25 Salon Staff Motivation Ideas to Increase Their Performance

In the fast-paced and dynamic beauty industry, it can be hard to come up with new salon staff incentive ideas. It’s important to build a teamwork and communication-centered culture to learn what motivates your staff, and then act as an example for them to follow.

Sometimes, it can seem easy to accept the status quo. After all, your salon is already doing well, right? Keeping your staff members (and yourself) motivated to excel and continually reach their next level is an ongoing challenge. You can’t simply announce and motivate your type of salon magically.

Let’s take a look at some ways that you can motivate your salon staff while also building a great workplace culture that helps everyone feel valued.

What You Will Learn

We’ll take a look at what motivates employees, what motivational tools you have access to as a salon owner, and some key tips to help you on your journey.

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  1. What is Staff Motivation?
  2. Why Is Motivating Your Salon Staff Important?
  3. What Are the Key Motivation Factors For Salon Employees?
  4. 25 Salon Staff Motivation Ideas
  5. Conclusion

What is Staff Motivation?


Employee motivation is a big deal. If your team members are highly motivated, they will bring more creativity, energy, and overall commitment to their work. It’s a measure of how effective your workplace culture is.

Motivated employees will work better as a team, feel loyal to your salon or company, and “go the extra mile” to give clients that great experience. As salon owners, it’s your job to find ways to help your staff feel motivated: you can use incentives to reward them for a job well done or empower them through responsibilities, training, and education.

Why Is Motivating Your Salon Staff Important?


As a salon owner, you already know that your skilled stylists are your most valuable assets. They’re the ones that clients spend the most time with, and who they’re most likely to remember, after a visit.

As such, they play a key role in salon client retention, loyalty, business growth, and the salon’s overall success. It’s important to find ways to motivate salon staff and keep them excited.

It’s a good idea to focus on morale and team building, while still giving employees enough room for individual career growth and training opportunities. Some healthy competition is okay, too… as long as it helps to motivate your staff and is focused ultimately on team building.

Along the way, you may encounter roadblocks such as resistance to cross-training or staff rotations but, if you as the salon manager work hard and model the behaviors that you want to see in your employees (such as a positive attitude, respect for others, and pride in your work), you’ll find that it’s a great way to effectively create the workplace environment and culture that you need.

Motivating your salon staff can be challenging, but it’s not as hard as it sounds. Just encourage them to support each other, give meaningful and constructive coaching, and use rewards and development opportunities to help inspire them.

What Are the Key Motivation Factors For Salon Employees?


Salon staff motivation

Salon Staff Motivation

Like many things in a salon, communication is key. Before you create any reward or benefits plan, you’ll need to figure out what motivates your team. The best way to do this is simply to talk to them.

Hold meetings, both as a team and with each employee individually. Review their performance, discuss their future career goals and get to know them better.

Employee recognition and education or development opportunities can do a lot towards managing job satisfaction. Acknowledge their ambitions and what your salon staff wants to do in the future. Then, help each employee to pursue their passion.

Creating a workplace where everyone feels included and valued is important, too. This means being aware of diversity and inclusivity and actively taking the lead when it comes to listening to your salon’s staff and encouraging them to be themselves.

Remember, if employees aren’t satisfied with their work environment, the management or career prospects, they’re likely to go job hunting.

25 Salon Staff Motivation Ideas


25 salon staff motivation ideas
25 Salon Staff Motivation Ideas

Implement an Effective Salon Recruitment Process

This can make a huge difference. If you regularly recruit employees who don’t seem satisfied or “just aren’t a good fit”, then this is your first clue as to a manager that something’s amiss.

Invest in recruiting employees who have the personality and behavior to fit your salon, not just good skills, and experience, etc. Make sure to take your time during in-person interviews, and consider bringing other team members in on the process, and asking them to comment later.

Create Team Culture

Encourage employees to help each other and recognize it when they do. Schedule time during meetings where they could bond as a team through different activities- you can even set up small competitions with creative “prizes” or incentives, such as an extra few hours off at the end of the week, a free lunch at a nearby cafe, etc.

Develop a Fair and Motivating Salon Commission Scheme

Commissions can either be “across the board” and standardized for all hair salon employees, or they can be incentives that increase with the services or retail products sold.

A good way to motivate your staff is to set up tiered commissions, along with “team bonuses.” For example, you could offer a standard commission for retail and service, then raise the percentage after they hit a certain target- perhaps 5% commission after they achieve the minimum (cover the cost of their salary), then 10% after they go $1000 over this.

You could also pay out a commission “boost” to the whole team during months where everyone hits their targets. This will encourage both teamwork and friendly competition.

Implement a Bonus Scheme

Make sure that your bonus scheme is easy for everyone to understand and rewards both the junior staff as well as experienced salon employees.

You can set incentives for referrals, track a “point system” for stylists when a client posts positive reviews, and generate interest by offering rewards that are flexible- maybe some employees want extra vacation time to spend with their families, while others want free services or a simple cash bonus.

Salon staff meeting ideas are a great way to determine what bonuses they actually want and gather suggestions.

Say ‘Thank You’

Say it often, say it well and most importantly, say it publicly. Take the lead on offering positive feedback and showing your appreciation. This is one of the most important tips but is easy to overlook.

As a hair salon owner, it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day activities of running your business. Simply saying thank you for a great attitude, good customer service, or a job well done is one of the most effective ways to motivate your salon staff.

Use Customer Feedback

Some of the very best motivation will come from client satisfaction surveys and comments. If a customer makes a post about the salon or an employee, share it. Survey clients across different categories, and show your team where they did well.

Focus on the Why

Have you ever heard the expression “Because I said so?” Well, take it right out of your vocabulary. If you want something done a certain way, educate your team about why it will work well.

If you have proof or industry standards, share these. Simply issuing orders is an excellent way to “de-motivate” your team, rather than getting them on board.

Praise and Recognize Publically

Managing a hair salon means recognizing your team’s achievements. Unless they ask you not to, make sure to do this publicly. Take time during meetings to recognize, thank and reward people. You can also take a moment at the end of the day to thank an employee for their success or a job well done.

Criticize On the Side

Nobody likes to feel humiliated or singled out for their mistakes. If you have constructive criticism (make sure it’s constructive), or want to discuss someone’s poor performance, make sure to do it in private and face-to-face.

First of all, they’ll be more likely to listen and not get defensive. Secondly, this gives you the chance to have a conversation and come up with an improvement plan together.

25 salon staff motivation ideas
25 Salon Staff Motivation Ideas

Show That You Trust Your Team

Delegate responsibilities and give them opportunities for career development. This will inspire them to try their best and challenge themselves. As the owner, it’s your job to help empower them. Who knows? It might even help you to get more done.

Offer Professional Training

Management can encourage employees to develop their skills and expand their service repertoire. This is one of the best ways to motivate a salon's staff. After all, they chose to work in a creative and dynamic field. Many skilled stylists look for new challenges when they get bored or stagnate at their current jobs.

Provide new training for salon staff and incentivize them to take classes.

Be a Leader, Mentor, Inspire

If you want people to perform at a certain level, don’t just tell them- show them. By living your company’s values and setting yourself up as an example, you’ll motivate everyone else to do the same.

Enforce salon rules for employees fairly with no “favorites”. Treat each client the way that you want others to treat them and make sure to push yourself to grow your own potential. This will help staff live up to your salon's expectations.

Provide a Stable Business Environment

Stay on top of things like scheduling, payroll, and marketing. Keep regular hours and make sure that maintenance or repairs get scheduled promptly. It’s easier for everyone to take pride in a stable and well-run workplace.

Delegate Responsibilities, Put Trust in Your Staff

Share the load and cross-train your staff. When you share responsibilities, you show that you trust them and believe in them. This is important and will give people the chance to shine.

Everyone likes to feel like their boss understands their worth and values their contribution.

Show Everyone on Staff Respect

Whether they’re your top stylist or a part-time cleaner, respect is important.Take time to acknowledge their hard work, thank them when they do something well and never- I mean never- tolerate rudeness and workplace bullying.

Salon etiquette for staff means that it’s vital to respect everyone’s contribution to the business.

Appreciate Your Staff and Show Gratitude

You can do this at regular meetings, by creating an “employee of the week” program, or just by saying a simple “thank you” after someone delivers exceptional service. The point is that the appreciation should be sincere and that you need to take time to celebrate your wonderful coworkers.

Evaluate on a Regular Basis

Don’t announce or post this for all to see. Be careful to give evaluations on a one-on-one basis. This not only saves people from embarrassment or feeling defensive, it also opens the door for some constructive conversations.

If there’s a problem impacting someone’s productivity, such as a salon issue, personal problem, or a challenging client, it’s important that you hear about it.

Offer Perks

These can be small things such as product discounts, salon-affiliated services, or special “friends and family” rates, but they can also include benefits like company dinners, workplace outings, or other things that make your salon a desirable spot to work.

25 salon staff motivation ideas
25 Salon Staff Motivation Ideas

Team Competitions

When you plan these, think “fun”. What are some ways that you can spur some friendly competition between your stylists? Salon staff management is often about finding creative ways to motivate people.

Try having weekly or monthly competitions, organize people into different “teams” and offer perks to those who hit different targets together.

Organize Salon Staff Events

These are also a great way to encourage team bonding and let everyone get to know each other in a less rushed, relaxed environment. Consider planning a weekend getaway or a dinner event. People who are friends with their coworkers are much less likely to leave, after all.

Listen and Be Open to Suggestions

When it comes to daily operations and the problems of running a salon, who knows better than the people on the front lines? By listening to their suggestions, you create an atmosphere of open dialogue and respect.

You’ll also gain some valuable (and free) business improvement tips. Consider adding a “suggestion box” in the break room, too.

Offer a Career Path

Many people leave their current job because they think they’ve reached the end of what that job can offer them. If you offer mentorship opportunities, understand people’s career goals, and help them find the education and training opportunities to get there, you’ll retain happier and more motivated talent.

Social Benefits

Offer different chances to network and meet with other professionals in the beauty industry. Try to find conventions or events in your area, and become a visible presence. It helps to feel like part of a wider, creative community.

Provide the Best Equipment

This will make your salon an exciting, appealing, and cutting-edge place to work. Investing in quality equipment will also impress clients and make stylists’ jobs easier.

Introduce a Staff Survey and Act on It

It makes a big difference to feel heard. Have a variety of categories in your survey that people can evaluate. Try to do this at least once or twice a year. You may be surprised by the results.

All of these suggestions should help. Remember, your ultimate goal is to deliver excellent customer experiences. Tailor your ideas towards what helps your salon to do this, and everyone will be happy.



Money is nice, but it’s rarely the only thing that people need to be happy in their jobs. If you create a great work environment, you’ll see team performance skyrocket. Employees and clients will feel more satisfied and salon owners will see the profits.

Try out different salon staff motivation ideas and see what works best for you. Don’t get discouraged if you need to experiment a bit. Motivated staff will feel more satisfaction and joy in their work, and everyone-clients included, will pick up on this. Remember, if you lead by example and stay at the top of your own game, your team will follow.


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