. I have seen staff (especially in Hotel Spas) where employees can’t start work without first seeing a manager who checks if their overall appearance meets their requirements. Grooming is that important to them.

To once again take the tattoo behind the ear example, if it appears and you have no procedures in place, then you don’t stand much of a chance at getting your employee to hide it. With a procedure, however, you can reinforce it and potentially put that staff member on performance management (after 3 strikes). You can then follow that up with disciplinary actions, if needed.


In all, it’s human nature to defy your boss and try and see how far you can take things! If you are not on it, they won’t be either. Set your expectations straight away, and you will be the one with the upper hand. Remember that staff grooming policies are meant to represent your brand and how your customers perceive it. To ensure your salon’s image is at its best, you must make your grooming policies a priority.


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co

Key Note Speaker, Commercial Trainer, Judge, Coach & Mentor

Become Commercially aware