21 April 2024

Recruit and Retain Staff – Education Can Hold the Key

6 educational experts give us their advice on how a structed educational programme can help salons to recruit and retain their staff.

Recruit and Retain

Your salon is growing and you need to take on new staff. The first question is ‘where do I find them?’. If you poach from other salons the risk is that, in 6 months’ time, someone else will poach from you. So perhaps the big dilemma is not so much ‘where do I find them’, but ‘how do I keep them’. Education can hold the key.6 educational experts give us their advice on how a structured educational programme is instrumental in helping salons to recruit and retain their staff:

Recruit and Retain
left to right: < Charles Rose < Paul Corbett < Leigh Kerr < Louise Howard < Chris Grimley < Michael Smith

Charles Rose, Crate Cheshire Academy

“Continued in-salon education is essential for young hair professionals. It’s not just about personal development; it’s a collective journey for the entire team. Establishing a structured framework for training days and nights creates excitement and sustained interest. Actively involving team members in the training process transforms it into a collaborative effort, creating a sense of unity. Assigning them responsibilities in training encourages individual exploration, prompting them to delve into new trends and techniques as part of their personal homework. Demonstrating genuine concern for their work and clientele builds a reciprocal care within the team. Embrace education, not only for your team but for yourself too.”

Paul Corbett, Advanced Creative Director for Francesco Hair Salons

“Education is the beating heart of the hairdressing industry. If we are to have any optimism about our business’ future, then we must continue to educate to a consistently high standard. At Francesco Hair Salon we believe that we reap what we sow. By willingly paying forward our knowledge, we gain the trust of our stylists and help to give them a future bigger than they expected.

It helps us to build a family mindset that promotes loyalty, but not at the cost of anyone’s ambition. Sure, some people will take that knowledge with them, but imagine the consequences if you didn’t give your employees a well prepared path of education that excites them and empowers them. The question isn’t “What if you invest in educating somebody and they leave?” but rather “What if you don’t and they stay?” Investing time and money into education is the greatest investment you can make if you wish to build a fulfilled team and a happy clientele.”

Leigh Kerr Academy Director, Rainbow Room International

“Education is my passion, and I’m always looking for new innovative methods to teach my students.  Fundamentally, consistency and structure is the key. Students need structure and a definitive plan, especially with hairdressing having one of the highest rates of neurodiversity of any industry. We are very “hands on, creative, learn lots on the job sector,” but the only way to ensure staff progression and retention is to have clear definitive lessons and consistent teaching methods, with the odd fun task thrown in to break up the training days. 

By having structure, being able to see clear plans, and being part of their own goal setting resulting in trusting us , then retention stays high. This is relevant for any level of student that I educate, from my partnership with Princes Trust delivering Get Started programmes, our level 2 & 3 Modern Apprentices, our Graduate stylist programme and even our qualified stylists all have clear structure and goals for education and promotions.” 

Louise Howard-Long, Director of Architect Hair

“Hairdressing is a creative craft and it’s very hard to fit set industry wide standards to a business which is as fluid, wide ranging and creative as ours. This is why I think it’s advisable for salons to have their own separate structured educational programmes, this not only ensures high standards but distinguishes salons that have a real commitment to the futures of their teams. At Architect we have always had our own separate in-house training structure. This runs alongside and compliments college education but is more intensive and serves the salons needs, requiring a higher level of skills more quickly. This means our assistants have always ended their training with a much higher skill set than many of their contemporaries at college.

We have 2 different providers delivering and administrating our apprenticeships, which has been interesting to say the least. We have found that standards and structures have varied massively. There are huge issues with levels of training in colleges and academies that need addressing by our industry.Many standards within hairdressing qualifications tend to relate to the elements that are easier to quantify such as theory and Health & Safety rather than creative hairdressing skills, which causes an imbalance, it’s so much easier to mark written work than it is to teach a haircut, and it requires less skilled assessors.”

Chris Grimley, Owner, Fusion Hair Co

“Sharing my knowledge with the next generation of hairstylists is super important to me because there’s no point keeping the good stuff for yourself – our industry needs more openness and sharing in order for the standard to stay high and inspire the youngsters, more now than ever. At Fusion Hair Co I’ve created an online platform which my whole team can access through their phones. This has been great because as visual learners if someone needs to see something a few times for it to sink in then they can do so when they like.

My platform covers everything from how to make a hot drink right through to complex colouring techniques and everything in between. I believe this shows the learners that at Fusion we have a strong ethos on learning and progressing and that is something that is a necessary staple in our industry. We create a plan for each individual team member and they work through it completing various levels to achieve the next level in the salon. We achieve this by providing in house education as a team concentrating on any specific needs or we will travel to courses externally depending on what’s required.”

Michael Smith, Director at Tristan Eves 

“Structured education is critical for us. When we opened the salon, our whole premise was wanting to open a Mayfair quality salon in the middle of West Sussex. We knew we wouldn’t be able to get the staff immediately, locally. So initially, when we opened, we encouraged former colleagues from London to come and do a few days with us, but it became evident that we needed to start our own apprenticeship scheme.   We now have four team members who have been through our structured training and stayed with us.

As well as attending college, more importantly, they’ve been trained by us internally. As they go through the training process, they’re encouraged to get their own models in as they progress. It’s more about finding specific models for specific issues they need to cover. Also, our training is wider than just the cutting and colouring. It’s the whole thing, from customer service to being taught how to clean properly. It’s important for us that we take them away to stay in a five-star hotel and experience five-star service, so they get to understand what it’s all about. They’ve not necessarily ever been exposed to that before.“


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