It’s true that salon owners and mentors invest a lot to make mentorships work — but there’s no question that the return well outweighs the risks of investment! After all, in addition to building your team’s skill sets, a salon mentorship program is bound to increase productivity, engagement and satisfaction all around as well! It can also drastically decrease employee departures and turn your salon into a highly sought-after place of employment! The greatest benefit of starting a salon mentoring program, however, is the impact that a supportive mentorship will have on every life that’s involved!
If you’re starting to dream about where a mentoring program could take your salon and what your salon could do for the world around it, then you’re on the right track! Before you’re able to get those answers, though, you’ll have to gradually elevate and add authority to your salon so that potential mentees consider the opportunity trustworthy, credible, worthwhile and actually exciting.
Adding Authority to Your Salon
The success of your mentoring program relies heavily on the authority of your salon — so start seeing your salon or self as an educator and talent developer! This means that you should always be teaching (whether it be through your blog, a weekly email newsletter or otherwise), always be offering compliments and considerations (through comments on social media, to employees, to talented customers) and you should always be approachable (which can be as simple as creating a standout hairstylist bio for everyone on your team to be seen on your website or social media).
To embrace continuous teaching in an authentic way, you’ll also want to commit to continuous learning. This means that active education, learning from experiences and being open to experimentation is key!
Mindfully Selecting Mentors
Mentors who are experienced, knowledgeable, passionate about their work and able to communicate it all effectively in an approachable manner will see to the success of your salon mentorship program. Once you’ve found a suitable mentor with these qualities (and the ability to adapt these qualities to best suit different mentees), you’ll want to train them to:
Communicate their availability in a clear and consistent way. Some mentees will have a harder time than others asking for help and will feel like they’re imposing, so make sure your mentors are equipped with some emotional intelligence and trained to offer more direct invitations to these mentees.
Be open and relatable with mentees. Not only will meeting mentees on equal ground like this improve a mentor’s approachability but will make them a much more compelling and impactful person in the mentee’s life — in turn, providing better program results and possibly a lifelong mentor/mentee bond!
Take responsibility for the advice they give because while any unexpected actions taken while implementing that advice may not be their fault or responsibility, the mentor IS responsible for supporting their mentee.
Mindfully Selecting Mentees
The perfect mentee for your salon will depend on what exactly your salon is hoping to accomplish through this program, as well as your company culture. Aside from this, mentees should be committed to their professional development, and ideally be new to (or have limited experience in) the industry. Experience around the industry, though (for instance in an established hair supply store), shows that the passion for the industry and maybe even pursuit for the position has been underlying for a long time! This will encourage excited and engaged mentees who will maximize the benefit of the program for everyone involved.
Identifying and Refining an Unrivaled Training Plan
Above all else, developing a structured training plan is essential. This plan should be designed to help the salon and mentors achieve their goals as much as it should address the needs of the mentees, so you’ll want to:
Identify what your salon hopes to achieve from this program, whether it be improving employee retention, enhancing salon reputation, expanding skills and knowledge, increasing productivity, encouraging an improved workplace culture or otherwise.
Personalize the program for the mentee to ensure that their needs and goals are being met and treated with equal importance. After all, this is a huge (potentially life-changing) opportunity for them! This can mean identifying their strengths, their areas for improvement, their learning style and understanding their personalized goals among other things.
Monitor the progress of the program and provide feedback to both mentors and mentees. This feedback should come in the form of regular, constructive check-ins designed as an opportunity to offer this feedback as well as address any issues that may arise.
Evaluating and Making Adjustments as Needed
The final (and possibly most important) step in creating a successful mentoring program is to consistently evaluate its effectiveness, and make adjustments as needed! Always keep the initial goals you identified for your salon, mentors and mentees in mind, and embrace any opportunity to gather feedback and make changes that will enhance the learning experience. Not only will this help you to create a successful salon mentorship program, but will help you to create an even better company culture and environment as well!