Strengthening specialist skills with the ‘WOOD Work’ scheme

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The awe-inspiring clocktower exterior, stunning multi-layered historic interior, and strong social media presence would mean nothing if it weren’t for our incredible team of stylists and the diverse talents they bring to the salon floor. Over the years, Tony has developed something called the ‘WOOD Work’ scheme, which hones the specialist interests and passions of each new stylist, as well as their natural abilities.

The WOOD Work scheme nurtures these strengths into unique salon roles and marketable experiences which are enjoyable for our stylists — they feel fulfilled by the chance to utilise their natural talents — and inviting for a broader range of niche clientele We also developed a unified standard and expectation of high-quality service for all of these specialist roles, in a manner that is streamlined for delivery and embedded as a common ethos for and by every member of our crew!

Tony says: “I also didn’t want to stop at splitting my staff into ‘cutters’ and ‘colourists’ — I wanted to delve deeper, investing in every individual’s strengths and passions, rather than channeling time and energy into their weaknesses.”

The eponymous ‘WOOD’ acronym forms the scheme’s standardised goals:

  • Worry about no-one, consider everyone
  • Open your mind at every opportunity
  • Own your mistakes to drive you forward
  • Do it with energy or head for the door

As well as inspiring staff, the WOOD Work initiative is how we assess our stylists!

We surpass assessment forms to take more direct action in feeding a stylist’s passions and talents back into their role, taking risks to reap rewards. When we notice a stylist excelling in one type of hairdressing service, we appoint and market them as the go-to stylist for that discipline.

With honed disciplines in place, we pay close attention to how this delegation improves the number of clientele they attract, how clients’ raised expectations are met, how turnover is increased, and how motivated stylists are. We track this in a natural consistent manner, only interjecting if performance is adversely affected, which, to date, it has yet to be. The motivational power of giving stylists passion-driven identities and roles is boundless.

French clientele

It doesn’t stop with acquired abilities, though — we also use the WOOD Work initiative to hone natural talents and knowledge. For example, French-speaking stylist Fiona visited us from Switzerland on a work experience placement in 2015, and enjoyed her time with us so much she decided to join the Tony Wood Hair team full-time. Whilst chatting to her before she started, we found that she’s from the French-speaking regions of Switzerland.

Portsmouth’s strong links with France makes it a popular visitor destination for French people, so we gave Fiona the chance to create and run a French-language advert for the salon on Facebook. Boldly embracing her natural and discovered skills and talents paid off, with French comments flooding the advert and a large French-speaking clientele quickly filling Fiona’s schedule.

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How we hone specialist skills

Once a stylist has qualified and has gained confidence behind the chair, and when the time is right, we look at promoting them to the level of specialist stylist. At this time, we interview them and find out what really makes them tick.

We draw out their passions and particular technical expertise and then spend a year with them with one-on-one training to nurture them into a specialist in their particular field. This could be anything from bridal work to session styling.

Tony Wood Hair Curly King Jake

The first specialist stylist role we honed was the Curly Hair King. Jake didn’t realise how much he loved curly hair until we talked about his specialist strengths. After in-depth chats, we concluded that as well as giving Jake a focused role, we would be creating a sellable niche service to market to curly-haired clients.

Over the course of 12 months, Jake studied and practiced all aspect of natural and formed curly hair — everything from products to cutting and colouring techniques and home care recommendations.

We then marketed Jake as the face of curly hair, and the number of new and returning clients seeking service from him for his specific skill set grew phenomenally. As a result, his confidence skyrocketed, and he was driven to become the go-to curly hair in the city and wider region.

And that’s the WOOD Work scheme in a nutshell! Our very own innovative way of helping stylists achieve their goals and fulfil their passions.