Expert Recruiting and Team-Building Advice for the Salon Owner

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Even during a pandemic, I am always in a state of recruitment. As a business owner, I realize the importance of both maintaining established relationships and actively seeking new ones—both have served me incredibly well in my professional career. As this pandemic has shown us, it’s an ever-evolving world. Perhaps now, when we all have a bit more downtime, we should focus on strengthening current bonds while reaching out to establish new ties. Business (and life, really) is about building relationships. Just like you might choose to advertise for new business, you should actively promote, seek and advertise for new staff. This should be an ongoing practice, as one new relationship may lead to three or four more.

Many people feel challenged when it comes to recruiting. If you're in a time crunch and need to fill a spot quickly, you'll want to create a detailed job description and advertise on beauty professional sites, and business professional sites such as LinkedIn, Ladders, Indeed and Monster. Additionally, make use of your established network and reach out to your contacts to let them know that you're hiring. It’s always better to hire someone that has a positive history and professional reference versus a total stranger. Trust your gut during the hiring process. You'll be able to sense whether someone would be a good fit with the environment and vibe of your salon.

Once you're fully staffed, it's important to find ways to keep the team both productive and inspired. My approach has always been to be firm—but with a smile. Be open, but be sure to have boundaries. Reward the team when they’ve done a good job and recognize and appreciate their good work. Keep in mind that staff members may have experienced especially difficult times during the pandemic. Everyone has handled the stresses of the shutdown differently, so if there is ever a time to be understanding and perhaps a bit more lenient, it’s now. Team-building activities can help develop relationships and strengthen bonds and educational events will keep your staff motivated. Perhaps you can pay for a portion of travel expenses, if continued education involves travel. Work with your accountant to determine what you can afford and what you can write-off as a tax deduction. Pay close attention to what motivates your staff, and have conversations about what inspires and lights them up. Help your team grow their business and they will help to grow yours. 

In 2021, if you are challenged with recruiting staff or having a hard time finding ways to motivate existing staff, check your ego at the door and tune in to what people are about and what makes them tick. Be sensitive to the current social and political climate and keep understanding and kindness at the forefront. This approach will build your team stronger than ever and create a positive and fun work environment. 



Marco Pelusi is a haircolor authority, educator, salon owner, celebrity haircolorist and product developer. Early on, he became a top educator at a leading Italian haircolor company, and then national haircolor educator for an LA-based color company. In 2005, he opened Marco Pelusi Hair Studio on Robertson in West Hollywood. Marco can be seen at the NY and Vegas IBS and Long Beach (ISSE) shows. Marco also appears on TV as a hair expert on "A Healthy You & Carol Alt" on FOX, "Home and Family" on Hallmark and “The Look: All Stars” on the CW network.