The ultimate guide to managing and cultivating your dream team

Do you want to build a high performing, engaged and successful team for your salon, spa or clinic? This guide contains everything you need to know for creating the team of your dreams – from leadership, to hiring, to motivating with targets, to training, culture, and so much more.

Learn how to effectively manage and build a successful team for your hair and beauty business

This guide to team management includes the following sections:

Leadership skills for salon, spa and clinic owners

Leadership skills for salon, spa and clinic owners

People don’t leave companies, people leave people. Great leadership is at the helm of every successful business, and it’s your job as the manager or owner of a salon, spa or clinic to set the bar, inspire and motivate your team.

But managing a team can be difficult, particularly as we often don’t receive any formal training on how to be a great manager, so here are five essential skills every manager should have and build upon to be a great leader for their team.

Here are five essential skills you need to cultivate in order to become the best possible leader for your salon, spa or clinic:

Skill 1: Communication

Good communication skills are essential to be successful in almost any role but it’s particularly important when you’re a manager. Make sure you communicate clearly with your team when setting tasks, running meetings and providing feedback, to ensure they’re on the same page and fully understand what you need them to do. The best way to understand this is by asking questions and listening.

Skill 2: Delegation

No matter how skilled you are, there’s only so much one person can do in the hours we have each day. With a team behind you, you can achieve so much more and that’s why it’s so important you delegate effectively!

Successful delegation starts with sharing the big picture with your team. Take them through your strategy or plans as it’ll allow them to see where the work you’re delegating them fits in.

Skill 3: Motivation

A big part of a manager’s role is motivating your team! To truly be successful as a motivator it’s important to understand that different things motivate different people. Your job is to work out what makes every member of your team tick, so you can motivate them effectively.

Skill 4: Development

As a manager a very important part of your role is understanding where each person in your team is at and how you can help develop them. If you can help your team become better at what they do, your team’s performance will increase which will benefit your business overall. So make sure you’re identifying ways of developing your team and providing feedback. 

It’s also important to have regular performance reviews where you discuss their progress, create goals, and help to build a clear career path.

Skill 5: Organisation

It’s your job to organise the chaos by having systems and processes in place, while also offering flexibility when things don’t quite go to plan. Keep a schedule of your commitments and tasks to help keep you in check so you’re using your time efficiently, and cut out what’s unnecessary.  

Find out more about the 5 skills every manager should have to see how your management approach compares, and how you can lead and manage your team more effectively.

Testimonial image_160x160_Ashlee Laura"Empowering your team is all about giving them the tools, responsibilities and accountability to complete their duties. A great manager would never belittle, undermine or bulldoze their team into doing what they wanted. Instead, they would set an example of the work ethic they want to see in their team."

– Ashlee Laura, Salon Coach

Learn more about becoming a great leader

Blog image_How to bring your team on your journey to business success

How to bring your team on your journey to success

Have big goals but don’t know how to get your team on-board? Check out these tips for getting your journey to success.

Blog image_Simplifying the performance management process

Simplifying the performance management process

Before you write off undertaking any kind of performance management process as a lost cause, read this article by HR specialist, Alex Wood.

Blog image_The 5 essential traits of great managers

The 5 essential traits of great managers

Do you have the five essential traits of a great manager? Find out by reading this article by Salon Coach, Ashlee Laura.

Blog image_Does your salon, spa or clinic need a leader?

Does your salon, spa or clinic need a leader?

The difference between strong leadership and effective management is often overlooked. Here's how to be both.

Recruitment and retention tips for salons, spas and clinics

Recruitment and retention

Your team serves your clients, represents your business and helps you to achieve your goals, so hiring, and retaining, the right people is important to the success of your business. 

If you’ve recently had a staff member leave, or you’re finding there’s too much work to go around, you might be looking to add someone new to your team. Hiring a new team member is an exciting opportunity, but if you get it wrong, it can be a source of stress for the future.

Here are our top tips for recruiting, and keeping, the best talent for your salon, spa or clinic.

Start with a hiring strategy

It’s important to start with a hiring strategy where you outline what your needs are. Do you need another stylist or therapist, an apprentice, or a receptionist, for example?

Think of what tasks need doing, whether you’re missing out on business as a result of not having an extra pair of hands, and what the potential benefits are of hiring. Think about the skills and experience you’ll be looking for, your budget and whether you’ll need a full or part time staff member.

Find the right candidates

Once you’re clear about the roles and responsibilities of your staff and who you need to hire, create the job description, advertise the position online, ask for referrals, create a shortlist and interview the top candidates.

Remember that while skills and experience are important, make sure you take inner drive and willingness to learn into account, as well as team fit.

Meet the team before you decide

Organise for your team to meet the top candidates separately to identify who will fit in with your culture the best, as they’re going to be spending a lot of time together so it’s important that they all click or your salon’s culture could suffer.

To learn more about salon recruitment, read our guide: Expanding your salon team: who, when, and how to hire.

Barber cutting client’s hair in barber shop

How to retain great staff

When we have great staff we want to keep them, but how do we ensure we’re retaining our team members? 

There isn’t a single answer to this question. In fact, retaining staff has a wide range of different pieces that fit together to make a staff member feel valued, motivated, challenged and supported. 

To retain staff, we need to be great leaders, communicators and listeners. 

We need to provide them with opportunities to develop, take on more responsibility and pursue their careers, motivate them with goals, targets and incentives, make them feel valued with feedback, gratitude and remuneration. 

We need to ensure we're looking after their well-being by providing them with a safe and supportive workplace with a positive culture – where they can reach their full potential and feel happy to come to work every day. 

The following chapters in this guide cover each of these elements in more depth, so keep reading to learn tips for retaining your team members.

Testimonial image_160x160_alex wood"Your staff will perform better if they’re engaged. This usually involves them doing things they enjoy, developing in areas that interest them and working towards specific goals. The best way to find out about these motivators and put in place actions to address them is through a performance management process, and having regular conversations with your staff."

– Alex Wood, Human Resources Consultant & Founder, Snappy HR

Learn more about staff recruitment and retention

Blog image_Expanding your salon team who, when, and how to hire

Expanding your salon team: who, when, and how to hire

Follow these helpful tips for hiring the best new members of your team – including who to hire, when, and how to find the best person for the job.

Blog image_9 no-nonsense tips for shaping an amazing salon team

9 no-nonsense tips for shaping an amazing salon team

Building your dream team? Salon Coach Kai Schnitzler shares his nine no-nonsense tips for shaping an amazing team for your salon, spa or clinic.

Blog image_How to hold effective team meetings for your salon, spa or clinic

How to hold effective team meetings for your salon, spa or clinic

Find out how to hold effective team meetings for your salon, spa or clinic with tips you can implement right away.

Blog image_5 ways to keep your staff smiling

5 ways to keep your salon staff happy

A happy, motivated team means more profit for your business in the long-term! Here are five ways to keep your staff motivated and happy.

Tips for motivating your salon team

Motivation, targets and incentives

When our team members feel motivated at work, they do their best work. So how can we help to motivate them? 

Motivation can come in many forms and is different for everyone, so it’s important that you understand what motivates your individual team members most so you can tailor your approach.   

Often we feel motivated when we’re working towards a goal and there is an incentive that appeals to us. That’s why setting targets and incentives for reaching those targets can be highly motivating for staff to do their best work every day. 

However, if targets are set too high it can have the opposite effect, so it’s important that you set realistic targets for your team. Here’s how to do it.

Salon owner looking at retail and service targets on phone and laptop

How to set motivating targets for your team

Targets are a key component of a profitable and successful business. They motivate and focus your team to achieve goals that can grow your salon, spa or clinic and drive more revenue.

When choosing which targets to track, you need to understand what your overall business goals are and what areas in your business you want to improve. This will help you to decide which targets to set.

You can set targets for your team as a whole, individual targets for each staff member, or both.  To learn how to set targets for your salon, spa or clinic, read our guide: How to get started with retail and sales targets.

Salon team looking at targets on computer


How to introduce targets to your team

It’s important to be thoughtful about how you introduce targets to your team as your approach will affect how your team feels about their targets, and ultimately how successful they’ll be at meeting them.

Our top tips for introducing targets to your team include:

  1. Choose your timing carefully.
  2. Communicate your ‘why’.
  3. Be realistic.
  4. Upskill your staff.

Read the article, how to introduce targets to your team, to find out more.

Testimonial image_160x160_malcolm gibbons"Team targets should be all inclusive, taking every team member into account. Remember to set realistic targets for your team and expect that as a team they will be able to achieve more than if operating as an individual. Work hard on team cohesiveness and unity – this will stand them in good stead for achievement."

Malcolm Gibbons, Salon Business Coach

Learn more about setting targets for your team

Blog image_How to set targets for your salon, spa or clinic

How to set targets for your salon, spa or clinic

If you’re finding setting targets difficult to get your head around, this short guide to targets will demystify service and retail targets and help you get started!

introducing targets

How to introduce targets to your salon team for rapid growth

Knowing how and where to start with introducing your staff to targets can be really overwhelming. This short guide covers everything you’ll need to know about bringing targets to your team in a way that inspires and encourages them.

motivate your team-1

How to motivate and inspire your team for success

Motivating your team doesn’t need to be difficult. You can take your team a long way and build a great business with the right skills and tools. Here’s how.

Incentivising your team

How incentivising your staff targets will help grow your business

Why should you incentivise your team targets? Because it not only motivates your team to succeed, it also shows how much you value their hard work. Find out more!

training and development for salons, spas and clinics

Training, development and education

Investing in training, so your team is always learning and growing, is incredibly important when it comes to the happiness of your team. Employees who feel they’re supported and achieving in their jobs are more satisfied, happier and, for your business, are more efficient.

Here are some easy ways to increase your focus on training:

Openly discuss training with your team

Ensure you discuss training as part of your regular performance reviews or staff meetings. If you know what they need, it’s easier to determine the training you can provide.

Schedule regular training time

Put time aside for training. Whether you have a product company come in for training, are showing your team how to do something, or have an external trainer visit, putting a regular time aside will motivate you to fill that time with something beneficial for your team.

Encourage your team to train each other

Look at ways to have your staff train each other. Do you have staff who are really good in certain areas? Ask them to share their knowledge and skills during an in-salon training session.

Testimonial image_160x160_Ashlee Laura"High performers require ongoing stimulation. They want to learn, they want to achieve and they want to be the best versions of themselves. Allocate one to three hours, once a week, for the whole team to get together, bond and learn new things. This will not only stimulate their minds, but also allow them to get excited about new services or products, which will increase overall productivity and make the team more likely to reach their targets."

Ashlee Laura, Salon Coach

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5 reasons to train your team

Are you unsure about the benefits of investing in your team’s development? Here are five reasons to regularly train and develop your team, according to Salon Business Coach, Malcolm Gibbons.

1. Productivity

Training will help the team work more effectively, which will help the salon to achieve its long term goals.

2. Culture

Training helps develop a culture of learning and continuous improvement within the salon.

3. Quality

The team will value the added quality they can give to their clients, and clients will love the added quality they receive from well trained, well-informed team members.

4. Image

Ongoing training and development helps in creating a better more professional salon (and industry) image.

5. Profitability

Training leads to improved profitability as your staff become more productive, knowledgeable and produce higher quality work, taking them to a more senior price point.

To find out more, read the full article by Malcolm Gibbons: Five super reasons to train your team.

Testimonial image_160x160_malcolm gibbons“While training isn’t the only answer to a successful business, it’s a very important cog in the wheel. It should be included as part of what you offer as a balanced, team focused business, and in today’s salon world we should very definitely be a people (team) focused business.”

Malcolm Gibbons, Salon Business Coach

Learn more about training your salon team

Blog image_How to create a learning zone in your salon, spa or clinic

How to create a learning zone in your salon, spa or clinic

Is a learning zone what your business needs to help develop your team? Here’s how to create one according to Reena Baumann, Director of Learning at Learning Elements Australia.

Blog image_Five super reasons to train your team

Five super reasons to train your team

Unsure about the benefits of development? Here are five reasons to regularly train and develop your team, according to Salon Business Coach, Malcolm Gibbons.

Wellness and well-being tips for salons, spas and clinics

Wellness and well-being

We spend so much of our lives at work, so it’s no surprise that it can have a huge impact on our health and well-being. Likewise our health and well-being can have a huge impact on our work. 

Everyone will have good days and bad days, but there are things that you can do as an employer to create an environment that supports your staff to bring their best every day. If your staff are happy, they’re better positioned to make your clients happy, and happy clients are great for business!

Here are a few things you can do to positively affect the well-being of your staff:

Promote healthy habits

Healthier staff are generally more motivated at work and are sick less often. Promoting healthy habits, such as healthy eating and exercise habits, can have a positive impact on your team and your business. You could provide free fruit and healthy snacks for your team, start a work netball team, or form a partnership with a local gym to get a discounted rate.

Make sure your staff are taking breaks

When your workplace is a busy, high intensity environment such as a spa, salon or clinic, it can be difficult to make sure that you’re getting enough downtime throughout the day. In the hair and beauty industry, where careless mistakes have the capacity to destroy a business’ reputation, it’s more important than ever to ensure that you and your staff are well-rested and have the focus to do your jobs properly. 

A healthy, productive work culture is important not only for staff retention and efficiency, but also for overall wellness.

Ask ‘are you OK?’

We all have things going on in our personal lives that can affect our mood, performance and well-being at work. It’s important that as managers and leaders we are checking in on our staff, especially if we notice something is ary. Your team should feel comfortable telling you if they need support, and that you provide a safe, non-judgemental and confidential space for them to do so, and help them get the support they need.

Look after yourself first

As a manager and leader of a busy salon, spa or clinic, before you can help others you need to help yourself first. So make sure you practice what you preach. Take breaks, exercise, eat healthy and look after your own mental health and well-being.

Testimonial image_160x160_Ashlee Laura"Your team is a reflection of you. As a salon, spa or clinic owner, it’s important to focus on your own mental well-being. When you’re not on your ‘A’ game, how can you expect your team to be?" 

Ashlee Laura, Salon Coach

Learn more about team wellness and well-being

Blog image_The importance of creating a healthy workplace

The importance of creating a healthy workplace

We spend so much of our lives at work, so it’s no surprise that it can have a huge impact on our health and wellness. Here’s how to create a healthy workplace.

Blog image_8 strategies to create a happier and healthier team

8 strategies to create a happier and healthier team

A happy, healthy team can significantly increase performance, lower costs, reduce employee turnover and boost morale. Here’s how to create a happier, healthier team!

Blog image_Prioritising breaks in a busy salon, spa or clinic

Prioritising breaks in a busy salon, spa or clinic

Are you taking enough breaks? Here are a few ways to make sure that you and your team are getting the breaks you need to perform at your best.

Blog image_Creating work  life balance - Marie Drever and Jay Chapman, The ZING Project

Creating work/life balance - The ZING Project

Wellness is not just about staying healthy, it's also about reaching your full potential and achieving goals. Learn how to achieve work-life balance with Marie Drever and Jay Chapman, The ZING Project.

Tips for improving your salon, spa or clinic’s team culture

Team culture

What type of culture does your salon, spa or clinic have?

Culture eats strategy for breakfast, as Peter Drucker famously said, but how do you actually create a positive, inclusive and inspiring team culture?

Here are five tips to get you started:

Tips for improving your salon, spa or clinic's culture:

  1. A positive culture starts with positive leadership: so set the example.
  2. Be transparent and share your ‘why’ and your values with your team.
  3. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with your team members.
  4. Invest in training your staff regularly to upskill and keep them motivated. 
  5. Encourage a culture of gratitude and positivity through regular praise.
  6. Ensure your workplace is clean and comfortable to work in. 
  7. Organise fun team activities for team bonding. 

For more advice on how to build a positive salon culture, read: 5 tips for improving your salon culture.

Testimonial image_160x160_Ashlee Laura"When your culture is great, you and your staff will feel positive and inspired to do your best work. And when you’re doing your best work, your clients and your business will reap the rewards."

Ashlee Laura, Salon Coach

Testimonial image_160x160_Philippa Middleton"The key to a great business is culture. I strongly believe that the future of our industry will come down to the people that offer the best client and staff experience. I focus on culture as the number one thing in business because that's what keeps the staff and the clients coming back."

– Philippa Middleton, Managing Director of Buoy Salon and Spa, Wellington

Learn more about creating a positive salon culture

Blog image_Five foundations for happiness in your salon workplace

Five foundations for happiness in your salon workplace

There are five key foundations for happiness in a salon workplace, according to Director of ZING Business Coaching, Lisa Conway. Find out what they are.

Blog image_Detox your work relationships

Detox your work relationships

Do you need to detox your team's relationships with each other? Here are eight ways to foster positive relationships in your workplace.

Blog image_Make the most of your one on one meetings

Make the most of your one on one meetings

Meetings can be fun, inspirational, informative, educational, or all of the above, but here’s what to remember when meeting with team members individually.

Blog image_Salon owners Should you socialise with your team?

Salon owners: Should you socialise with your team?

Is it appropriate to socialise with your team? Find out in this article by Lisa Conway, Business Coach and Director of ZING Business Coaching.

Time management tips for salons, spa and clinic owners

Time management

Time management is one of the most important skills you can master in the hair and beauty industry. Finding time to work on your business while working in your business, and also finding time for your personal life, can seem like an impossibility at times, but efficient time management could be the answer.

Here are our top time management tips for salon, spa and clinic owners:

1. Find out where your time is going

Track how you’re spending your time for an entire week to be able to analyse where your time is going. It may surprise you! You’ll be able to identify where you’re wasting time, where you need to offload, and how you can use your time more efficiently.

2. Set your priorities

We all know that when we’re short on time the things that are lowest on our priority list will fall off our to do lists first. Therefore, it's important that you’re prioritising your tasks accordingly. This includes prioritising ‘you’ time, too!

3. Plan your week in advance

Armed with your list of priorities, it’s time to block out your calendar so you know exactly when you’re doing a task and have set aside time for it.

For more expert time management tips, read Time management tips for salon, spa and clinic owners by Kai Schnitzler, ZING Coach.

Testimonial image_160x160_Kai"Time management isn't about being more efficient or squeezing a few extra minutes into your diary here and there. It's about cleaning up your schedule, minimising, prioritising, and working out what’s important – and what’s not."

– Kai Schnitzler, The ZING Project

Learn more about time management

Blog image_Time Management 101 The three elements you need to balance

Time Management 101: The three elements you need to balance

Find out three elements of time that you must nail in order to grow your business and have the lifestyle you deserve.

Blog image_7 ways to be smarter with your time

7 ways to be smarter with your time

Do you often feel like you don’t have enough time? Here are seven strategies to help you become smarter with your time!

Blog image_Time management tips for salon, spa and clinic owners

Time management tips for salon, spa and clinic owners

Use these powerful time management tips from Salon Coach Kai Schnitzler and you’ll find all the time you need.

Blog image_Time management - Marie Drever and Jay Chapman, The ZING Project

Time management tips - The ZING Project

There’s a limited number of hours in the day. Join Jay and Marie to learn how utilise the time you do have and grow your business.


Free e-book: The ultimate guide to time management

In this free guide to time management for busy salon, spa and clinic owners, you’ll learn techniques to ensure you maximise your time including goals, planning, focus and tools.

Download your free guide to learn how to manage your time more effectively with expert tips you can implement right away for immediate results!

Staff management software for salons, spas and clinics

Staff management software for salons, spas and clinics

Your secret weapon when it comes to effective team management is using specialised software to help streamline your processes, set and track targets and commission, and manage your team more easily. 

Robust software that has been created with the hair and beauty industry in mind is a must-have, and here are some of the best software features to help you successfully manage your team, all of which are available using Kitomba Salon and Spa Software.

Timetables and Rotas

Your salon and spa software should enable you to organise your team with timetables and rotas that link to your appointment book so you can specify availability of each team member and easily review and manage staff leave. 

For example, Kitomba’s Time Clock feature allows staff to easily clock in and out each day, accurately records their hours, and updates the information directly to their time sheets. Then you’ll have a record of their clocked in hours as well as their timetabled hours, so you can decide which hours to approve for payroll.

Targets and commission

Motivate your team to achieve results with targets and commission. Kitomba enables you to create targets for each staff member, set weekly and monthly targets, and allow your staff to track their progress on any device. You can also customise commission plans for each staff member, and easily keep track of all the numbers with automated tracking and reporting so you can pay commission with ease.

Robust reporting

When you have a lot of different KPIs and numbers to keep track of, you need software that can automate the collection, tracking and reporting of data as quickly and easily as possible. 

Kitomba provides reports for every aspect of your business so you can always see where you’re at. For example, Kitomba’s Scoreboard shows a snapshot of all your daily numbers and how your team is progressing towards their targets. You can view real-time sales for the day on any device, covering average spend, rebooking rates and client time vs downtime.

Payroll compatibility

It’s important that your software is compatible with your chosen Payroll provider. Kitomba works with most Payroll systems to make paying your team easy. For example, staff time sheets in Kitomba automatically displays timetabled hours and leave, which you can then view, edit and approve, so you have an accurate record ready for payroll.

Security and permissions

Your team members need to be able to have access to client data easily, but you also need to be able to provide different levels of access to different team members for security and peace of mind. Kitomba Security allows you to customise access to suit the different people in your business so you can give everyone the access they need.

Testimonial image_160x160_Philippa Middleton“Kitomba is an essential tool to help you to work on the business side of your business. Without tools like that, you really have no way of keeping a good strong handle and measure on things. it's been invaluable for me as a business owner.”

– Philippa Middleton, Managing Director of Buoy Salon and Spa, Wellington

Want to find out more about Kitomba?

Kitomba has everything you need to run a successful salon, spa or clinic. Book your free demo to find out what Kitomba can do for you!

Learn more about staff management software

Blog image_6 salon software features that will improve your business

6 salon software features that will improve your business

Discover six essential software features that will vastly improve your business by automating admin-heavy tasks, streamlining processes and delighting your clients!

Blog image_The lowdown on free salon software is it really free?

The lowdown on free salon software: is it really free?

Is free salon software actually free? We investigated free salon and spa scheduling systems to find out. Here’s what we found.

Blog image_Tools to help manage your team

Tools to help manage your team

When it comes to managing a team it’s your job to set the bar, inspire, and motivate. Here are tools you can use to help effectively manage your team.

Blog image_New feature Accurately record working hours with Time Clock

Accurately record working hours with Kitomba Time Clock

Find out how to track staff hours with Kitomba Time Clock. It works seamlessly with Time Sheets to provide you with an accurate record of your staff’s hours.


Success stories

For business inspiration from successful salons, spas and clinics, check out our customer success stories!

We interview our customers that are getting exceptional results, and ask them for their tips for other hair and beauty business owners.

Blog image_Customer success story Vivo Chancery Square

Customer success story: Vivo Chancery Square

What makes an award-winning salon? We visited Vivo Chancery Square, winners of New Zealand Hair Salon of the Year at The Industry Awards 2020, to find out. 

Blog image_Customer success_Buoy

Customer success story: Buoy Salon and Spa

Hear what Philippa Middleton, Managing Director of Buoy Salon and Spa in Wellington, New Zealand, has to say about the key to managing a successful salon.

Blog image_Customer success story Dry & Tea

Customer success story: Dry & Tea

We sat down with Tane Tamoana, Creative Lead of Dry & Tea Australia and New Zealand, and spoke about what has made the business model so successful. 

Blog image_Customer success story Pania Ryan Beauty Retreat

Customer success story: Pania Ryan Beauty Retreat

Pania Ryan told us about her multi award-winning salon and what makes it unique and successful, as well as her top tips for salon owners.


Free e-book: How to create your dream team

Creating a motivated, engaged and high performing team is essential to the overall success of your salon, spa or clinic, but how can you actually achieve it?

Download your free guide, Your Dream Team, to learn how to create a high-performing, motivated and engaged team for your salon, spa or clinic, with expert tips you can implement right away for immediate results!

Clients Scoreboard on Tablet