Everyone knows that barbers often double as unofficial therapists to their clients, but who’s there to listen to them? Barbershop life is busy and putting your clients first is a key factor in success – but to ensure your barbershop is operating at its optimum, you’ve got to check in with your team. (You don’t wait for complete engine failure to decide to change your oil.)
Not sure where to start the process? SESH salon owner Simon Hill has provided his six top tips to help you on the way to having a happier team.
How to Create a Happier Barbershop Team
1. Communication is key
Your barbershop dynamic should allow space for your team to communicate and discuss their emotions. “I believe this leads to quicker resolutions when faced with challenges and also allows your team to collaborate and develop effectively,” Simon says.
All team members should be involved in decision making and allowed the opportunity to share their thoughts. A united front creates a great image for your barbershop, but this image should ring true even behind closed doors.
2. Give back to your team
Investing in your team’s well-being is important and can help improve employee motivation. “Hair professionals tend to work rather long hours with little breaks. I find taking time to centre ourselves and blow off some steam motivates us as a team,” Simon adds.
Team activities can be a great way of implementing this and Simon shared a few ideas: “We worked with Pound exercise class to encourage the team to exercise and release endorphins. We also paired up with local meal prep company 80/20 to provide them with nutritious meals and educate them on the importance of a balanced diet in terms of their wellbeing and health.” A great way to boost morale and encourage a healthier, happier team.
3. Team bonding
To work well together inside the barbershop, it can be beneficial to socialise together outside of work. “This release of energy as a team is a brilliant way to bond and often you will find that you develop strengths that will positively benefit the barbershop whilst at work too,” Simon says.
Remember this doesn’t always have to include alcohol – weekend trips to the zoo or going to a concert together can have the same effect.
4. Tidy space, tidy mind
Clearing clutter and creating a calming space is essential for healthy wellbeing. Simon explains: “Creating a clean and clear space for your team to work from allows them to think clearly and openly. At SESH I opted for a predominantly white interior as this embodies freshness, providing a blank canvas for creativity to flow. The salon is open and provides each team member with ample space to work which I believe is also important.”
This tip doesn’t only apply to the shop floor: “This should translate into your back of house area too, when your staff-only areas are free from clutter and mess, your team are more likely to relax and reflect throughout their breaks.”
5. Digital detox
Most of us are never far from our phones, relying on them for news and entertainment. However, this can be detrimental whilst at work: “I discourage the use of mobile phones on the shop floor for a number of reasons; one benefit of this is the happiness and mindfulness of your team. It’s important to switch off and be present in your breaks, it’s a great time to gather your thoughts,” Simon says.
Checking your phones during working hours also has a negative impact from your client’s perspective too. He concludes: “Encouraging them to interact with other clients during their quiet spells on the other hand is a great tool to create a friendly barbershop atmosphere. Plus, you might find that your team will begin to pick up on smaller jobs around the salon that need tending to,” says Simon.
6. Always be empathetic
“We have a responsibility to support our team members and I believe the only way to do this is to understand their point of view and let them know that you hear them. Often people just need someone to listen to them and to really hear what they are saying. Open lines of communication will help your team members come to you with any issues instead of allowing it to fester and potentially become more dangerous. Ensure that your team know they have your full support and they can access you on a one to one basis to discuss anything at any time.”
Having a happier barbershop team will unlock an endless number of benefits for your business. When you look after your barbershop from within, you’ll shine on the outside and welcome clients in abundance. Don’t wait for disaster to hit to start looking after your team.
We also asked you over on our Instagram to share your own tips for creating a happy barbershop team, and here are some of our favourites…
@ianharrold1: “Say thank you and well done, even for the little things that your team do.”
@diversitystudiobarbers: “Communication, kindness and working as a team to inspire each other rather than impress.”
@r.whitehouse_cuts: “Shared goals, a supportive atmosphere, an ambitious team and clear communication.”
Looking to improve your management and boost motivation within your barbershop team? Check out this advice from Natalie Cresswell, Owner of Cresswell Barber Co., winners of Best Team at the Modern Barber Awards 2022.