Getting the best from your staff and ensuring your team is happy and motivated are skills you’ll need to develop as an employer. Managing the performance of your salon or barbershop employees is an important part of business success.

By taking a genuine interest in their professional development you will inspire loyalty and develop a great team that will also keep your clients happy and coming back for more.

This blog post covers:

The probationary period for salon and barbershop staff

Use the probationary period wisely when you take on a new member of staff. Make time for regular performance reviews and offer constructive feedback. Mentoring, monitoring and supporting your staff from day one will make them feel valued and appreciated as part of the team and pay dividends in the long-term.

Take the opportunity to explain that you will continue to meet with them regularly when they are confirmed in post to review their progress and support their continuing professional development. 

Recruiting & Employing People Guide

Find out how to attract, find and keep the right people for your salon or barbershop. Our guide to recruiting and employing staff is available to NHF/NBF Members only. 

Not yet a Member? Join for less than 75p a day.  

Read our blog post to find out what rights your new employee has.

Review staff performance on a regular basis

You can decide how often you should meet with your employees to discuss their performance and plans for the future. But make sure you meet regularly and agree the dates well in advance. Ask them to think about what they would like to discuss at the meeting, for example, any training needs they have or goals they would like to achieve.

Ensure you hold the meeting somewhere private, quiet and comfortable where you won’t be disturbed.

The tone of the meeting should be positive and encouraging. You can begin by praising your employee’s achievements and noting any examples of when they went ‘above and beyond’. Then ask how they think they are doing and if they have any professional development aspirations.

If you want to raise particular issues of concern about their performance, make sure you have concrete examples to share with them. Focus on their performance and don’t make it personal. Emphasise that you are keen to support their continuing professional development, both for their benefit and to ensure the future success of the business.

NHF/NBF Members have access to free apprenticeship agreements, and contract and staff handbook templates which clearly set out what employees can expect in relation to performance at work.

Sign contract

Set performance targets for your salon or barbershop staff

With the new year fast approaching, now is a good time to think about setting performance targets for your salon or barbershop staff. It’s best not to impose your own viewpoint before first asking for your employee’s thoughts, feelings and ideas.

Ask what their long-term goals and ambitions are and if they feel there are any areas where they need extra training. You can then add your own ideas and arrive at a consensus.

Guide to management performance


NHF/NBF Members can download our free guide on managing staff and performance appraisals. The guide includes a ready-to-use performance review form.

Making sure it all adds up

It can be a useful exercise to work out how much profit your employee brings in. You can use salon software to track how well each of your employees performs, including amount earned per customer, rebooking rates, retail sales and client retention rates.

You can then use this specific information to help you set individual targets for your staff. Always be open about the information that your salon software collects so your staff do not feel they are being ‘secretly watched’.

Make sure the targets you set are reasonable and achievable. Identify and offer any extra support or training your employee may need to help them meet the targets.

Find our Trade Members who supply salon software.

Time to switch?

Get staff up to speed with retail sales

The performance targets you set in consultation with your staff should ideally include retail sales. But you may face some resistance if your salon or barbershop team are not confident about retail sales and don’t want to appear ‘pushy’.

Explain that they are not expected to do a ‘hard sell’; their role is to educate and inform, identify a need and fulfil that need. Sales should follow. Staff recommendations can be particularly effective if they select products they use themselves and are genuinely enthusiastic about.

There’s a lot you can do to help your employees become more effective at retail sales. Read our blog post on how to make your staff retail savvy.

Barber management

How to show your appreciation

Always make sure your employees are rewarded for meeting or exceeding their targets. First of all, a ‘thank you’ will go a long way to show you have noticed your employee’s everyday successes and achievements.

You can also:

• Offer discounts on retail products.
• Give extra time off.
• Organise a team outing – which is also great for team morale.
• Hold regular ‘employee of the month’ competitions.
• Remember staff birthdays with a high street gift voucher.

Read our blog post on recognising and rewarding your salon or barbershop team for long-term success.

What if my salon or barbershop employee misses their targets?

If your employee consistently misses their targets and underperforms you will need to sit down with them and discuss the situation. Always bear in mind that there may be underlying personal or workplace issues that may be affecting their performance, so don’t be critical or negative. Explain that you want them to be happy and productive and that you’re sure they could make a great contribution to the team. Explore various issues that may be affecting their performance and give them lots of opportunities to have their say.

You will also need to ask yourself if you could be doing more. Have you given your employee clear goals and do they know what is expected of them? Have you rewarded their past efforts and achievements? Do you provide all the training they need to do their job well?

Find out how to support a stressed employee and what to do if a member of your staff is being bullied in your salon or barbershop. 

Guide to absence management

Our expert guide to absence management is available free to NHF/NBF Members.


When things don’t work out

In some cases, it may be necessary to start formal performance management proceedings if insufficient improvements are achieved following your initial informal discussions.

 NHF/NBF Members can talk to our free HR helpline before taking action. Find out more about legal support for:

(Terms & conditions apply.)

Dealing with conflicts between staff

Your team will inevitably have disagreements and quarrels from time to time. In most cases these will blow over so it's important not to overreact. Try having a quiet word with everyone who is involved in the incident and aim to sort things out as quickly and fairly as possible. 

Sometimes, however, incidents can become more serious and involve abusive or threatening behaviour.  In such cases, disciplinary proceedings or even dismissal may be necessary. NHF/NBF Members should always take immediate advice from our legal helpline (see above) before taking any action. 

NHF/NBF performance management workshops

We hold regular workshops on good management practice and how get the best from your team, including setting targets, monitoring performance and carrying out appraisals and performance reviews more effectively. Find out more or call 01234 831965.


• Carry out initial performance reviews during the probationary period.
• Hold regular performance review meetings with each of your employees.
• Go somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed.
• Be positive and encouraging and allow your employee to have their say.
• Set mutually agreed targets.
• Arrange any training and support necessary to help your employee meet their targets.
• Use information provided by salon software to set specific targets such as retail sales or client retention.
• Offer training and support to help employees increase their retail sales.
• Recognise and reward your employees’ successes.
• Support employees who don’t hit their targets.
• Always get legal advice before taking any disciplinary action.


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