It is no secret that in this rapidly growing spa industry there is a shortage of spa professionals across the board, from spa attendants, spa receptionists, therapists to spa managers/ directors. We, as an industry, are then faced with the additional challenge of a high level of staff turnover. So how can we keep staff attrition to a minimum? The answer partly lies in finding out the reason behind such high staff turnover and from there ascertain what we can do in order to correct or minimise the situation.
If we turn to industries facing similar challenges, for example the hospitality sector, we are able to better understand the reasoning behind high staff turnover. In such a global and rapidly growing sector, we have to recognise the highly competitive sector we are in and accept that some staff turnover at all levels will be inevitable. Therapists, receptionists, Spa Managers etc will move on for obvious reasons: better economical conditions, better career prospects, better brand name to have on their resumé, new destination, etc. We also need to ascertain the motivating factors for the candidates we hire. For some professionals, the economic factor is of paramount importance and will therefore move from one company to another just for a higher salary. There is only so much one can do in this instance to retain such staff.
However, it is the additional attrition over and above the normal that is concerning. As an ex Spa Director of various types of spas in different locations, my advice is that Spa Managers/ Directors and Spa Operators need to regularly review the economic packages and benefits, career prospects, training and working environment they are offering, and honestly question themselves whether what they are offering is in line with what the competition is offering and more importantly, in line with their vision and mission. A strong brand name or high economic package will not suffice to keep talented personnel in the long-term.
At Spa Balance we recommend the following steps in order to keep staff attrition to a minimum:
- Review your economic packages and benefits: If you are looking for high calibre candidates, ensure that you are paying them the market rate for that region, as a minimum. Lower salaries will only attract less qualified and skilled staff.
- Recruit the right type of personnel for the particular job. This is not always that easy especially if the spa is small and requires flexible staff with more varied experience. However, an uncaring and unfriendly personality will not make a good therapist, irrespective of the experience he or she might have in the industry. Each department in the spa requires a different set of skills and it is vital to find the person with the adequate qualities to perform the required role.
- Create an optimum work atmosphere: A comfortable, positive and conducive working environment will call for a happier and more efficient team. Ensure that your team looks forward to coming into work and that they are motivated to perform treatments and attend clients.
- Provide your team with adequate tools to perform their jobs: Though an obvious point, my experience as spa consultant has shown me that this is not always the case. For example, a naturopath requires a different ‘set of tools’ in order to carry out a consultation than a massage therapist. Do not compromise tools in order to merely offer a service in order keep in line with what the market is offering. Speak with your staff and understand their requirements. This will allow the spa professional to work more comfortably and provide the appropriate level of service to your clients.
- Training, training and more training: This is undoubtedly one of the most important points. Training defines the standard with which treatments are performed and services are delivered. All your staff must be trained not only on the treatment menu and spa offerings, but they also need to be trained and understand your spa philosophy. The whole spa team must live and practice your Spa vision and mission. We are in one of the most personal industries, it is vital that the people we recruit are caring and nurturing and transmit our spa philosophy in order to deliver a comfortable and relaxing environment for our guests. Provide cross-training in other departments. This ensures that all staff is aware of all spa offerings. It also keeps them motivated and opens up to them the possibility of learning about other areas of the spa business that they might want to move on to later.
- Mentoring schemes: Only a few operators have implemented this scheme, however it is a very successful and should be implemented in more spas. This scheme not only motivates and gives more responsibility to the more senior personnel, but also helps newer and less experienced staff to learn and shadow their mentor.
- Regular performance evaluations: Regular performance evaluations of all staff members not only improve communication between management and the rest of the team, but it encourages both spa managers and the staff to take dual responsibility for the development of each and every team member.
- Staff wellness activities: The spa industry encourages our clients to achieve optimum health and well-being. We also need to ensure that the people assisting our clients achieve this should also have optimum health and well-being in order to transmit the correct energy. We need to practice what we preach. Allow access to fitness facilities and group classes and ensure that your therapists receive massages and treatments in order to relax and re-energise themselves.
- Career development programmes: In an extremely competitive market it is essential that we do everything to keep our staff motivated and take responsibility for their career development. Offer promotional incentives. If you are a big international spa chain, transfer to other locations is a wonderful experience for therapists and spa personnel as they get to deal with different clients and spas. Get the management team involved in other projects so that they are kept motivated and are learning different areas of the spa business.
The Spa industry is vast and rapidly growing, and it is inevitable that the demand for good professionals will outweigh the supply. Spa owners and managers must therefore invest in implementing all the appropriate systems within their spas to ensure that their staff stay on and develop with them for as long as possible. This investment in the long-run will yield higher profits and less expenses in recruiting and training new candidates.