BLOG: Sally Montague talks staff welfare and maintaining a happy, driven team

sally art team

Sally Montague is the Director of the eponymous Sally Montague Hair Group, which has six salons across Derbyshire.

Being in business for 31 years has taught me that evolution is everything, so we always look at how we can keep things fresh and forward thinking in every area of the business.

One area that requires constant attention is staff and we take their welfare very seriously. At Sally Montague Hair Group we do our own in-house training. Training nights are held every Monday and assessors appraise our in-house staff throughout. We also fund entry into a range of high profile annual awards and competitions in both the local and trade arena. Members of staff in the award-winning Sally Montague Art Team are our priority as they regularly work backstage at shoots and shows and mentor other staff in the salon. When it comes to awards such as the L’Oreal Colour Trophy, we encourage younger members of staff to enter to show them the bigger picture and the myriad of opportunities available in the hairdressing industry.

To keep our staff happy we constantly offer them opportunities and for those who want to achieve there is always something they can get involved with. Each member of staff is on our ladder of success, which is a structured development programme that highlights their level of responsibility alongside the opportunities ahead of them, should they choose to develop their career in either the creative or business arena. We play to people’s strengths and adapt accordingly. Our Area Manager was originally a make-up artist for YSL. I met her on photoshoots 20 years ago and we got on so well that she came to work as our front of house and as a make-up artist in the salon. She now looks after the six salons, managing the managers. As an employer I try to be responsive, fair, adaptable and accommodating, while playing to everyone’s strengths. We also reward and recognise staff at our annual awards event.

We have a careers page on our website, which includes details of our initial training, further education and external courses alongside any current vacancies. We also have an application form on there as well. I always try to give something back and to encourage more school leavers to enter the industry I often give career talks in schools. I was also instrumental in setting up a training salon in my old school. When we revamped one of our salons I gave them the interior to use in there. When it comes to recruiting we look for people we feel comfortable with as this means it’s someone our clients should feel comfortable with, too. They need to look you in the eye and have a can-do attitude. We are always on the look out for new staff to join our ever-expanding salon group. Our standards are stringent; our management team sings from the same hymn sheet and we are very strict when it comes to how our standards are set and maintained. This cascades from the top to ensure each member of staff is well versed in what is expected from them.

I’m very fair and always put myself in their position. If there’s a situation where they assume I will say no, I encourage them to sell me a solution to the problem; I like them to negotiate and if I can accommodate them, I will. When it comes to staff motivation, it’s essential to be approachable and, where possible, respond to their needs. In business you get back what you put in.