Posted November 14, 2016
Performance management is a difficult topic in any salon as it leaves both staff and employers open to hurt feelings and fear, which does affect the workplace. However, with proper management, more extreme actions like warning letters and termination can be easily avoided, while also protecting you as an employer from litigation and claims.
These are the stages of Performance Management in a Hair or Beauty Salon in Australia:
- Stage One: Identify the problem
Employers need to clearly identify and explain the problem that they see with performance or conduct within the salon to their employee. Without a solid understanding of what is wrong, neither party can work towards remedying the situation. So sit down calmly and write down a list of the key issues that you are facing to help clarify your thoughts before going to your employee – this will save hurt feelings down the track and keep the issue at the front of mind for everyone.
- Stage Two: Meet with your employee
Take this opportunity to sit down and speak with your staff member about the things that they are doing well, as well as raising the issues that you are seeing in their performance or conduct. This is a great chance to set out some goals and expectations for the staff member, but they do need to be reasonable and achievable. Create an open conversation with your staff member and allow them to speak about what might be causing these issues and give them a chance to respond to your concerns before taking anything to the next level.
- Stage Three: After the meeting
Make sure to document all the item that were discussed between you and your staff member as soon as you can after your meeting to ensure that you don’t forget the finer details and you do remember everything that was discussed correctly. This protects you as an employer in keeping a factual record but also allows you and your staff to develop an action plan for improvement. Typically, your staff are then given 1-2 weeks to fix any attitude issues or 3-4 weeks for performance issues, and a follow up meeting might occur if necessary. In many cases this is where a performance management cycle can end, as the staff member takes this opportunity to correct their behaviour.
- Stage Four: Warning letters
If after a meeting with your staff you don’t see an improvement in the issues, it becomes time for a written warning. A written warning should only be issued in the instance that it is really deserved – like having a completely unprofessional attitude or really underperforming. It is not a step to be taken lightly, and a copy of the letter must be kept by both yourself as the employer and the employee to be used as evidence in litigation (if it comes to that). There is no legislation as to how many warning letters are needed to be issued before termination, but it is important to allow time for your staff to sort out the issue before escalating the issue. Before any termination can happen, your staff member must receive a last and final warning which outlines that if their performance does not improve they may be subject to termination. This is an incredibly important step so don’t miss it.
- Stage Five: Termination
After going through the process above, if you aren’t seeing any improvement in your staff member after a reasonable period and with a final warning letter in place, you have no choice but to terminate your employee. Arrange a final meeting, and allow the staff member to bring along a support person if they wish as these meetings often get quite emotional. Make sure that your discuss with them the notes you created earlier and ask the simple question of why things haven’t changed. Allow your staff the opportunity to again respond to the issue, and take them seriously on their comments before making a final decision. A termination is not something to be taken lightly and can have a great effect on the rest of your team, so make sure that the tough decision you make is in the best interest of your salon. If it comes to a termination, make sure that you state clearly with your staff member the issue and that the employment relationship will be terminated. It is a hard call to make, but sometimes it might just be the best thing for you and your staff member.
At HABA, we sincerely hope that by following the first 3 steps in this program you can avoid an unpleasant experience in terminating your staff, but if it does come to that, it is always better to be informed.
For more detailed information on the steps for Fair Performance Management within the Hair and Beauty Industry in Australia, you can download the fact sheet from HABA here. And as always, if you have any questions regarding your staff, legalities or fair work practices, as a HABA member you can call our hotline on 02 9221 9911 at any time and speak to one of our resident experts for advice.
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