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26 May 2020 | Posted by Salon Services in Business

Training for salon staff: Preparing to reopen after lockdown

When your hair and beauty business reopens after the coronavirus lockdown, how you work will be radically different. Here’s our round-up of the ways to prepare yourself, and your team.

It’s the moment you’re all waiting for: seeing your clients again after more than three months in lockdown. But with the ongoing threat of Covid-19, when salons reopen next month things are going to be very different. So why not spend the next few weeks preparing for these changes: from how you clean and sanitise your salon through to how you talk to your customers about your new way of working.

Rebecca Day, an HR consultant who specialises in the hair and beauty industry, says, “There’ll be so much that is new, training for your staff is essential. This can be anything from a hygiene course to talking through your risk assessment with them and any new company policies you have in place.”

In-salon training

You’ll have a lot of new processes for your staff to get to grips with: from new cleaning procedures and social distancing measures through to how you talk to your clients.

Make sure everyone is up-to-date with in-salon training before you reopen. Rebecca says, “In the first instance I’d suggest emailing all your staff and asking them to share their concerns. I’ve seen people who’ve put staff on furlough and left them there and not checked in with them regularly. Before you do anything, ask them how they’re feeling about coming back. Give them a brief overview of what you’re doing and ask them what concerns they have. You can then think about how to address those concerns and build all that into your staff training session before reopening.”

“There will be people worried about coming back to the salon. You need to train your staff on how to manage those concerns.”

Staff training

After such a long break from work, you’ll need to get everyone back up to speed with your existing procedures… and let them know about your new processes.

Rebecca says, “I’d recommend updating your staff handbook to include a section on Covid-19 and your company policy. As part of the training, go through the handbook and make it clear staff must follow all of the health and safety policies, rules and procedures. It’s also important to let them know about their own personal responsibilities and what they need to do if they come into contact with Covid-19.”

For social distancing reasons, you might also want to introduce new staff rotas and ‘bubbles’ of workers. “Some of the salons I’ve spoken to are planning to have a Team A and a Team B working alternate days”, explains Rebecca. “If someone in Team A were to come down with Covid, Team B wouldn’t be at risk. As part of your training you’ll need to talk your staff through all these changes.”

Client relationship training

A big change in how you work is going to be how you interact with your clients. And this is likely to take some getting used to. To get prepared, draw up a list of all your new client procedures: from how you’ll do consultations through to taking payments. You can then train your team (and yourself!) on all the new ways you’re working and how to talk to clients about these changes.

Rebecca says, “The big thing that people should be focusing on ready for reopening is the customer experience. Ensure your staff use observation, in-depth questioning and active listening to understand your customer’s needs and expectations. These skills can be rusty if you’ve been out of it for a while, so a refresher for your team is a good idea.”

She recommends giving your staff a list of ‘talking points’ to cover any possible questions from customers… and to manage their expectations. “In one salon I work with, the owner is saying for the first six to eight weeks he won’t do a full head of highlights as it will be too long to have someone in the salon. So, it’s getting to grips with what the customer wants and also learning how to manage their expectations. There will also be people worried about coming back to the salon. You need to train your staff on how to manage those concerns.”

Hygiene and infection control training

When you reopen it’s vital you make sure the area you work - and all your equipment - is clean and sanitised. You’ll also need to reassure customers that you’re taking all the right steps to protect them during their appointment and prevent the spread of infection...

Barbicide Covid-19 Certification course

Barbicide is offering a free, online course for hair and beauty professionals which covers everything you need to do to keep your salon hygienic. You’ll also get a certificate to show clients you’re up-to-date with the latest in infection control.Find out more about the Barbicide Covid-19 course.

Infection control course

BABTAC has endorsed this paid-for course, written by an infection control nurse. It includes advice on cleaning, PPE and how to stop the spread of infection. Find out more about the Infection Control course.

Other training courses

If you want to upskill even further before salons reopen, check out these courses…

Behind the Mask course

Cases of domestic abuse have risen during the coronavirus lockdown. The Behind the Mask course is designed to help you spot the signs your client may be experiencing abuse from a partner, ex-partner or relative. The free online training also gives you advice on how to respond and offer support. Find out more about the Behind the Mask course.

Mental health first aid

Another fall-out of the coronavirus pandemic is the impact on mental health, with many ‘people in crisis’ according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England courses are part of a national scheme which aims to improve the nation’s mental health. The online courses will help you spot the signs of stress, anxiety or other mental health issues among your staff and clients.

Rebecca say, “Observing your employees, using in-depth questioning and actively listening to identify their personal needs and expectations also helps you to spot the early warning signs that something might be wrong with them emotionally. It’s a good idea, as a salon manager, to practice this so if one of your team is struggling you can signpost them to the right professional help.” Find out more about the Mental Health First Aid courses.

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