Effective Salon Employee Review Meetings (Tips & Script)

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Does your heart sink when it’s appraisal time for your salon employees?

Do you worry about how to deal with negative comments, disinterest or even confrontation at review meetings?

You’re not alone.

Many salon owners feel the same. But with some careful planning and preparation you can take the stress out of appraisals for both you and your team. In this blog we share practical tips and ideas for planning and running a successful employee review meeting.

Appraisals Are Not Just About Money

Although the weekly ‘take’ does indicate how financially successful an employee is, it doesn’t tell you if the employee is helping you grow your salon business.

So rather than just focus on ‘money taken’ use a broader range of figures which will give you more information and let you identify employee strengths and weaknesses.

For example do they have:

  • Higher average bills but lower client numbers?
  • Strong retail sales?
  • Good client retention figures?
  • High consistent rebooking figures?

Identifying individual strengths and weaknesses means you can give guidance and recognition while helping focus their efforts.

Review their soft skills (which are so important to a successful hair or beauty business):

  • Awareness of the client experience.
  • Arriving to work on time.
  • Time management skills.
  • General attitude.
  • Team spirit.
  • Technical skill range.
  • Communication skills.
  • Health & Safety.
  • Hygiene & Housekeeping.
  • Stock usage / wastage.

Some of these are more tangible and can be measured, while others are more subjective (down to your interpretation).

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Keep Appraisals Interesting & Highly Relevant

Keep the appraisal process interesting by changing the format – or at least elements of it ‐ a little each time.

Ask questions based on the employee’s feedback to encourage them to consider their responses and make them more relevant.

For example, one time you could ask:

  • If you could give your clients something to take away what would it be?
  • What impact do you think that would that have on the client’s visit?
  • What positive action will you take over the next three months?

Three months later ask:

How has this positive action impacted them/their client?

Or perhaps:

What do you enjoy most about your job and how could they communicate this to make an even better experience for our clients?

This open type of question focuses their mind towards new areas.

Prep For Review Meetings (Don’t Wing It)

With careful preparation and delivery it’s possible to turn your most challenging employee into great team member, or confirm that the individual has exhausted every avenue of opportunity and it may be time to terminate their employment. (We always recommend you take advice from an employment law specialist before terminating anyone’s employment.)

Here’s how:

  • Allow your salon employee to feel heard.
  • Find out what they want.
  • And how they think they can achieve it.

This is powerful, for them and for you. An employee who has contributed to setting their own goals and agreed targets has every reason to strive to reach their goal.

Successful appraisals are not all about them

Plan your attitude and behaviour too:

  • Show you value soft skills.
  • Be positive.
  • Be consistent.
  • Lead by example.
  • Follow through. Deliver what you say you will deliver.
  • Don’t move the goal posts half way through the game.
  • Demonstrate good leadership qualities.

Think about it. How can you expect your therapists, stylists, managers and receptionists to:

  • Produce great results if you haven’t given them the direction to find them?
  • Demonstrate good time management, if you are not punctual for meetings? 

The employee review meeting: a step by step guide to success

  1. How formal or informal do you want your reviews to be? Decide your reviewing style and retain that consistent style throughout the process.
  2. Set up the room thoughtfully. Arrange seating so chairs are of equal height and at angles (i.e. don’t face them head on). And place yourself so they cannot see what you are writing.
  3. Welcome your employee, preferably at the door to the room, or at the very least rise from your chair and motion them to the seat you wish them to take. Ensure they are comfortable.
  4. Have the evaluation form in front of you. First, spend some time outlining what you appreciate about their performance.
  5. Work through the employee feedback and address each point clearly. Above all, listen to your employee.
  6. Acknowledge areas for potential improvement, and address areas of concern, while using this as an opportunity to repeat positive feedback. Agree new actions, targets to be worked on and any potential rewards (this can be increased confidence and job satisfaction as well as tangible bonuses).
  7. Towards the end of the meeting discuss what your employee wishes to achieve. Then turn it into a motivator, ‘we will help you achieve that, if you do this’.
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Opportunities To Reward & Motivate

  1. End the review meeting positively and on a constructive note.
  2. Agree the next stage(s) and confirm when the next review will take place.


Avoid confrontational issues that may dilute the power of the review.

If there are outstanding issues to be resolved, reschedule a meeting for some time shortly after all other reviews have been completed (do not leave more than a couple of days if avoidable).


You do not have to make any decisions immediately. Take time to think things through, work out new targets or negotiate alternative working agreements.

Take The Right Approach To Reviews

We touched on this earlier. Your attitude, body language and behaviour can make or break the meeting.

  • Use positive language.
  • Be open to feedback.
  • Don’t forget, with your salon employees, you are in a position of power and responsibly.
  • Your job is to open dialogue and highlight areas for improvement as well as give feedback.
  • If you make someone feel small, they will stay small and petty. They will close up, and communication closes down.
  • Shout or browbeat someone ensures they close up, and again, communication closes down


You want your salon employee to feel that the PDR process will empower them and also allow them to proactively strive towards achieving their long and short term goals. Agreements gained under duress rarely last!

Communication – An Invaluable Salon HR Technique

There are improvement opportunities– even with the most successful beauty therapists and hair stylists.

There will also be areas where an employee is performing poorly and some resentment is present. In these cases, it takes skill to change the situation so everybody benefits.

  • Don’t start this while you are irritated or angry.
  • Make the person feel you understand their present position.
  • Let them know that you have a point of view that relates to this and that something needs to be done.
  • Find some positive element to the situation.

Always refer to the situation and the effect it has on you / others / the employee. The person may, in your opinion, do a stupid or badly judged action. But nobody should ever be called stupid or treated as though they are stupid.


The first few times you try this make it easier for yourself by mapping out your main sentences in advance. After a while it becomes second nature. It’s also incredibly rewarding to have the ability to turn round a situation and made someone feel better.

Here’s a scripted example:

First mention some true, honest point relevant to the situation that shows you understand that point of view:

‘I appreciate that still having to sweep up after all this time must seem boring…’

Then administer your punch line. Be quite clear how ‘the situation’ makes you feel:

‘…but I’ve noticed how unhappy you seem about it and it’s affecting the atmosphere in the salon. You’re still the most junior team member and it’s part of the job…’

And now add something encouraging to enthuse them:

‘…you may not realise the important effect you have on the salon. It’s an essential job. We’ve all done it and if you do it properly the salon looks so much better. Also so‐and‐so was saying the other day it really helped when you complimented their client’s hair as you passed by.

And look forward to a resolution (or put in context of the whole situation):

‘…it doesn’t last forever. And in 6 weeks time we have a new assistant and you will be mentoring them, plus we can start training you on…’

Hair & Beauty Business Appraisals: A Recap

Keep the following front of mind:

  • Remain open and honest with your salon employees.
  • Be sensitive to each personality and how they might respond to critique.
  • Give employees targets and/or goals they can relate to.
  • Quantify any low scores or perceived negative feedback that you have given.
  • Be prepared to negotiate with your employees to get the result you want and they need, to be successful.
  • Bulldozing through the evaluation will lose their respect and any advantage on your part will be short lived.
  • Give your employees targets they can relate to, such as the number of clients they should see per day or number of retail units they should sell. These smaller elements take the emphasis away from the larger monetary total and focus the employee on what they actually need to do to achieve their target.
  • Psychologically, the smaller details are easier to focus on and easier to attain client by client, day by day, allowing you to give recognition for smaller achievements or guidance as appropriate.
  • Opportunity to achieve little and often.
  • Opportunity for regular attention and recognition.

Interested to learn more about the Personal Development Review (PDR) process? Try this blog which also has a toolkit of templates for you to use at your appraisals especially written for the beauty, aesthetic and hair industry by Loop HR to download for free.