By Caroline Nelson

If your team can’t meet productivity and retail targets and you are fed up with their lack of performance you need to urgently address this issue. Otherwise, your salon growth and profits will be seriously diminished. Your job, as the manager and leader of your team, is to get your group of professional therapists to work together to achieve both salon and their own individual treatment productivity and retail goals. Building a high-performance team of professionals is your job. The problem is that many salon and spa owners are not aware of how to benchmark using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and therefore they are not too sure if their team is performing well or not. They just know that profits are not what they expected to achieve.

If you want to get consistent high profit results from your team you need to start managing their performance, and it’s not as difficult as you may think. People performance management is as much about the leader’s attitude as it is about the employee’s. Therefore, managers need to be consistent, insistent and persistent. And there lies the reason most salon owners do not get results. If I could have a dollar for every time a salon owner tells me that their employees do not take and follow direction, guidelines and policies, I would be a very rich lady. Take control of your business back from your employees and start managing it to success and high profit. Set the policies and standards, be consistent, insistent and persistent – and have an “accept no excuses” attitude.

Key Performance Indicators
KPIs will help your business to define and measure progress towards goals. KPIs help you measure the goals and give a guide or road map of how to achieve them. The acronym of SMART should be applied for effective KPIs and goal achievement:
Specific – explain clearly exactly what must be done in terms of performance to be “successful”.
Measurable – by date, number, dollar value, percentage or as in behaviour based on some way that can be observed and documented. These measurements will also enable the manager to provide employees with feedback on their standards of performance.
Agreed to – it is essential that employees clearly understand the KPIs and that they have the same meaning to both parties. Both management and employee must also agree to support each other towards the agreed goals.
Realistic – the employee must have a degree of control over achievement of the goal. There must be sufficient training, marketing and promotion and supplies to be able to complete the task or achieve the goal up to the level of expected standard. Set the goals that will stretch your team members (but will not break them). If you set overly ambitious productivity or retail goals the employee will see the goal post as too high and be doomed to failure therefore they will lose motivation to even try.
Timely – to be effective, goals must have a timeframe and timelines for achievement. For example, if you want the entire salon goal to be achieving a 25 per cent increase on retail sales within a three-month period break it down into bite-sized pieces. This might mean giving each team member the goal of retailing an extra $50 per day or on average just one more retail product per day. Keeping track of progress is vitally important and in the case of someone not achieving their daily goal increase, they must be coached in ways to help them make up the sale. This gets back to the “consistent, insistent and persistent” approach needed by the manager in moving the team forward to achieve the goal or goals.

So, now that you have some understanding of what KPIs are, just how will they work to improve performance to get consistent high profit results from your team? First, you need to decide what the goals might be and how achievement of these goals will positively affect you, your business and your team in job satisfaction and financial reward. Some of the ways most salons would benefit is to develop KPIs in the following performance increases:

1. Client satisfaction
2. Hourly treatment productivity
3. Treatment series sales
4. Retail sales
5. Re-booking rates
6. Referral rates
7. Up-selling and cross-selling.

These are just a few areas that benefit. Getting the best out of your team will mean that you have to put the time and effort into coaching them to improve their performance and standards. Just putting the KPIs into place alone will not be enough to ensure consistent results. The first area to address is standards.

High standards through the code of conduct
Since competency only has become the norm in the aesthetics industry, standards have fallen. I for one would not like to have an aesthetician or therapist with only a competency standard perform a treatment on me. Unfortunately, many graduates only have this level, so it goes without saying that as a salon owner you will be expected to further their training and education in many cases before you let them loose on your customers. If you want to build your business into profit then you will need to set standards that must be upheld by the entire team. Adherence to a code of standards should be encapsulated in your salon staff policies manual. This code of standards is a “no excuses” code.
The code of conduct should require adherence to policies and procedures and describe the appropriate interaction between your employees, customers and one another. Behaviours which go against the code of conduct within your salon often have a negative impact on customer perceptions and on staff morale. Under no circumstances should they be tolerated. While standard of performance is used to measure the individual’s work role, it also includes such things as personal, team and customer safety and work attendance. And it will directly relate to both the individual’s work role and the achievement of all salon goals. As the manager, you must set targets and follow up with feedback and coaching when targets are not reached or standards are breached.

Professional development
The beauty industry, like many others, is facing issues that have never been experienced to such a level before, notable in one key area: skills shortage. With unemployment at its lowest level in more than 30 years, and beauty colleges unable to pump out graduates fast enough, many salon owners are finding it difficult to find quality qualified staff. This means that every beauty business must invest in developing the talent they have. Ongoing training for your team is imperative if you are to not only retain good people but also if you wish to retain a competitive edge. If you don’t already have a staff training program, make sure it becomes part of the way you do business.

Reaching targets
Reaching targets is a team effort for both you and your therapists. As previously mentioned, if you expect your team to reach targets and remain consistent high performers you must support them in this endeavour. Once you have clear and practical treatment and retail sales targets, you need to do a gap analysis. That is, look at the difference between what you want and what you have got to determine what changes may be required to achieve these sales targets. Perhaps you need better marketing to generate more new clients, or new services, products or additional training to help lift sales. Don’t just expect your employees to keep building their customer base without your help.

In addition to setting targets on the actual or expected skills of the individual remember, for example, a trainee or recent graduate should not be expected to achieve the same level of productivity or retail sales as an experienced therapist. While their targets may be lower, they are still expected to reach their individual targets.

Make sure each employee is aware of their own accountability in relation to reaching targets. Nobody ever achieved sales growth by just twiddling their thumbs, so clearly specify just what types of activities you want to see; more focus on the client skincare solution recommendations, making sure every client gets a prescription, making re-booking part of the service, increasing in-salon promotion, follow-up phone calls. Your aim in implementing KPIs is to give your team a structure to work within, to help them manage their own activities that will generate additional sales.

Teams develop around a common goal. They only truly work well with a combined effort on the part of all the participants. Good teamwork is composed of a group of people that work towards achieving common goals through supporting each other. Not by pursuing their own agendas whilst paying lip service to the goal. So, if everyone puts the required effort in then it stands to reason that performance and consistency will improve which, in turn, should lead to higher profits.

Contact Caroline on (07) 55 289 440 or 0410 600 440. Visit www.nelsonbeautybusinessmanagement.com