In our previous post, we introduced the current challenges our industry is facing in terms of spa management. This week, we are sharing with you some of the actions we can implement in order to deal with these challenges.
Just like our previous post, the following insights are based on the findings provided by the 2012 Spa Management Workforce & Education report, a document elaborated by SRI International in agreement with the Global Spa & Wellness Summit.
The Main Problem
As we stated last week, there is a shortage of human capital that is currently affecting the spa industry. One of the main reasons behind that problem, which is particularly significant at the management level, is the lack of competitive training. As a result of this, most of today’s managers and directors do not have the right combination of hard (management, finance) and soft (teamwork, communications) skills that are necessary to properly run a spa or wellness centre.
Building A Network
In order to tackle the current spa management talent gap, the SRI report argues in favour of a more proactive and partnership-based approach within the spa industry. Such an approach must include the construction of a network where current and future managers, industry leaders and training providers can interact and seek out support from each other. According to the SRI report, these three stakeholders “must work together to make education, training, and skills upgrades a top priority.”
Connecting Training with The Real World
One of the best aspects of the SRI report is that it provides very specific recommendations to deal with the current challenges. A significant portion of those recommendations is aimed at improving the crucial interaction that must exist between academic institutions and spa businesses.
For instance, the spa industry needs to get better at disseminating information regarding existing education and training providers, spa management internships and available spa literature. Similarly, an ideal proactive approach in our industry must take into consideration different kinds of investments. Spa businesses could, for example, sponsor scholarships for spa management students and finance faculty positions, spa labs and specific research.
Above all, the construction of a healthy network needs to establish good communication channels between the spa industry and academic institutions providing spa management training. Professionals in our industry should communicate with universities, colleges and schools sharing with them “industry trends, workforce needs, curriculum development, and other issues and areas of concern.” Our industry also needs to share with the academic world the best practices for training current and future spa management personnel.
Corporate Human Resource Development
Besides bringing together training providers and spa businesses, companies should also encourage human resource development (HRD) activities. The SRI report, argues spa and wellness companies can “support these efforts by offering forums, workshops, and speakers on the topic of human resource development at major industry events and conferences.”
Companies should also encourage staff to obtain existing industry certifications for spa management, promote ongoing research on HRD, and establish management trainee programmes that can provide recent graduates with the practical skills they need to assume full management responsibilities.
The Need for A New Model
In order to deal with the current challenges and encourage the development of a professional spa management workforce, our industry needs to implement a new model that is proactive, cooperative and innovative. As the SRI report showed us, there are many interesting and creative options to forge a solid partnership between training providers, spa companies, industry professionals and current and future spa directors. If we are able to shape the future of spa management around these synergies, we will be able to bring to the whole process the right promotion of education, training and skills development that our industry needs today.