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When a Good Worker Goes Bad

“I personally do not believe some hairdressers perform poorly on purpose; they just did not receive proper guidance and education.” – Jon Gonzales

“He seemed like the right choice when I hired him. Now he refuses to be part of my team or follow our salon’s employee handbook and contribute to my salon’s  team culture. He is always the ring leader in negativity, salon gossip, and pettiness.”

Do you fire him? The answer may surprise you.

You probably have faced this challenge at one time or another by one of your hairdressers who knowingly (or unknowingly) spreads negativity throughout the salon or refuses to share your goals and vision.

This type of behavior not only undermines the morale of your other employees, it also threatens your salon’s future growth and profitability, not to mention the stress, worry, and frustration associated with negativity in your own business. Your valuable time could be better utilized by finding and developing top talent or promoting and marketing your salon instead of being a baby sitter. By allowing this type of behavior in your salon, you risk the loss and the respect of your team as their leader, and threaten the growth and business stability of your salon. How can you expect to grow your salon and increase profits when there’s a bad apple in the bunch?

If you’re like many other salon owners, you might think the only way to deal with this person is to fire them.

Before you make that decision, you should first try to redirect this hairdresser into becoming a valuable member of your team. After all, you hired them. You must have seen some positives when you made the decision to add them to your team. I personally do not believe that some hairdressers perform poorly on purpose. Whether it’s personal problems or an unhealthy work environment, it’s up to you, not the bad apples, to improve your hairdresser’s performance and productivity. Here are the steps you should take the next time a hairdresser performs poorly.

Identify the Reason for their Behavior — As leader of your team, it’s up to you to turn a negative worker into a positive one. Make the effort to find out what’s wrong. Could it be a personal problem at home? Are they discouraged because of too much downtime? Did you periodically have one on one evaluations?

Once you identify the problem, clearly state your concern then give them an opportunity to express their views or reasons for their behavior. Listen to their complaints and problems, then you can discuss possible solutions.

Look in the Mirror — Take a good look in the mirror. Did you provide the educational tools to help this person grow during their orientation? Did you provide an employee handbook? Did you monitor their growth by instilling these guidelines during their orientation and training programs? Did you have a probationary period? Did you provide ongoing mentoring and support as their mentor? How can you expect your staff to perform if they don’t know your expectations and how they will be measured? Prevent this problem from occurring again with a carefully planned out Staff Development program. View my chapter on developing your own staff development.Click here

An Open Dialogue —Did you make sure to tell him or her in the beginning of their employment that you invite feedback—that your door is always open? Miscommunication between staff and management is a challenge that can result in turnover.. Be open and honest with your employees about your expectations on their performance. Remember: work as a team!

Explain Your Point of View — As leader of your team, you have a moral obligation to take your team and salon to a higher level. You must create a positive and professional salon environment for everyone. Let them know exactly of your concerns  and how mutually you can both find a solution.

Let Them Know You Care — Successful redirection efforts can only take place if you have an environment of trust, not fear. Sometimes they don’t even know they are not performing to your standards on purpose.

On Going Evaluations — From here on out, make sure to provide one on one evaluations: measuring their performance, productivity,customer referrals, and return rate. Always end your one-on-one evaluation on a positive note, letting this individual know that they are a valuable member of your team, and you need their support.

When All Else Fails…

When all your efforts fail to improve your employee’s performance, then you must make the hard decision to let them go before they influence other team members to drift into poor work habits, negativity, and questioning your leadership. This is an absolute last resort, you will save time and money if you can turn around your own worker instead of letting them go.

If you follow the above guidelines and focus on making an atmosphere of trust, not only will your bad workers turn good, but you’ll create a successful salon where hairdressers will share your vision and goals.


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