How to Upskill Your Salon or Spa Staff

How to Upskill Your Salon or Spa Staff
Grow your salon or spa by upskilling your staff through consistent and relevant training. These five tips will help you get started.
by Square May 15, 2024 — 3 min read
How to Upskill Your Salon or Spa Staff

There’s always a new trend to learn in the health and beauty industry since new styles and treatments emerge all the time. Making routine learning part of your company culture is the best way to gain a competitive edge for your spa or salon.

Giving your staff opportunities to upskill has all kinds of benefits. By being able to provide the latest, sought-after techniques and treatments, your staff will attract more clients and land repeat bookings, helping make your business more profitable. Your staff will also likely appreciate being with a salon or spa that values and trains them, which can help boost employee retention. And of course, customers expect and value salons and spas that stay up to date with trends, leading to a better customer experience.

Here’s how to upskill your salon or spa staff, no matter their level of experience or how long they’ve been with your business. 

1. Embed training from day one.

Ideally, upskilling should begin with each new hire you make. A fresh slate offers you the best chance to instill your salon or spa’s culture, values, and goals, as well as thoroughly induct new team members into your processes and systems.

Culture matters. Share your company values with your staff and encourage them to embody the values in their client interactions. You’re probably already doing this intuitively, but formalizing this in your training will help staff understand and incorporate the practical outcomes you’re looking for.

When it comes to specific salon or spa goals, they don’t need to be lofty or vague. For example, if your aim is to increase revenue by 15% this year, you might link this to your values of professional excellence and explain that you’re counting on your team to let clients know about some of the more advanced treatments you offer. In the same example, let your staff know why the revenue target is important to you and, if you want their help to get there, clearly explain the bonuses on offer for your best-performing staff.

2. Look for strengths and weaknesses in your staff’s knowledge.

What is your staff good at already? Ask them directly (they may have hidden skills you’re not drawing upon) as well as observe them in their work. How do you rate their performance? And in what areas could they benefit from more training?

Again, you’ll need to articulate your goals here. Be clear on your vision for the salon or spa, what differentiates your offering from those around you, and what you need extra help with. What skills will help you get where you want to go? What are the gaps?

Ask your team what skills they’re most keen to learn. You might just be given some killer ideas for a technique or treatment that no one else is offering yet, or find new ways to up your email marketing or social media presence with the help of younger social media and marketing-savvy staff.

3. Offer in-house training.

Once you know about gaps in staff knowledge or areas that your employees want to learn more about, consider creating an in-house training curriculum. You can draw on your team’s expertise and skills for this. For example, a senior stylist could lead a training session on advanced cutting techniques, while a team member who excels in customer service or marketing could share their strategies and insights for building strong relationships with clients.

To keep your team engaged and motivated, it’s important to challenge and reward them with new growth opportunities as they make progress. For example, if one of your employees is great at systems and processes, you could task them with coordinating stock orders based on inventory reporting. If another has a great eye for composition and as loads of Instagram followers, perhaps they’d be interested in running your social media.

4. Find opportunities for external training.

A final piece of the puzzle might be identifying the areas you need to upskill to reach your business goals but where you don’t have training capability within the team.

Consider online courses or spa and salon training organizations that come to you to run in-house training sessions on specific skills. Tap into your network to see if any of your acquaintances would be a good fit to run a training session, and keep in mind that it doesn’t just have to be from within the beauty industry — experts on customer retention, marketing, or operations can come from a variety of industries. And if you have the budget, consider sending staff to a trade show or conference on a specific topic or trend your salon or spa is interested in mastering. 

5. Stay up to date with industry news and research.

Beyond direct training, keeping up with industry news and research — and encouraging your staff to do the same — is a smart way to ensure your salon or spa is on top of new trends and customer preferences. Sign up for a newsletter or trade publication, stay up to date with influencers in your space, and of course, ask your clients what they’re seeing, what their pain points are, and what they’re interested in.

Take advantage of data-backed reports, like the annual Square Beauty and Wellness Trends report or the Square 2024 Future of Customers report, that will help you keep a pulse on what’s happening across the industry and what customers expect. 

The Bottom Line is brought to you by a global team of collaborators who believe that anyone should be able to participate and thrive in the economy.


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