How To Deal With Negative Staff Members

August 19, 2020 Hollie Power
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Are you a salon owner with a really difficult staff member?

Quite possibly if you’re reading this.

I know that in my business and in multiple businesses that belong to my clients, I see so many people dealing with a negative staff member.

And negative staff members can be terrible for business and here’s why…

Because when you have a bad apple in the barrel, they’re likely to infect everybody else.

Much like if there is a dodgy strawberry sitting in your fridge next to some other strawberries, it’s likely the other strawberries will go off.

Because when you have a negative person who’s being difficult in the workplace, they tend to spread their negativity around.

Unfortunately, that’s a bit of a trait of negative people that like to share their negative opinions with everybody else.  And that can sometimes bring other people down.

In the industry that we’re in, we have to work very closely with our clients.

And that means we have to stay very positive, very upbeat, very focused, very strong, we have to make sure that when our clients come in, and they’re having a bad time, that we can really look after them and turn that around for them.  But of course, if there’s somebody in the mix, who’s not on that same level, it can have a big impact on your business and your client base.

So it’s very, very important that you deal with negative staff members head on and quickly, and either try and fix the problem or remove them from your business.

Now, one of the biggest problems I hear every day is that, the certain staff member might be negative about changes in their business, they might be negative about other staff members, they might be unhelpful when it comes to covering other staff or working hours they want to work.

But they’re a really good therapist, this seems to be a really common thing. They’re excellent when they’re with the clients. And they’re terrible when they’re away from the clients. And this makes the salon owner question whether or not as you keep them within the business. Well, in my opinion, absolutely not!

As salon owners, the most important thing is that our team work together and are connected in order to make sure that every client that walks through the door gets a wonderful experience.

Now if you’ve got Miss Negative out in the staffroom saying negative things to all the other girls and then she walks out and does a wonderful treatment on Mrs. Jones, all those other therapists are going to then see their clients and they’re going to be negative towards them.

And herein lies the problem.


How do you deal with this negative person?

Well, there are a few steps that we can take, but the first thing is to deal with it.

Sounds crazy, sounds obvious, but you have to deal with it head on, whether you want to or not.

Now, sometimes these negative people can be quite strong, so it can be a little bit intimidating. So make sure you’ve got plenty of information to work with. Make sure you know the facts and that you’re not blaming somebody for something that’s not quite right.  Make sure you know exactly where you stand of course, if you’re going to have a propre deep conversation, where you go down the path of sort of disciplinary and that sort of thing, make sure you speak to a company that can help you with that.

That’s not something we do here at Salonalogy, but speak to ACAS or speak to a company that specialises in guidance within employment, just to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row.

Then go and speak to them one to one.

Don’t try to humiliate them in front of the rest of the team.

Don’t face up to it in there, in front of other people.

Take them aside, one to one, take them to a treatment room or take them to the staff room.  Or take them to your office, take them to a coffee shop if you don’t have privacy, and say to them;

‘Look, you’re a wonderful therapist. You’re a wonderful stylist, you’re a wonderful technician, I love having you here in the business. I feel that you’re unhappy, because I hear that you’re saying this, and I hear that you’re frustrated about this. And you seem to be resistant to changes, changes are going to help us grow as a business. Tell me how you feel’.

Give them the opportunity to talk to you, give them the opportunity, one on one to tell you what their problem is.

They may turn around and say ‘I’m having a bad time at home.’ ‘I’m having a bad time in my relationship’. ‘I feel frustrated, I’m having difficulties with another staff member’, you might unlock some information that you didn’t know.

And you want to address with them exactly what the issues are, how it’s impacting the business.

I had this with one girl particularly strongly, and she came back and she revealed that she was dealing with depression, she was dealing with anxiety, and we addressed that together.

We worked our way through it to help her feel better in her role.

So you might be able to help them through it.  And then we want to talk about the future.  We want to talk about how we pivot at this point, and move forward.

 If they’re particularly unhappy, how can you help?  

If they’re particularly stressed out, what can we do?

And if they’re just plain don’t like their job, maybe we need to talk about other alternatives for them and explain to them if you’re really unhappy here, I don’t want you coming to work every day that’s going to make you unhappy.

I want you to be happy, I want to be happy.

Let’s find an alternative path for you.

It’s very easy to flip it back to them and give them the option to say no, I want to stay and I want to be part of the team. 

‘If you want to be part of the team, that’s brilliant, but this is what I expect. I expect positivity. I expect acceptance of my rules and regulations. I expect the team to support and help one another. And that is the only way that we as a business can grow’.

I hope that’s helped you a little bit and resonated with you.


Hollie xx




Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash