Hiring and firing staff is the job we hear most salon owners struggle with.

It’s understandable, you are affecting peoples lives but… it’s a thing you must get right for success. Hiring and firing is a crucial task for a business owner so everyone can thrive and even though it may seem like it, it’s not personal.

Develop your hiring skills and learn to identify an under performer quickly, so they can be on their way to find something or somewhere that suits them better.

Let’s look at some of the things a wrong hire can do for your business

  • Undermine your ethics.
  • Create toxic energy within the team.
  • Lower the standards.
  • Create a culture of accepting underperformance.
  • Drive away customers.
  • Breakdown trust.
  • Drive away performing team members.
  • Break systems and procedures.
  • Drain resources.
  • Cost you time and money.

Basically ruin everything you have worked on to create success. It can be a challenging time identifying and removing the toxic elements, retaining your respect and trust plus put a team back on the right track.

Read our blog about Hiring and Onboarding new team members here.

Defining your culture and values plus having a vision will assist you in the hiring phase. Read the Salon Vision Blog here.

Do you have a team member causing your salon to be unbalanced?

Whether a new hire is not working out or a longstanding team member has shifted in performance you need to deal with this head on

If they have not taken up the challenge to perform better despite your encouragement you may decide that they are just not hungry enough for whats on offer.

We use 3 tests to decide what the problem is.

  • Are they in the wrong seat on the bus?
  • Are they on the wrong bus?
  • Are they even in the right vehicle?

Let’s unpack this a little

Wrong Seat.

Not everyone wants to be a balayage queen, stock controller, team trainer or mens cutter.

Have you given opportunities to your team because you need help with tasks but they just aren’t suited to them?

They might never be a great trainer of the juniors but are excellent at growing and developing a loyal client base. They might love the admin roles but hate doing colour.

It’s up to you to make sure all your team have opportunities to grow in their own lane and reach heights in areas designed to suit them and which suits your business model. As the leader it’s your job to identify their strengths and develop their talents.

But initially the wrong seat on the bus can cause a lot of distress and disharmony. Work with this team member to get them in the right seat. If your business does not have a seat for them though, you need to reframe their expectations, restructure if they are valuable enough to keep and get them in a seat that works for everyone.

Get your copy of the Leadership Skills Tool in the Salon Leadership Library HERE.

Wrong Bus.

Your salon and business framework will not suit everyone.

The procedures are to strict or casual. Your leadership style to loose or controlling. The products not green enough or the back room too formal.

Sharing values and defining a culture that represents your individual salon is important so you get the right people on the bus. We talk about this important hiring detail here.

Interviewing well will hopefully avoid taking someone on who does not share your culture. Work through an exercise on creating a salon vision here.

Wrong Vehicle.

It’s a common thing. Hair dressing is just not for everyone and despite repeated attempts to ‘try’ and a desire to want it, it’s impossible to get someone to perform who just is not motivated and ambitious enough.

They may have come into the hairdressing world for a thousand reasons but the reality is it’s tough work, suited to a special few who can handle the public, creative disciplines, team work and energy required.

It’s a skill to recognise this within someone and the sooner you can relieve them from your business the better.


You can’t want it for them more than they want it for themselves.


This is one of the best things I learnt after trying to teach a longstanding team member to be more ambitious and try to motivate them. However, it was to the detriment of my business and myself.

It just can’t be that way. Use this statement to check in with yourself and see if your efforts to motivate and inspire are wasted. ‘

Who wants this… me or them?

All in or All out!

In an ideal world the person who is no longer a good fit will decide themselves to move on and this can be encouraged by you in a number of ways. You don’t want this phase to drag on as it can be incredibly detrimental.

However, if you follow these processes from day 1 it will be obvious when things are not working out.

Performance Review Indicators.

Set targets and performance goals in a variety of areas so you have measurable, documented evidence to illustrate your concerns.

Set time frames, use graphs, ratings, percentages, feedback. Data is clear and doesn’t lie and it makes it less personal.

Grade the key performance areas that you rate within your business. Give them a rating and written feedback plus a goal to move towards for the next meeting. With struggling staff do this weekly or even daily.

In my salon we have goals for the first 3 months of a new trainees employ that are measured differently from a senior being employed with a clientele. Established seniors have varying targets and performance indicators depending on their status. They are all individual and break away from ‘all suits all’ mentality. When it comes to needing to monitor performance it is very easy to then identify areas of consistent poor performance.

Everything is clear, they can see areas of poor performance and if there is no improvement or a continued slide then it’s pretty obvious to both parties that this is the wrong bus or even the wrong vehicle. The conversation is easy to begin and lets them talk to you about why they think there is an issue.

If it’s a case of the wrong seat you will see areas of excellent performance. Work this through together.

Team Goal Setting Analysis.

I start each new team member with the task of goal setting. Helping them break down priorities over a time frame and how they are going to achieve these goals.

Have a list of questions that they answer for you about their goals. What they want to achieve, where they see themselves and how you can help get them there. Dig deeper than just target based achievements. Who do they want to become within your business, what are their big bold dreams?

If they are not achieving these goals it can easily highlight issues and let them see for themselves the problems.

Salon Values and Culture Alignment.

This is a first stage interview task but if you have not started here introduce it as soon as possible.

Get them to write down their personal and work values and what behaviours they will need to demonstrate to show these values.

Are they aligned with your business?

Are they currently behaving in a way that demonstrates these values within your culture?

If for example they say ‘Loyalty’ is a value and they are back chatting and complaining about you or other team members then they are just paying lip service to something they think you want to hear.

Is ‘Loyalty’ one of your culture values?

Be smart here and see what comes up… what aligns and where they are trying to pull the wool over your eyes or are in denial themselves.

If you identify areas of non alignment and your values are out of sync with this team member then you are not on the same page and they are not a good fit.

In an interview this is an easy candidate to put aside. With a current under performing team member it highlights, obviously, where this is not working for you both and that it’s time to move on.

Your Business relies on you making successful decisions with hiring and firing.

That does not mean that you will never make mistakes… it’s part of the course for every business owner to learn through these situations. Stop, regroup and move through it. Lean into it and let it make you stronger.

Getting the right team, aligned with a culture that helps everyone thrive is the key to happy team and invested customers.

If you want more help with Goal Setting, Performance Analysis let’s chat over an Introduction Strategy Session.

If You Want To Run Your Salon Effectively And Take It To The Next Level…

Join the Salon Leadership Library

You’ll find FREE resources like the Customer Consultation Guide, Money Mindset Cheat Sheet, Profit Calculator and Interview Questions, plus Leadership Skills, Tools and Strategies.

Join HERE.