Professional Beauty
Professional Beauty

3 mins


Having a culture of belonging in the salon workplace benefits everyone, from staff to clients, says salon business expert Liz McKeon

What do people mean when they say they feel a sense of belonging in their jobs? This is rooted in four elements: being seen and appreciated for your unique contributions; feeling connected to your co-workers; having a sense of support in your daily work and career progression; and pride in the business’s values and purpose.

Everyone can help build and foster a culture of belonging in a salon environment:

Senior managers must act as role models and set the tone in a salon by embodying the company’s values. They need to demonstrate excellent leadership skills by listening to all voices on their team.

2 Managers can improve the culture by praising their employees’ work; providing honest feedback to improve the work of the team members; responding to employee concerns; and empowering staff to make quality decisions.

3 Team members can drive a sense of belonging with one another and ultimately build an inclusive culture if they can respect colleagues’ commitments outside of work, and praise and thank colleagues for their work, while also communicating assertively with one another about their working relationships.

Staff empowerment

Empowering your staff is important if you are committed to creating a culture of belonging in your business. Empowerment is the degree of autonomy and self-determination in people, in communities and in salon businesses. This enables them to represent their interests in a responsible way, acting on their own authority.

Self-empowerment examples include giving your team members autonomy and responsibility to manage their own work, objectives and deadlines. Instead of micromanaging them, you provide them with tools and support necessary for success.

As the team leader, you can promote a culture of belonging and empowerment by promoting a sense of trust. Give your staff a voice by requesting and acting on consistent feedback. Provide them with the opportunities to grow and develop by regularly offering options for career progression and increasing their responsibilities.

The benefits of staff empowerment are increased trust in leadership, improved motivation levels, increased creativity and higher levels of employee retention – all of which will improve the bottom line of your business.

Great leadership skills

Leadership is defined as the art of motivating a group of people to act toward achieving a common goal. In a salon business setting, this can mean directing staff and colleagues with a strategy to meet the company needs.

When faced with salon problems, true leaders look inwards and focus on their own abilities and shortcomings. When you want to empower and inspire your team, you will naturally discover that this starts by accepting that self-accountability is the foundation of becoming a great leader.

Developing leadership skills will also allow you to grow as a person.

It is an empowering process of harnessing your natural talents to inspire others. You will become very aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and be able to identify areas that may need improvement, such as:

• Building empathy – are you empathetic to others’ needs? Putting others first is essential to building rapport and inspiring your team to follow you.

• Communication skills – setting expectations and boundaries, and providing clear goals, while keeping your team in the loop, are all part of creating and leading effective teams.

• Tough decisions – you must be confident in your ability to make the more difficult decisions, always putting the needs of the business first.

• Micromanagement – you must learn to delegate routine day-to-day tasks.

• Constructive feedback – you must learn to give negative feedback in as positive a manner as possible.

• Inspirational leadership – a team member who feels you don’t believe in them will not perform well, and this can create a domino effect of poor morale across the salon floor. Believe in your team and their capabilities, and develop your leadership skills throughout your salon business by generating a positive energy.

If you want a happy team, delighted clients and a successful business, focus on creating a culture of belonging with an empowered team and an inspirational owner. Then the sky is the limit for you, your business, your team and your clients.

Liz McKeon is an author, business coach, trainer and mentor, specialising in the hair, beauty and spa sector. For further information, visit or call +353 86 386 1243.

This article appears in the MAY/JUNE 2024 Issue of Professional Beauty & HJ Ireland

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This article appears in the MAY/JUNE 2024 Issue of Professional Beauty & HJ Ireland