Salons are known for providing an escape from the stresses of daily life, a place where guests can indulge in a little self-care while enjoying the company of stylists and other guests.
The “escape” often stops at the backroom door, and most owners will tell you that backroom gossip is one of the biggest detriments to building a great culture.
Gossip in the salon can take many forms, from harmless chatter to malicious rumors. Some view it as an innocent pastime, but gossip can quickly turn nasty and harmful, damaging relationships and reputations in the process. It creates a negative vibe in the salon and often creates an unhealthy workplace, something that most guests will pick up on. It can lead to guest loss. low morale amongst the team, and staff turnover.
One of the biggest challenges in controlling gossip is that it often occurs behind closed doors. Stylists and other staff members may feel comfortable sharing juicy tidbits about guests or colleagues when they think no one else is listening. This can create an "us vs. them" mentality, where employees are pitted against each other. So, what can salon owners do to combat this problem? Donna Rodrigue, owner of Casa Verde Salon Spa, shares her top five gossip busters below.
1. Set clear expectations.
Salon owners should make it clear from the start that gossip will not be tolerated in their business. This should be included in the employee handbook and discussed during the hiring process and staff meetings. Setting expectations early on helps establish a culture of respect and professionalism that discourages gossip.
2. Lead by example.
Salon owners should model the behavior they want to see in their team. If owners participate in gossip, or allow it to go unchecked, they send a message that the behavior is acceptable. By setting a positive example, owners can model a culture of kindness and integrity that encourages others to do the same.
3. Create a positive work environment.
The salon should be a place where employees feel valued and supported. Owners can create a positive work environment by offering training and development opportunities, recognizing good performance, and fostering open communication. When employees feel happy and fulfilled in their work, they are less likely to engage in gossip.
4. Encourage open communication.
Salon owners should encourage open communication between employees. This means creating a safe space where employees can voice their concerns and opinions without fear of retaliation. By promoting open communication, owners can prevent small issues from turning into big problems that fuel gossip.
5. Address gossip head-on.
When owners hear gossip or rumors, they should address it head-on. This means having a private conversation with the employee involved, explaining why the behavior is unacceptable, and outlining the consequences if it continues. By taking swift action, owners can show that they take gossip seriously and are committed to stopping it to promote a positive work environment.
Gossip among team members poses significant problems, with far-reaching consequences from staff morale to customer satisfaction and the bottom line. However, with clear expectations, positive leadership, a supportive work environment, open communication and a zero-tolerance policy, salon owners can create a culture of professionalism and respect that will benefit everyone. Salon owners should take the proactive steps necessary to eradicate gossip in order to foster a salon environment that is a great place for stylists to work and thrive, as well as a great place for guests to “escape” and enjoy the salon experience.