Sure we love our clients and the work we do, but it’s our relationships with coworkers that can make the difference between a so-so work environment and a place we look forward to returning to day after day. NAILS asked readers: What do you do that’s special or unique at your salon to foster team spirit?
Teamwork starts at the top. On a number of occasions, I have helped my technicians clean their stations and assist them with some of their duties so they know that all of us at the spa will do whatever it takes for the greater good of the team and our clients — even if those duties are outside the scope of our responsibilities. I host staff parties and dinners occasionally so my staff members can bond on a personal basis. For example, every Christmas, I host a white elephant gift exchange game and take my team out to dinner. We always have a wonderful time! People are more likely to help others whom they like and share common goals with, so these types of outings enable my staff members to build an emotional connection with one another. ~ ROULA NASSAR, Roula’s Nail Spa, Houston
The family that plays together, stays together! We usually have a BBQ in the summer and a holiday dinner in the winter. Recently, a group of us went to a haunted house together. I would love to be able to all do a cruise together someday, but who would service our clients? ~ RHONDA KIBUK, The Purple Pinkie Nail Salon, Ford City, Pa.
We have a program called “Caught in the Act” where staff members are recognized when they do their job particularly well or go above and beyond. Each of our front desk staff are encouraged to write up coworkers when they witness an act in any of four categories: efficiency, courtesy, safety, and teamwork. For example, using first names when dealing with clients would earn you a ticket. Each of the categories has a symbol and when the staff members receive 10 tickets they get a pin with a picture that matches to wear on their name badge. ~ STACEY WITHERSPOON, Perfect Ten Salon & Talega Day Spa San Clemente, Calif.
The team spirit in my salon is great. We’re a pretty close family that would do just about anything for each other or each other’s clients. If we see someone running behind, we don’t just let them dig themselves deeper and deeper; we help them out with whatever we can. My boss Jill will come in at any hour almost any day of the week to service her customers. We’ve gotten this close through weekly motivational meetings, and bimonthly classes on how to improve ourselves in all aspects. We have contests in our salon to keep things exciting and fun, as well as hair night where we all can just relax and drink a bottle of wine. We have a good team understanding and all get along very well. ~ KALA BASTION, Jillian’s Hairdesign, Princeton, Ill.
We have theme party nights once a month. We decorate the salon a little, turn up the music that matches the theme, and have drinks and snacks that go along with the theme. We see clients during these “parties” and also give away discount coupons for services. It is really not a big effort but everyone really enjoys and looks forward to them. We have a lot of fun planning what future themes will be and coming up with fun drinks or music to go along. ~ CHRISTIE GIBSON, Christie’s Nails, Ocean View, Hawaii
With regard to team-building, I have worked in larger salons and one of the things I enjoyed was having a lunch brought in for a staffer’s birthday. The birthday girl picked the place, then a nice lunch and cake was brought in to celebrate. It was great for everyone to just relax in honor of the birthday that day. Another idea I have used that will work in any size salon is getting clients to vote for the salon in local media contests for the “best of.” My small business (I work alone as a service provider) was voted a second-place position in the suburban Detroit area in 2008 for best manicure and pedicure by clients, family, and friends. We were initially nominated by a client and she told me how the contest worked. I promoted it in the studio and it snowballed into a wonderful promotion that would build any team in a larger salon. Everyone wants to be associated with a winner! These contests can really raise spirits if built into an annual event. Plus the clients like to brag about you and the salon once a title is achieved. ~ KELLEY KILLOP-MARBLE, Opalized Designs Studio Salon, Shelby Township, Mich.
We try to involve the staff in functions that involve teamwork. Our most recent function was the local Oktoberfest Parade. We worked together to make items to hand out to the crowd and on building a float together (I might add, our float won first place out of about 280 entries). Our next team task is to host a local Cut-A-Thon/Polish-A-Thon for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All staff members get involved in different aspects of organizing the function. ~ SONJA DRUMMOND LARKIN, Beauty Reflectionz Hair and Nail Studio, Ottumwa, Iowa
I recently moved locations and am working alone at the moment, but I have always believed that treating your staff as part of your business is one of the most important things to do. To maintain a good moral, I would randomly pick days to order in lunch for everyone. I would put together little gift packages with a thank you note telling them how much they were appreciated. I would leave them on their nail tables to find when they came in in the morning. Last Christmas, I told them that I had something planned and that they were going to be picked up at 5 p.m. and taken somewhere for dinner. I picked them up in a limo and we drove out of town two hours to go to a beautiful restaurant on a lake. They were so surprised and excited. I constantly did little things here and there that were always spontaneous and that kept them excited about working at my salon. It was great fun. People need to feel wanted and appreciated and if they do, they will be loyal and work as a team. ~ CARRIE KOHUCH, About U Salon & Education Centre, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada