How To Conduct A Salon Employee Appraisal (PDR) With Toolkit

Employee Management Software at Loop HR

Did you know 79% of people who quit their jobs cite ‘lack of appreciation’ as their reason for leaving?

Having regular employee appraisals (also known as PDRs – Performance Development Reviews) with your hair or beauty team is an effective way to focus on each person’s contribution to your business, give recognition and assess financial and soft skill targets.

But what’s the best way to approach PDRs? Which skills and financial targets should you benchmark?

In this salon HR blog we look at:

  • Why appraisals are so valuable to your salon growth.
  • What performance indicators to choose for a hair or beauty business.
  • Practical tips for getting started.
  • Evaluation templates toolkit (free download)
  • Preparing for the review meeting.
  • The meeting (appraisal).
  • After the meeting.
  • How frequently should you review?

Let’s get started:

Why Review Your Salon Team?

PDRs are an opportunity to:

  • Engage your team one-on-one.
  • Recognise and reward good performance.
  • Agree how to correct/improve areas with poor or less effective performance.

The benefits of regular PDRs can be tremendous. They range from improved productivity and better working conditions to fulfilling greater hopes and expectations of employers and employees.


Employee Appreciation Stats Example for Loop HR

Source: O.C Tanner Learning Group study

Choosing The Right Areas To Benchmark

In a salon, to succeed employees need a combination of skills, so a strong PDR process will cover both:

  • Financial performance
  • Personal critique (skill level, presentation, customer service etc.)

Financial performance:

When it comes to benchmarking many hair and beauty business owners just use financial targets for service and retail sales.

But sales figures alone can be one‐dimensional, so think about expanding your PDR process to include a variety of benchmarks such as:

  • Client retention
  • New client retention
  • Rebooking numbers of clients
  • Number of retail units (rather just financial sales)
  • Average service value

Soft skills:

Couple these with soft skills such as:

  • Time management
  • Attendance
  • Team participation 

Let’s walk through a typical salon review process:

Best HR Software For Hair & Beauty Salons

Practical Tips For Getting Started

Preparation is crucial and it’s easy to overlook these practical steps when you’re busy:

1. Set the date
You may find it helpful to have several reviews on the same day. It helps with consistency and comparison, but importantly an employee doesn’t feel singled out.

2. Confirm appraisal to team member
Confirm the date, time and location to each of your team.

We recommend you try not to change the time or date once booked as it may send the wrong message to your employee.

3. Self-evaluation form
Ask each person to complete a self-evaluation form prior to the review and to return the form (or complete the online process if you use Loop HR) ahead of the review meeting.

4. Review employee self-evaluation
Now review the employee feedback, make notes and plan your responses.

5. Don’t rush
Allow sufficient time for each review, set a schedule for the day and don’t forget to allow yourself time for breaks.

Salon Employee Self-Evaluation Form

Is it the employee’s first appraisal? When you ask them to complete their self-evaluation make them feel more comfortable about the PDR process by explaining:

  • Its purpose
  • The process
  • How it can help improve their working environment and affect their earning potential

Prepare For The Review Meeting

Now sit down with the completed self-evaluation form and prepare for the review meeting.

Things to think about in advance of the meeting:

  • Decide your preferred outcome.
  • How will you create an experience that will be of mutual fulfilment and benefit, especially if it may include embracing changes by both parties?
  • How are you going to welcome your employee into the process and make them feel comfortable?
  • Prepare the room and ensure you will not be disturbed.
Salon HR at Loop HR

The Appraisal Meeting

At the meeting remember:

  • To listen to your employee.
  • Be discreet about other team members.
  • Keep an eye on your time keeping. You can hardly criticise a therapist or stylist’s time management if you set a bad example.


Handling difficult PDR conversations

Handling appraisal meetings can be difficult. In this blog we look in detail at how to approach those difficult conversations, including scripts to help you.

After The Appraisal

At the end of the review, if you are using a manual paper review process, ask your employee to sign your copy of the review sheet (to show they agreed with it, or at least that they attended the meeting).

Then, complete the form and staple the employee’s self-evaluation sheet to the appraisal form. Store both documents in a safe place ready for the next PDR. Important: this is a requirement for GDPR compliance.

For online performance reviews (such as Loop HR) there is nothing to print and everything is signed digitally and stored securely in the cloud.

How Often Should I Review Performance?

It’s a question we get asked all the time by hair and beauty business owners. A performance development review typically happens every three, six or twelve months.

“Companies that set performance goals quarterly generate 31% greater returns.”

– Josh Bersin, HR Researcher

The frequency very much depends on your style of management, but bear in mind you also need to allow your employee sufficient time to reach and maintain their targets and/or change/improve work patterns.

Studies show younger employees in particular prefer more frequent feedback and respond well to positive recognition “in the moment”.

Round Up

Read our scripts and tips for dealing with the review meeting itself here.

Interested to know how you can welcome new employees aboard with Loop HR software? Our onboarding system is specifically designed for hair and beauty businesses like yours. It covers everything you could possibly need for your stylist, therapist, front of house, manager or apprentice – from hours, commission structure and holiday allowance to bank details, pay rates and even allergies.