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Salon & Spa Performance Reviews: Look Beyond the Numbers


The one thing all salon and spa software does is generate massive amounts of data on pretty much everything an employee and the company does.

And when it’s performance review time, many owners print out reams of reports to review with each employee.

I don’t know about you, but going through pages of performance data and pointing out which numbers you like and which need to improve, can be exhausting for owners and employees.

FACT #1: All those performance numbers on all those reports are “outcomes” of an individual’s thinking, behaviors and skills.

FACT #2: Performance numbers will not change unless the individual’s thinking, behaviors and skills change first.

Here are some No-Compromise Leadership strategies to help you look beyond the numbers to help employees achieve their full potential:

  • Save paper: You don’t need to print reams of paper reports to conduct a highly effective performance review. One sheet is all you need that lists the primary critical numbers that reflect the outcomes of an employee’s performance. Productivity rate, pre-book, client retention (first visit and existing), retail recommendations, working within time standards, and any other primary critical numbers that are vital to your salon/spa. These numbers simply provide the basis for where the performance review needs to go to coach the employee. They are not, and must never be, the entire focus of the performance review.

  • “Get this number up” doesn’t work: Telling an employee to improve his or her retail, pre-book, client retention, service revenue, productivity rate and other critical numbers, is NOT what leadership and employee development is all about. It’s like telling an obese person to lose weight. They know they’re overweight and the health risks. But until you help an obese person change his or her thinking, behavior and eating habits, weight loss is not going to happen.

  • THREE areas that produce the right outcomes: Yes, you want performance critical numbers to move in the right direction. But that means your performance review must focus on the following three areas:

  1. Skills Requirements: The numbers won’t happen if the employee is lacking the required skills. So, what are the specific skills the employee must be certified competent in, based on his/her pay range? New talent needs to learn the basics. Senior employees with years of experience need to be certified in more advanced skills. IMPORTANT: Required skills must be defined for both technical and customer service. By defining the required skills in basic to advanced pay levels, you’re establishing both expectations and career paths.

  2. Culture and Teamwork: Culture represents the thinking and behavior of your company. Everyone talks about culture, the actual building of a world-class culture requires extensive leadership focus. So, what are the expected behaviors that your company requires from entry level to the top pay ranges? Do you require employees to support company change initiatives? What are your mentoring requirements? Does this employee actively engage in teamwork or rush to the back room to do nothing? Define your culture and teamwork expectations and make them a focal point during performance reviews.

  3. Individual strengths: What does this employee bring to the table in terms of quality of work, quantity of work, trustworthiness, attendance, customer service skills, ability to complete tasks on time, and more? Yes, you must define the individual strengths expectations by pay range. KEY POINT: An employee’s critical numbers can look pretty good, but lateness, absenteeism, trustworthiness and other key strengths can be seriously lacking. This is where performance reviews and a coaching plan can have major impact on the employee’s growth and critical numbers.

  • Think “25/25/25/25”: During performance reviews, the natural tendency of most owners is apply 90% to 100% of their focus on the numbers. It’s pointless to place so much emphasis on the numbers without addressing the three key areas of skills, culture/teamwork and individual strengths. MUST DO: If you divide performance reviews into four 25% discussion segments, that would make critical numbers only 25% of the focus.

Here’s my challenge for you: Redesign your performance reviews into the four key areas of skills, culture/teamwork, individual strengths and finally, critical numbers.

This approach will push you to focus on the 75% and provide coaching solutions that will improve critical number outcomes.

Remember, critical numbers are an outcome. The drivers are skills, culture/teamwork and individual strengths.


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