How to Deal With Salon Staff Shortages


While the world is returning to some semblance of normal, we still have some lingering pandemic woes; support staff is missing.

Before COVID, stylists could often rely on someone else to blow-dry and style a client after they cut and color, but now that’s not the case; many stylists have to do the entire client session by themselves.

Why is this happening and how can we manage it?

Being short on staff seems to be the norm these days, and for good reason.

Many people, clients and staff alike, are still hesitant to return to in-person interactions. As a result, this has cut down on the amount of people in the workforce. Some stylists have also switched to making house calls as a way to continue doing business while limiting their potential exposure to the virus, but again, this essentially pulls them from the available pool of staff.

The transition back to pre-COVID workload has also been challenging as staffers struggle to manage new and heightened stressors. All of this has caused a lack of available support staff for salon owners. So how can we deal with it?

Tips for Short-Staffed Salons and Stylists

Running a salon on a short staff is not easy, but a few things can help reduce the stress on both salon owners and stylists.

Acknowledge the Problem

As an employee, there is nothing worse than working with an elephant in the room. Staff wants to feel acknowledged and cared for, so above all, don’t ignore the problem and leave staff in the dark about the plans for resolving the issue (or at least alleviating some stress).

Make Sure Sick Staff Stay Home

While it might be tempting to keep sick staff on the schedule to reduce the burden on other stylists, this is risky; if a sick stylist comes in and passes the illness on to other stylists, the salon may be even more short staffed, or even forced to shut down.

Get (and Stay) Organized

Minimize friction on already-stressed staff by being as organized as possible. This might mean allowing clients to book their appointments online to free up front desk demands or adding a virtual check-in station. Disorganization only compounds problems and adds stress, so work to keep operations running as seamlessly as possible.

Waive Cancellation Fees

Encourage clients to cancel their appointment if they aren’t feeling well by temporarily waiving cancellation fees. This will discourage sick clients from coming to the salon to avoid a cancellation fee and won’t put the staff at risk of catching the illness.

Work as a Team

Encourage stylists and staffers to recognize when someone could use a break or use any free time to assist someone else. If one staff member is stretched too thin, ask another to step in and lend a hand. If staffers have assigned chores, consider reallocating tasks to distribute the workload more evenly.

Remind Stylists to Practice Self Care

It’s easy to forget about ourselves during a busy day at the salon, and that can quickly lead to burnout. So instead, encourage staff to take regular breaks as needed, whether just stretching, grabbing a snack, or drinking some water.

Reach Out to Peers

Salon owners are not alone in struggling with short staffing. Engage with others in the industry to learn their tips and tricks for keeping things running smoothly on a hairline staff. Now more than ever, communities are looking to support each other, so consider reaching out to peers for a helping hand.

Go Virtual

Offer virtual consultations to cut back on the number of clients in the salon and add a new source of revenue to the books.

Use Social Media

Leverage social channels to find potential new staffers to help ease the workload, even if it’s just someone to help out with odds and ends. More people are on social media than ever before, so spreading the word is easy!

We’re all in this together!

Share This