Let’s just chalk this year up to being…”different”. For a start, our salons have all been closed down by the pandemic at one point, some of us for months on end. We have let staff go; we have put others on JobKeeper. We have seen bookings decline and we’ve watched as other states have been hit by a second wave of Coronavirus, leaving us to wonder if it’s only a matter of time before we flip over our “Sorry, we’re closed” signs once again.

It’s been stressful for salon owners, sure. But imagine for a moment trying to carry on as if nothing is wrong, as a salon employee. They worry about their jobs; whether their hours are going to be cut at best or, at worst, if they’ll be left unemployed. They worry about their safety and health. They’re being forced to love any measures we’ve never seen before, let alone abided by. So is it any wonder they’re feeling less engaged?

Here’s our rundown on how to increase employee engagement in the time of COVID-19.

Be transparent
Yes, there are some elements to your business that don’t concern your employees, but being as transparent as you can, will help them to remain engaged. “Tell them how the business is looking and what your plans are for when government assistance ends,” says HR expert Lisa Daley. “Employees are living in fear of what’s going to happen to their jobs come March next year. I’m not suggesting you assure them that everything will be alright if you’re not sure it will be. But I am suggesting telling them what measures you’re taking to keep the business afloat. Keeping as part of that conversation will aide their engagement.”

Spend time one-on-one
Lock in a time to sit with each of your staff and hear them out. Listen to what they’re concerned with, hat they may be struggling with and come up with a solution together. “Again, don’t offer any magical solutions, but really work out a roadmap to help. Perhaps you discuss them seeking additional employment to help them financially, and agree to work their roster to accommodate this. Or perhaps if they’re suffering emotionally, you can gently suggest a professional they can speak to.”

Reward them
Bonuses may be off the cards right now, but a reward system will go a long way to keeping your staff engaged. “It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune,” says Lisa. “Perhaps the staffer that sells the most products gets an in-salon treatment, or an afternoon off. Keeping a reward system in place will be a massive morale boost and I suggest every salon owner consider it.”

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