How To Onboard Your New Salon Employee (Tips & Advice)

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Does your hair or beauty business have an onboarding process for new employees?

When we’re busy with clients and short staffed it’s easy for a proper induction to get rushed (or even missed).

Yet the right start is crucial to shaping a new employee’s attitude to your business, their job role and the rest of your team, and to retaining them.

Onboarding and retention go hand-in-hand:

69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.


You want to give your new recruit the best first impression of your business and make them feel confident they have made the right decision in joining your salon team. But:

88% of employees think their employer did a poor job with the onboarding process.

Gallup, 2017

Let’s go step-by-step through a salon employee’s onboarding journey:

  • Before they start
  • First day at your salon
  • Their first week
  • End of month one and beyond
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Before They Start At Your Salon

Building a great salon team starts the minute your new hair or beauty hire accepts your job offer.

Don’t wait until their first day at your salon to start the onboarding (induction) process:

  • Ensure you set them up for success from the start by building a relationship before they arrive.
  • Save time by creating a standardised onboarding process which runs like clockwork, is easy to run and ensures nothing is overlooked.

Roll out the red carpet:

1. Welcome pack
Send your new employee a welcome pack with useful information about your hair or beauty business. It’s warm and friendly, and also an opportunity to reconfirm the benefits of their new job.

2. Gather employee information
At the same time ask for any outstanding information so you can complete paperwork in advance and don’t waste valuable time on their first day. Do you need: email address, mobile number, emergency contact number, bank account details, full address and proof of eligibility to work in the UK? And remind them to bring their P45.

Give them a deadline for returning everything which is before their start day.

3. Put them at ease
Calm any pre-job nerves by letting them know what time to arrive and who to ask for.

Tell them about your dress code to ensure they blend in with the team and feel more comfortable and confident. Likewise, if you have a salon uniform then make sure this is all ready for them.

4. Your team
Involve your team so they know about the new stylist, therapist or receptionist and their job role. It gives them a chance to ask questions if they have concerns, and lets you smooth any ruffled feathers.

Agree who is greeting the new employee on arrival, buddying with them and show them where everything is.

5. Be prepared
Do you need to prepare their workspace or equipment? For example:

  • Training on your salon software system or treatment equipment?
  • Who is going to do this? How can this be fitted around clients’ needs?
  • Passwords needed?
  • Locker keys?
  • Security ID to access your premises.

Check your induction documentation is up to date and to hand, so you’re not scrabbling around as they arrive:

  • Health & safety information
  • Salon employee handbook
  • Absence & holiday request guidance
  • Information on pay policies including bonuses and commission.

Your roadmap to the onboarding journey
Why not create an onboarding checklist so you don’t forget anything? For Loop HR users you’ll find a detailed checklist when you log in, plus you’ll get automated prompts for missing information.

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Make The First Day A Positive Experience

Most new employees arrive excited and keen to impress, so harness this positivity.

The buddy system
Choose a responsible employee (buddy) to help with their induction. They need to be:

  • someone you trust
  • who understands the importance of onboarding
  • deal with it in an efficient, friendly manner

1. Introduce salon and team
Walk the new recruit around the salon, and introduce them individually to the team so they feel they belong, and confident that they have chosen a salon that is excited to have them.

If you have a big team consider giving them a list of everyone and their job role to make it easier for them as a sea of faces can seem very daunting.

As you walk around take the opportunity to chat through your business culture, values, and unwritten rules.

2. Health & Safety
Give them an overview of Health & Safety including: emergency exits, the emergency meeting point, introduce them to your nominated First Aider and show where the First Aid Kit is kept.

3. Job role
Cover things like:

  • Their duties and responsibilities.
  • Where products are kept.
  • Where equipment is held, and how it can be used safely.
  • Your induction manual.
  • Training/education (when, where, how often?)

4. Be friendly
Avoid leaving your new employee on their own with nothing to do. On the other hand don’t throw them into the job without a proper induction.

If appropriate, ask the buddy to offer to spend time with them at breaks and lunch on their first day, as it can feel intimidating in a busy salon when you’re not sure of the ropes and suffering with first day nerves.

By the end of the first day your new employee should have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, and feel confident and warmly welcomed into a positive environment.

Their First Week

These early days are a crucial period for successful onboarding and team retention:

Up to 20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days.


Continue the onboarding process on day two and during the first week.

1. Relationship building
Remember onboarding is a team sport. Encourage everyone to welcome the new recruit and make them feel at home. One-off greetings on the first day are great, but new employees will also benefit from longer meetings with some members of your team, so get these set up in advance.

2. Buddy
Their buddy should continue to support them during this important week. Make sure the buddy has the time to do this, and keeps you up to speed with any queries or challenges.

3. Build a picture
You gave the new hire an overview on day one, now flesh out your processes and procedures for grievance, holiday and sickness absence, as well as H&S with them.

4. Job role expectations
Dive deeper into the new employee’s role, expected performance, your culture, customer care standards and how it will be assessed (particularly during this probationary period). Look forward and talk about opportunities for development and training, and routes for promotion in the future. If training sessions are needed book them in advance for this week, whether this is in house or external.

5. Review meeting
On day one let your new employee know that you (or the salon manager) will have a review meeting with them at the end of their first week. This way they immediately know they will have an opportunity to ask any questions or raise any concerns at management level.

Before this meeting evaluate their performance over the past week. Chat with their buddy and relevant colleagues:

  • Have they settled in? If not, why?
  • What challenges have they faced and how did they deal with them.
  • What can you do to help them in their job?

Don’t forget to file a meeting note (Loop HR software users can upload all documentation to one central online secure space) and book a follow up meeting for the end of the first month.

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After One Month

You’re still in the honeymoon period so continue the onboarding process with regular positive and constructive feedback because:

Nearly 33% of new hires look for a new job within their first six months on the job. Among Millennials, that percentage is even higher, and it happens earlier.

Book another review meeting for the end of the month and ask plenty of questions about how your new employee is finding their new job. Keep it informal and friendly, and ask open questions to encourage them to air any concerns and find out what they are really thinking.

And remember to book the next review meeting in and file your meeting notes in a safe secure place.

After Three Months

This could be the end of the probationary period for your salon employee. If you want your new team member to stay then treat this meeting as part of the onboarding process.

  • Review performance and give feedback (this blog looks at this in detail).
  • Set performance and other goals for the next 6 and 9 months.
  • Agree any additional training needed.

Induction For Maternity Returners

Induction processes are not just for new salon employees. Stylists or therapists returning from maternity leave will often benefit from a structured induction.

Clearly, it will be different from that for a new hire, but a refresher on duties and responsibilities including changes in procedures and systems is helpful and a friendly welcome-back.

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Strong Onboarding Creates Great Teams & Business Growth

Time and time again studies confirm that onboarding is a key factor in staff retention for hair and beauty businesses. And we all know that a high turnover of employees is expensive as you’re continually short staffed and constantly recruiting.

Retention starts with a strong onboarding process and Loop HR software helps you build a great salon team from day one. Our automated onboarding process kicks in when your new hair or beauty employee accepts your job offer ensuring you set them up for success from the start.

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. Why not try it for free for 60 days and see how it helps you run your business? No credit card needed and no obligation.

  • Complete paperwork quickly and effectively.
  • Ensure personnel records are GDPR compliant.
  • Reduce your admin time.
  • Keep all information secure and in one place.
  • Automated reminders for missing information.
  • Hair and beauty business specialist HR software.