Sadly, the aesthetics industry is notorious for being filled with drama, and dealing with staff conflict is for many salon, spa and clinic owners, a regular occurrence. With such variation in personality, working in close quarters, constant cleaning requirements and often fast-paced, back to back appointments, tempers are bound to flare on occasion. This industry very much relies on your team maintaining a give-and-take relationship – some therapists are built to handle this well or even thrive in it, others, not so much.
Determining these personality types during the initial employment and interview process can be near impossible, regardless of how many questions you ask about cooperation and working as a team. Perhaps you also fall into a situation where a staff member is creating friction with others but the quality of their work is just so good you couldn’t possibly let them go, which can be particularly difficult in certain niche facets of beauty and aesthetics where it’s difficult to source quality staff.
We all know that sweeping it under the rug will only make matters worse, and eventually unresolved staff animosity will come to a head – most likely in an explosive fight. Not ideal. So instead, how can you deal with these problems head on when they arise, and nip the ‘bitchyness’ in the bud?
Create a supportive environment
Ensure your staff feel like they can come to you for help. Whether it’s assuring individuals upon hiring them or reminding your collective team regularly at staff meetings, let them know that you care about their health, happiness and harmony in the workplace. As opposed to the usual “conflict and bullying will not be tolerated” perhaps try a more compassionate approach. Members of your team may resist presenting you with problems if they feel it’s ‘too small’ or ‘not real bullying’. We know that even the smallest nasty jibe or even a simple expression can cause chaos in a team full of girls. Reassure them they can come to you with anything no matter how small.
Pay attention to the vibes happening throughout your team. As aforementioned, some team members may try to ‘tough out’ the small stuff, sacrificing their own happiness and comfort for the sake of greater peace. If you catch any tense silences or subtle glares, don’t ignore it – ask your team (individually) what’s going on.
Once a staff member has come to you with a problem, you should deal with all involved parties right away. Ensure to hear all sides of the story before deciding how to handle it. You could consider two rounds of private catch-ups with each – during the first, tell them you’re simply hearing all sides, and will come back to them with a solution once you have done so. Present your findings and advice during the second. This of course is up to you, depending on the severity of the situation and how you choose to handle your business and staff members.
Host an intervention
This move should be reserved for situations where your advice falls on deaf ears, or have tried to intervene with the same parties on multiple occasions and the same continues to happen. Repeat offences mean they still have a bone to pick, and if you feel it necessary, could facilitate an opportunity for each staff member to get things off their chest and speak directly to each other about why they’re feeling the way they do, and how it could be improved. Think of it like staff counselling. You will need to closely mediate and in some cases, may have to step in if things get too heated. But this method does work a treat, and usually, therapists can return to their normal selves once their feelings have been vented and resolved. Just ensure to offer some kind and helpful solutions moving forward.