Salon Spa Business

Professional Beauty Article Sept/Oct

Professional Beauty Article Sept/Oct

By Caroline Nelson

Getting the best out of your Staff Training Program

Simply speaking the aestheticians or therapists you employ can make or break your business. And it’s not only their ability to perform treatment procedures to a high level of proficiency but also their attitude and customer relations skills that affect your business for the good or bad. Your employees are on the frontline of your salon or spa and the impression they make will determine the success of your business.

Because no matter how much time effort or money you invest in promoting your business how customers bond with your staff will determine if and when customers rebook and revisit your facility. So it goes without saying that a team of efficient, happy, enthusiastic and well-trained employees can be the most valuable business asset you can have. And while training can seem a luxury when you are trying to keep your business running, one of the benefits is that employees who are learning and growing tend to stay with a job longer. And we all know the benefits that a long team committed employee will bring to the business.

There is no doubt that staff training can be beneficial to your business. And it should be considered as a great opportunity to up-skill for both you and your team. The most important consideration is to design your training program around desired outcomes therefore the first priority when creating your staff training program is to outline the goals you are hoping to achieve. And while there may be many goals and desired outcomes in goes without saying that most should lean towards increasing service and retail sales. Identifying your training needs is the first step to establishing a relevant and effective plan for your business.

What to do before designing your Staff Training Program

The business needs - start by assessing your businesses current growth needs and how they are meeting your Business Plan objectives. Identify what areas may currently not be meeting these objectives. For example you may identify that your retail sales are not reaching projected goals. This would then imply that you would need to improve employee’s product knowledge in addition to training in communication skills; improved or advanced consultation and analysis; selling skills and even customer service. Training in all these areas might be required to deliver an overall sales improvement that would meet your business objectives.

Assess staff skills and needs – the main reason of an appraisal is to review employee’s performance and potential. It also identifies where any problems exist which in turn can highlight a need for training. Appraisals can benefit both employers and employees by making it easier to identify strengths and weaknesses. It also allows you to identify skills gaps which can be filled by training. And as an employer don’t forget yourself, you may benefit from training in management and leadership.

What does a good aesthetic Training Program contain?

Be very clear on the training goals you wish to achieve. Your staff training and development program can and should include one-on-one and group training. One-on-one is when you undertake to mentor an individual employee. The employee may be a new team member or someone who requires extra training or encouragement. Mentoring these individuals will help them perform better, improve morale and aid them in quickly gaining skills. While many business managers feel their time is too important to devote to an individual employee if you want them to grow and help your business succeed then this level of training will be necessary. And if you can’t provide it yourself use existing experienced employees to support staff at all levels, improving their knowledge or performance in their role, or supporting them as they take on new roles.

Be mindful that mentoring is not simply answering questions it is about promoting a professional relationship that fosters guidance and support during the mentee’s development. It offers huge benefits to the mentee supporting the development of self-confidence as they take on their new role or tasks, increases their ability to handle responsibility and helps them feel part of the team’s success. A good mentor creates open and supportive two-way communications. They provide constructive feedback and advice. And do not give only negative feedback but instead give a balance of praise and constructive feedback on how to improve. They must also support the mentee to make goals specific and realistic with target dates and monitor progress and help them adapt plans when necessary while providing ongoing encouragement.

Group training is when the team go to workshops, seminars or trade events and these are great in developing the team spirit. Or it can be in-salon training. For maximum results you need to have a good mix of both.

Tips for Developing an Effective Training Program

  1. Assess your business gaols and how training will help these to be realized
  2. Complete a needs and skills analysis to determine the real need for training and development
  3. Make sure it will solve the problem or skills development issue
  4. Be sure you are training the right employee for the right position as there is no point taking the time to train an employee who has neither the talent necessary nor the temperament or interest to successfully fill the position
  5. Make sure that the employee/s understand the necessity for training and how the training will positively impact on their job
  6. Make sure the employee is committed to improvement otherwise they will view the training as a waste of time and invalidate the training potential
  7. Design your training to include clearly stated objectives that each employee is fully aware of
  8. And make sure there are measurable objectives (not just a wish list) i.e. you want retail sales to improve and by providing the training and any additional tools necessary you expect a 20% increase in retail sales over the next three months – be very specific with the expected results required
  9. Provide each employee with a schedule of the training times, dates and content. Explain what is expected of the employee during the training session for example if they are attending an off site training they should be required to take detailed notes and hand in a report of what was learnt and how it will help them reach their individual and salon goals
  10. Explain that the learning outcomes of training is the employees responsibility and that you require her to take the training seriously during and after the session and that she must undertake to complete all assignments given and apply the new learning and skills to her job

Be aware that a highly skilled employee will soon become bored and frustrated if they have to constantly sit in on training sessions designed many levels below their skills level. Therefore the more skilled employee’s training needs may be best provided by sending them to out-of-house advanced training courses. This will raise their morale as they learn new information and skills they will feel more valued and will be more likely to stay in the job for longer. On the other hand group staff training might focus on general topics, such as communication skills, treatment procedures, customer service and retail selling. The most important consideration is that the training program is designed to lift the performance of every member of your team regardless of where they fit in the overall staffing structure. Also as often training is provided on the job or in-salon make sure that each training session keeps to a set program and does not become a chat-an-coffee.

Evaluation of the Training Program

Evaluation is another key part of the training program and it is vital important for any changes or improvements that may be necessary of future programs. You need to know what worked well and what may not have. By doing this you will be making sure that the money spent to provide training and the staff time used during training was money well spent. Keep in mind that for training to be a long-term success it must consistently move the business forward and help you meet your Business Plan objectives and make your vision of success a reality.


Caroline Nelson is a beauty industry specific business coach and author of the Ignite Your Beauty Business For $uccess- Salon, Staff Policies Procedures & Systems manual.

To learn more about her step by-step program for salon spa success, and to sign up for her FREE e-Book "3 Top Salon Spa Money Making Secrets", visit: