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Make meetings matter

There’s a big difference in what should constitute a staff meeting as opposed to what passes for one, right now. Nergish Wadia-Austin of PHAB Standard outlines all the ways in which to make them more worthwhile, both in terms of raising performance and knowledge standards.

PHAB Salon Toolkit is a business tool we designed for salon, spa and barbershop managers to initiate discussions within staff meetings or at individual reviews, with a view to raising performance and service standards in their business.

When I asked salon managers why they have staff meetings, these are some of the responses I got… ‘We always have a daily, weekly, monthly staff meeting and we like our staff to have a communication forum.’ ‘The one thing we do not want is our staff to feel like we don’t listen, and ensure that we discuss last week’s performance, failures and successes.’ ‘We want to be able to congratulate the people that did well and embarrass the staff who didn’t – we like to yell at everybody all at once.’ These are NOT reasons to organise a staff meeting!

So why should a manager schedule a staff meeting?

When an announcement needs to be made and when changes need to be communicated. Also scheduling a staff meeting ensures that we share information with our team so we are all aware of what is going on and when projects need to be discussed.

Who should be invited to attend a staff meeting?

You should only hold the meeting with the people it will impact, for example if the announcement only affects the reception team then inviting the whole of the salon including hair, beauty and nail staff members is a waste of time, energy and resources. If there is a change of policy that needs to be communicated then invite the people it impacts the most first, and then make a less detailed announcement to the rest of the team. When projects need to be discussed then only speak with the staff members directly involved in that project.

What should a staff meeting achieve?

The only purpose of a staff meeting is to improve service, performance or creative standards. Therefore a good question to ask yourself BEFORE scheduling a meeting is ‘What do I want as an end result of this meeting?’ If you are able to answer this question in a coherent and detailed manner then you will have a productive staff meeting. Both the attendees and the organiser will benefit from the content of the meeting.

Why are my meetings always so repetitious?

The reason why your meetings are this way is because they are conducted as a force of habit rather than because of a real business need. These types of meetings need to be pre-planned and organised months in advance but more often than not are prepared at the last minute. A salon manager once confessed that they didn’t know why they had the meetings but they knew they had to have them so staff could whinge each week. They also complained of their meetings turning very negative and demoralising. This salon had an un-enthused work force and poor productivity. The two are connected…

If you schedule weekly time for a meeting where staff believe it is time for them to decide the agenda and it turns into a giant (please forgive my use of poor language here) bitching session, then you only have yourself to blame.  Now is the time to change what you are doing.


Nergish’s suggested checklist for successful staff meetings:

  • Only schedule a meeting if there is an identifiable business need.
  • Make sure you allow ample time to make your point and answer questions.
  • Always make sure you create a positive environment.
  • Use a clear, upbeat, and animated tone of voice when addressing your team.
  • Make it direct and focused.
  • Make sure you know what you want as a result, and communicate it to your team.
  • Use visuals wherever possible. Our hair and beauty industry is a creative environment, and we learn better when the topic is communicated in an animated format.
  • Ensure attendance is logged and that absentees are brought up to speed.
  • Record information from the meeting for future reference.


For details of the PHAB Salon Toolkit visit