Sales is a key component to any thriving retail business, and it’s not an easy skill to master. Every salon relies on its staff to demonstrate this ever-changing skill while working as a team to provide clients with a pleasant experience. When employees are first hired, they absorb information with sponge-like capacity and expectations are fresh in their minds. But with time, it becomes necessary to give feedback on performance and discourage behavior that keeps the team from performing their best.
Delivering any kind of feedback – even positive – can be a very difficult task, and must be handled tactfully. Make sure that you are taking the appropriate steps to confirm that your message is heard loud and clear. The steps below can help steer the conversation away from negativity, and into a helpful coaching relationship with your team:
Make your intentions known. Regardless of the specifics, feedback should always come from a place of genuine concern and kindness. When delivering criticism, it is important to be non-emotional so it is clear that it is nothing personal. The point is to communicate genuine caring for a team member’s performance and make sure they know you want to see them improve. Laying the proper groundwork can set a more positive tone.
Focus on either positive or constructive feedback. Sending mixed messages can be confusing. If you are trying to compliment someone on a job well done and drop in a suggestion, that person may focus in on the criticism and not hear what they were doing right. Likewise, if you are giving someone feedback on what they could be doing better, patting them on the back may trivialize the importance of your criticism.
Keep your comments constructive. When giving criticism, focus on the behavior instead of personal attributes. Specific behaviors and actions can be corrected more easily and are less likely to be taken offensively than if you try to correct a character trait. Take the same approach when giving praise, thus encouraging actions that the rest of your staff can perform. It is unfair to punish or reward someone because of his or her personality.
Avoid information overload. Giving feedback informally and on a regular basis is ideal. This way, employees aren’t sitting through a marathon when it does come time to evaluate their performance. Getting too much criticism at once can be damaging to the ego, and even leads some employees to seek a new place to work. Similarly, too much praise can give staff an over-inflated ego that leads to carelessness.
Open the lines of communication. In order for any type of communication to be effective, it has to be a two-way street. Those who give feedback to others must also invite feedback from them. Especially in a team setting, everyone must feel that they can communicate equally. A good way to invite dialogue is to ask employees what they think of their performance, or what they thought of your critique. Criticism can be hart to hear, but respecting the opinion of your employees and coworkers sets a good example.
Whether you are the salon owner or a member of the staff, everyone can benefit from honest feedback; it creates a team that can grow, adapt and rely on each other. By focusing first on the internal communication in your salon, you can create a strong foundation for all of your sales initiatives in the future.