The key to a happy salon or barbershop team

Two barbers

A happy, engaged team will feed through into a better client experience, excellent service and a more relaxed, pleasant atmosphere. Happy clients make a successful salon or barbershop business which in turn, makes the team happier.

Our blog post, “Delivering a consistently good client experience” is packed with ideas, advice and tips on ensuring your team delivers excellent service each and every time. Read it here.

With nearly nine out of ten NHF Members revealing that they are happy in their work, we’re looking into what makes a happy salon or barbershop team.

Recruiting the right team for your hair or beauty business

The key to a happy team starts at the recruitment stage. Think about team dynamics and how a stylist, barber or therapist will fit with your existing team. The right team member can help drive your salon team forward, while a poor fit can de-motivate a team and pull it down.

Have you read our blog on “recruiting the best salon team”? It will give you guidance on recruiting the right team for your salon or barbershop business.

Rewarding your salon or barbershop’s team

Saying thank you for a job well done goes a long way in a salon or barbershop environment, especially when it’s busy and the team are rushed off their feet. It will have a great impact on motivation and team morale.

To really show how thankful you are for the work your salon or barbershop team has put into your business, consider incentivising your stylists, barbers and therapists with the following:

  • Offer reductions on salon retail.
  • Give childcare vouchers.
  • Fix an annual salon outing (it doesn’t have to be Christmas when you’re rushed off your feet).
  • Reward with an extra day’s holiday.


You can additionally reward and motivate your team with the help of the NHF. We have partnered with Perkbox so you can invest in your team’s happiness by providing them with access to a whole host of exclusive perks and discounts from the UK’s most popular brands. NHF Members will receive a 50% discount on Perkbox today by visiting Perkbox and completing an online form. A Perkbox representative will then be in touch with further information on how you can start incentivising your team.

Please note that members must reach Perkbox via the above link to access the discount - the discount will not be applied to any sign-ups who have contacted Perkbox directly, or who have signed up through Perkbox’s website.

Hooker and young

NHF Ambassadors Hooker & Young on incentivising their salon's teams

In July 2017, Gary Hooker and Michael Young were announced as the NHF’s first ever ambassadors. The role was created to inspire and motivate our members and will include sharing information with our members on how to succeed in different areas of business.

In the 25 years since starting their phenomenal salon business, the multi-award-winning duo has built a five-salon strong business portfolio with the support of their incredible teams who they’ve poured their heart and soul into.

Here, Hooker & Young share how they incentivise their teams…

  • Understand what makes your team member tick

Gary comments: “When incentivising your team, you need to understand what the positive trigger is for each team member. Some will want to know they are the top of the leader board whilst others are motivated by product, gifts or attending industry events but one thing is certain: that each member of your team will have something different that makes them tick!”

  • Offer your staff the opportunity to work with brands 

Michael comments: “Working with your brands is an effective way to gain incentives for your staff. We’ve had trips to London for photo shoots, session work – even hair festivals in Miami! The hairdressing industry has so much to offer so make sure you’re in touch with what your suppliers can provide and work in partnership with them.”Recognise outstanding achievements 

Gary comments: “Each year we have an Assistant of the Year award based on client feedback and progress throughout the year; we have a wall of praise and winners are rewarded with days off, luxury products and early finishes. This keeps service levels high whilst motivating your team.”

  • Incentivise with commission and reward success 

Michael comments: “On a monthly basis we look at percentage increase per client and reward success with champagne and vouchers whilst our assistants will get commission for treatments sold.”

  • Always praise 

Gary comments: “It’s vital to praise your team when doing things right and find ways to motivate and encourage them. We work on the basis that a team that feels respected and appreciated will always give their very best for you.”

Visit Hooker and Young’s webpage for more information on their role as joint NHF Ambassadors.

Tips from NHF Members on team happiness


According to our recent Member poll, 87% described themselves as being either happy or very happy in their work. So, what is it about hair and beauty that makes it such a happy industry? Here our valued members explain…

Sarah Turnbull runs Sublime Hairdressing in Stirling, she says:

“We work hard to create a relaxed, friendly environment; a lot of clients comment on how nice the atmosphere is. We have a very happy team.
“Hairdressing is a sociable job; we’re chatting and interacting with the clients all day long. Hairdressing is about making people feel good about themselves, feeling happy and that comes through I think within the job.

“The NHF helps immensely – legislation, the contracts, the pension, the guides, the legal advice, HMRC and so on. It is just great to know someone is there who understands your point of view.”

Christine Harvey runs Through the Looking Glass in Sudbury in Suffolk, she says:

“One of the best things about being a hairdresser is that every day you are making people happy. People so often whinge about their work but I feel really lucky to be able to say, “actually my job is fab”.

“It is important to recognise the people who work with you have aims and ambitions of their own. I never tell anyone to do something that I wouldn’t do myself. Even if they’re young, recognise they aren’t children: give them some freedom and responsibility.
“You also have to be proactive and try not to get stuck in a rut; you have to embrace and take on board modern ideas and keep changing and developing. You want your team to feel they are part of something that is growing.”

Pauline Howe runs Strands Hairdressing in Fareham, Hampshire, she says:

“I expect people to treat other team members as they would expect to be treated themselves. I will very happily muck in and sweep the floor or wash up; I may be the owner but I am not above anyone else.

“Education is really important. We are a large team and do a lot of team and individual education. Once a quarter we close the salon to do education and team activities. We’ve been canoeing and shooting and done things like building rafts and we run staff awards.
“The NHF has been a huge support. I know we can pick up the phone and get good advice on almost anything. It means I know the business side is essentially “sorted” and then I can focus on the fun side of things.”

You can read the full team morale and engagement feature in our May-June 2017 issue of salonfocus magazine.

Unhappy salon or barbershop staff

If you have an unhappy member of staff who is underperforming as a result, then you can consider performance management - correct management of people from the outset can pay dividends later. The NHF’s guide will provide you with details on how to plan for good performance management. Members can view our guide free of charge here.

Legal advice from the NHF

No matter how careful you are at recruiting, rewarding and incentivising your team, you will inevitably have staff issues from time to time. If you face a legal situation with your hair, beauty or barber business the NHF can help. NHF Members can call our free legal advice line today.