by Heidi Grimwood
As the spa and wellness industry continues to grow Worldwide, spa professionals are shouting louder that we don’t have enough good quality spa staff to keep up with the growing demand.
But as industry professionals I truly believe it is OUR responsibility to ensure we CAN keep up with the demand and that we create a career path for spa professionals.
Let’s take a look at the current situation:
Quality of Staff
Presently we have amazing, great, good and ok spa staff floating around at all different levels. I for one as a spa manager complained at the quality of massage coming out of the majority of beauty schools in Ireland. There was no way I could have employed many candidates and let them loose on our clients straight away.
High Staff Turnover
We also have the issue of high staff turnover. Staff either jumping ship altogether after a couple of years in the industry and working for a local beauty salon, or changing career completely due to burn out or lack of career prospects.
Then there is the issue of work ethic. Many managers I speak to during my consultancy visits complain their staff are not committed to the company or to their work, often cutting corners and moaning about the hours they have to work.
Now I am going to hit a few nerves with this next statement and ruffle a few feathers – but after all these years my skin is thick and I am ready for the backlash!
IT IS OUR FAULT AS INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS THAT WE ARE IN THIS SITUATION!
I mean all of us who claim to be spa industry leaders and influencers, we are completely to blame for this worldwide crisis, because we have not done enough to resolve this situation.
If you want staff to have the skills that we require to serve five star clients, if you want staff to stay with your company long term, if you want a happy, motivated team then YOU need to make it happen.
Let’s take a look at how:
Training and Development
If like me you are an industry trainer and consultant then we as influencers need to look at ways of getting better training for aspiring spa therapists and managers. As a spa manager I had all this training set up in house but I always managed large teams and this may not be viable for your spa business. If not, then look at collaborating with other spas locally and getting group training done to increase the standards of your therapists massage techniques. Enough of the attitude that we can’t connect and work with our competitors. We are all after the same results at the end of the day so make them your allies not your enemies.
Therapists and spa managers get burnt out because the attention to detail is not monitored in the business. There is absolutely no need to promote and book back to back massage. If this is what you have in your column then this is because you have promoted it and not your other treatment offerings. No one wants to do back to back massage day in and day out. They have trained to be creative therapists and if you do not embrace their creativity then you will lose them either to a competitor or out of the industry altogether.
This to me is one of the most important changes we need to make. There is little opportunity for career development in most spas. We employ, we train them in, get them working on a column and other than a few refresher sessions there is nothing to encourage or develop the staff to grow.
Look at the current structure of your team. Do they have the next level in their career path that they are working towards? Or is there just a therapist and head therapist role with no development available?
Not all your staff will want a career path, but everyone wants to develop their own skills and learn new things. I would go as far to say if I had staff in my spa who weren’t interested in developing they wouldn’t be the type of staff I want on my team.
Create a career and training plan for your staff. Look at Richard Branson, he not only had an amazing career path set out for his staff but he was always doing training and development; sometimes with absolutely nothing to do with their actual job but giving the staff an opportunity to experience new things and open their minds to possibilities.
If you are not happy with the way your spa team is working, take a look at the people working for you. Before you start a mass cull of your department, look at what is in place for them. Do you have enough structure, development and opportunity for your staff to keep growing and developing? If not then create it, introduce it to your team and discuss one to one what their personal and professional goals are. See what drives them. Tell them your plans and how you as their manager and mentor will be there to help them reach those goals. If you have staff who are not interested in the new plans, you often find they eventually move on to different jobs without you having to intervene. It’s a natural progression that you will attract like-minded people into your new look training plan for your spa team and see how they grow, see how your business grows and see how much more you love this beautiful industry we are so blessed to be a part of.