Are Disrespectful Employees in your Salon Spa Making Your Life a Misery?

Turn your difficult and disrespectful salon spatherapists into better employees

by Pam Stellema

in Staff Management

There’s not much that is more stressful in the workplace than having a disrespectful and disruptive employee, especially when that employee is a valuable contributor to the spa’s revenue.  It can put you in a very difficult situation.  Do you simply put up with the disrespectful behaviour for the sake of the money she brings into the spa, or do you bite the bullet and do something about it? Not an easy decision!

 The good news is that you can do something about this kind of behaviour that will hopefully not only eliminate the problem but also keep the employee.  Here are the steps you need to follow to take back control.

 Step 1:

You must deal with a disrespectful incident as soon as possible after it occurs.  It’s a mistake to turn the other cheek, grind your teeth and hope it doesn’t happen again.  If you do nothing about it, it most certainly will and when left unchecked, it will not only make your life miserable, but it could also affect the attitude of your other employees, which can then go on to affect their clients. 

 It also sends a powerful message to your other employees that it’s okay to treat the boss badly without any consequences, and it could quickly turn into a “them” and “you” situation. The longer this continues, the harder it will be to resolve, and you will then have a crisis situation on your hands.

 Step 2:

When time permits, take your problem employee to a private place where there will be no interruptions so you can discuss her unacceptable behaviour.  Going into the back room where the other staff can hear you or having a quick chat in between clients won’t cut it. This will be a very important conversation, and the last thing you want to do is to rush it or to make your valuable employee feel belittled by allowing other employees to listen in.  Allow at least 30 minutes, preferably at the end of the day, so that you have sufficient time to talk through the problem and find a solution.

 Step 3:

Prepare yourself before the meeting.  If this behaviour has happened many times in the past but has never been dealt with, make sure to have a list of specific past incidents you can refer to. Avoid general statements such as, “you are always disrespectful…” and instead refer to specific incidents where you have felt disrespected.  She cannot argue with a specific fact.

 Step 4:

During your discussion, you must address the impact that the employee’s behaviour is having not only on you, their teammates, the clients, and the salon as a whole, but also how it’s affecting their position within the business.  It’s important for them to understand what repercussions there may be if it continues.

 Put aside your emotions, and approach the problem calmly.  Angry confrontations will achieve nothing and will most likely make matters even worse. Instead, make sure you tackle the matter in a composed, professional way.  This will increase your chances of a positive outcome.  After all, the last thing you want to do is to send her home simmering on what you have said and ready to come back to work and cause even more trouble.

 To avoid this, try to sandwich the “constructive criticism” between some genuine and positive statements.  If your employee has other great skills (and she must have if you still want to keep her), then try to mention these before and after your discussion regarding her poor behaviour.

 As an example, you might want to begin the discussion by thanking her for being such a valuable member of your team and acknowledge her positive input to the spa. Once this is done and she knows that you are not going to rant and rave at her, you can go on to calmly discuss the issue at hand.  Never raise your voice, and resist the temptation to get into an argument.  Simply state the facts of the matter, and don’t allow yourself to be talked over.

 Remember that the main purpose of the discussion is to find a solution, and to achieve this, your employee must acknowledge that her behaviour is sometimes unacceptable.  Ask her how she thinks she could change her behaviour to something more supportive and friendly.  If you can get her to suggest ways that she can improve things, you have almost won the battle. 

 Make every effort not to leave the discussion until you have found a solution that works for both of you, and tell her you would like to meet again in a week’s time to discuss how things are progressing.  Make sure you follow through with the meeting and continue to keep the communication channels open by scheduling them regularly until either the problem is resolved, or you find nothing is improving and you have to let her go.  If this eventuates, it’s important that you have documented each of your discussions and provided formal warnings to her in writing.

 Remember, no matter how valuable you believe an employee may be to your business, eventually you will find that nothing will make up for the devastation that a disrespectful attitude from your employee can cause if left unchecked. 

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Pam Stellema

Pam is an industry experienced coach, salon owner, speaker, author and copywriter.She works beside salon and spa owners to show them how to effectively grow their profits and remain in business for the long-term.
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