The High Cost of Non-Performers in the Salon/Spa

April 22, 2019 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

There is no question that all salon/spa owners want “A” players on their team.

The A players get the job done. They show up, work hard and add value to all that they do for the team, company and your customers. The A players give 100% of their 100%, and sometimes, even more.

Then why is it that owners allow, accept or even tolerate the presence of “B” and “C” on payroll?

The B players show up and do the work, but they give 80% to 85% of their 100% effort, passion and commitment. B players are reliable and do bring value, but require a lot of coaching and guidance to keep them on task and performing to expectations.

And then there are the “C” players. These employees give 70% or less of their 100% effort. Passion and commitment are hit or miss. These are the employees that, no matter how much you coach them, come up far short of expectations.

Yet, C players can be found on the payrolls at almost every salon/spa.

I use the “found on payroll” reference because no matter what the C employee’s rate of pay, you’re paying for 100% performance and only getting 70% or less in return.

FACT: Employee recruitment and retention has gotten tough and will continue to be tough due to lower beauty school enrollment.

REALITY CHECK: Tougher recruitment and retention can push owners to lower expectations and allow C players, better known as “non-performers,” to remain on payroll far too long.

Here are my No-Compromise Leadership thoughts on the high cost of keeping non-performing C players on payroll:

  • It’s an intolerable compromise: Keeping a non-performer on payroll goes against every known aspect of culture building, brand building and growing a salon/spa that’s known for extraordinary customer service and technical skill. Simply put, you can’t win in business with team members that could care less about crossing the finish line.
  • In a service business, your brand is who you pay: You can have the most state-of-the-art, gorgeous salon/spa in existence, but when your primary revenue source is a service, non-performers will tarnish your brand. Your A players can mask some of the inconsistencies of B players. But nothing can mask the “I don’t care” indifference of a C player non-performer. They don’t care. Period. Why have non-performers on your payroll?
  • C players don’t fill gaps: One the basic reasons given for keeping non-performers on payroll is that they “fill gaps.” They fill holes in the schedule where coverage is needed. When a client is served by a non-performer, “hope” becomes the strategy. Maybe that client will love the work and experience. Maybe that client will prebook and return for another service. Maybe that client will purchase some retail products. In the service business, “hope” is not a strategy. That client is the recipient of the non-performer’s 70% of his/her 100% effort. Whatever gaps are filled today, more gaps are created for tomorrow.
  • They turn A players into B players: Your A players are not immune to the drag created by non-performers. Sooner or later, A players get tired of carrying the load for others that don’t even try. FACT: Mixing a few non-performers in with A players is toxic to any culture. The A players will eventually devolve into B players or seek a better opportunity where they can thrive and be part of culture that wants to win.
  • Sometimes “C” players just happen: Not all non-performers are hired. They devolve over time due to life challenges. This is exactly why check-in’s, thorough and regular performance reviews, showing appreciation, and leadership culture building, is vital to an individual’s performance and career growth. Non-engagement by leadership is the number one cause A players become B players, or worse. But when all efforts fail to halt the decline of an A player, it is decision time for leaders. What you are willing to tolerate is directly reflected in your culture and brand.
  • You don’t need non-performers: Non-performers will cost you in every conceivable way possible. They contaminate your culture. Their critical numbers are inexcusable. Their client retention is dismal. They don’t care about retail. They’re late for work and attendance is horrible. Their attitude gets all over everything.

Here’s my challenge to you: Why pay for 100% effort and get 70% or less in return? You don’t need non-performers on payroll.

No Compromise!

Categories: Productivity

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  1. i have a girl who does great work, sassoon academy trained, however she has worked one year and had to go to Pakistan for a family reuinion, i told her that there would be no guarantee her job would be available upon returning. So she went, and i re hired her when she returned. Then after 5 months she had a car accident which took her on a medical leave for 6 months, now she is coming back part time to work into a full time eventually. Now she may have to go to Pakistan to get engaged for 4 weeks in July. Its very on and off. Am i blind to the factswww.salonchezpierre.ca? Also she starts later than others to accommodate day care schedule. Tell me what you see from farter away, as i may be too close to see what is.

    1. Hi Pierre. The first step is to clarify your company’s expectations with this employee with specific focus on what is acceptable time off. You took her back twice and accommodated her her now reduced work schedule. The rest of the employees see this which causes friction in your culture. When an employee’s performance and behavior no longer fit your company and culture, and the expectations have been communicated, it’s time to part ways.


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