HR 101: Creating a Structure for Accountability
It’s that time of year again…time for the dreaded performance evaluations. Wouldn’t you love to be able to look forward to giving your employees their reviews? Well—with a few changes in your leadership style you may not have to sweat giving annual reviews anymore. It all starts with you.
Imagine a staff that was completely accountable for all of their actions in the salon. A staff that does not relate to you as a “bad guy” and you feel comfortable addressing any issue with any staff member without fear of rebellion and resentment. Creating a structure in your salon that outlines your expectations, is applied consistently and is always followed through on will alleviate this constant complaint in your salon. Creating a solid accountability structure is good for the salon, good for your employees and will prove to be a lifesaver for you!
One of the most important structures that are essential for creating accountability in a salon is the employee handbook. If you don’t have an employee handbook, you must create one.
The handbook outlines your exact expectations of your salon, your employees and is a reflection of your values the vision and the mission of your salon. The handbook should speak to the culture you wish to create in your company. For example, if you, as an owner, are committed to having a salon that has employees with balanced lives, your handbook should address the number of hours a stylist is permitted to work during a week. Some other topics commonly addressed in an employee handbook are: dress code, attendance policy, staff responsibilities above and beyond cutting hair, and drug and alcohol polices. The handbook should cover your beliefs on staff “moonlighting” or servicing clients outside of the salon. It should be completely thorough as to address any concern employees may have about a working environment. All of your employees should know the content of the handbook. If you currently have a handbook in place it may be time to reintroduced to your staff and declare its importance. Have a meeting that is specifically regarding the contents of the handbook. Employees should sign off and acknowledge that they are responsible to adhering to the contents of the book. If employees don’t know the rules, they cannot be held responsible if they break them.
The next important structure that fosters accountability is consistency. Once your staff knows your expectations you need to be responsible for enforcing them the same way every time. Consistently addressing issues that arise with your staff is a major contributor to accountability. Consistently holding yourself to the same accountability that you hold your staff is essential. Staff also needs to be aware of the consequences of breaking set rules.
When raising children, consistency is the key to having them learn how to be accountable for what they said they would do. I would give my kids three chances to “get it right” often feeling frustrated because they would take advantage of the two chances to “break the rule.” A psychologist then pointed out that in certain situations, like playing in the street, I would yell and expect them to get out of the street on the first try. I was being inconsistent with my expectations and they were confused with my upset. Disciplining in the same way every time alleviates the confusion and sets your staff up to win by knowing how they can succeed in being accountable in every situation.
The last essential structure to put in place to ensure your staff’s accountability is to follow through. You are the example that your staff looks to. If you continually say you will do something whether it is rewarding an employee, making a change in the salon or disciplining an employee and don’t follow through the way you say you will, your staff will follow suit and not be accountable for the things they say they will do. Your word is your credibility. The first time you don’t do what you say, you loose credibility and open the door for others to feel they can “slide”. There will be times that it is unavoidable to follow through with what you say. In this instance, acknowledge to your staff where you were not accountable and re-commit to what you say and let your staff know what they can count on from you in the future. Your honesty and integrity will speak volumes to your staff.
Another common problem related to follow through is if you take action and follow through with some employees and not with others. It is imperative to not show favorites within your staff. Follow through with what you say to every employee no matter his or her role in the salon, from your co-owner to your receptionist.
Having a staff that is completely accountable for the actions they take in the salon will free you up to concentrate on developing other areas of your business. You can have a self-governed staff that holds each other to account, allowing you to be a team player rather than the only constant “bad guy.” If the rules are clear and consistent and the staff knows that you will follow though on the consequences whether it be rewarding them or disciplining them, they are free to choose their actions and will likely exceed your expectations! Just think, with an accountable staff that respects your authority, annual reviews will be a breeze.
Provided by Milady, a part of Cengage Learning www.milady.cengage.com