We all know the secret to a high functioning and successful spa and salon is the team. In a high touch environment, the human resource is paramount and attracting, training and – most importantly – retaining them will have a direct impact on your bottom line. Recruitment is always a challenging part of the business, and this has been compounded with 2 years of multiple lockdowns and restrictions. But is it really as simple as blaming Covid-19 for the exodus from our industry?
As owners/operators/leaders, we commit so much time to creating, implementing and tweaking the guest journey and experience, we may be forgetting our internal guests who are just as vital. They are after all the face (and hands) of our business whose performance directly influences each and every transaction.
So as employees continue to reassess their work-life balance and priorities, what can we do to ensure we are providing an attractive work environment that attracts and retains a talented and loyal workforce? Let’s look into a few areas:
Employment: having a team of full-time staff who are happy to work mixed shifts throughout the week – including weekends – may have been the norm not so long ago, but it seems those days could be in the past. Looking at offering part time or minimum hours could prevent employees from searching for new employment somewhere else. Working with local colleges and offering weekend hours for students studying the industry allows them to have real time experience, earn some revenue and potentially line themselves up for a job offer after college is completed. Freelance positions with agreed monthly targets may also work.
To attract and retain your team, there needs to be flexibility in the working options. Old and often rigid solutions (which may be preferable to the employer but not the employee) won’t work. Much like many other industries, work share roles may be needed to allow for more attractive working options for new and existing candidates.
Employee Welfare: they say people leave people and not businesses, so with this in mind it’s important to take a look at the environment that’s been created in your business and see if its favourable to a healthy, supportive and productive workforce. Examples of this are: Do all employees have the tools and support to perform their functions? Have clear guidelines and expectations been set? Is there regular feedback sessions and group meetings and do you actively encourage feedback and suggestions from the team? Are your senior employees leading or managing? Are your employees recognised for their achievements? Do your employees know they have a voice and can speak up if they are unsure, unhappy or have comments and suggestions? Are systems in place to ensure breaks are taken? Is there a dedicated break room for the team? All these areas amount to the same point which is: Are your employees valued and heard at work?
Things as seemingly simple as an ill-fitting and worn uniform that needs replacing but isn’t, or having to leave the business to have a break as there isn’t anywhere dedicated at work, or having last minute changes constantly made to schedules, or unresolved conflict at work, or not having the correct tools to perform at work. These all chip away at the feeling of being valued as an employee and create a negative culture and a desire to search for somewhere else to work.
Investing in People: if we want our teams to succeed then we must invest in them. Even the most talented recruits can become stale without a regular injection of new knowledge and skills and a stale team equals a stale business with the risk of apathy, and disengagement creeping in. Reviewing individual and team performance and identifying learning needs creates positive road maps and demonstrates a commitment to everyone.
Developing the team goes beyond treatment training and retail sales training. What are their future goals and how can these support the future of the business? Today’s Attendant may be tomorrows Therapist, or a Receptionist tomorrows Leader. To support that journey and retain the employee demonstrates a culture of support and continuous growth – a high value advertisement for a reason to work for the business.
Remuneration: while it isn’t always the number 1 reason for employees to start or stay working in a place its certainly very near the top. And while owners/operators/leaders spend a lot of time focusing on the business revenue and how this can be maximised, the revenue generators are often left in a tried and tested formula. The salary of therapists has gained attention as recruitment demand increases but improvements have so far been moderate. Meanwhile, hourly rates of agency therapists are increasing dramatically, so while choosing not to improve a full time therapist salary which may cause them to resign, the end result is paying more to an agency to fill the therapist gap.
What is the true value of your employees and how much revenue is lost when they resign, and a replacement is sought? Maybe it’s time to take another look at your team?
Justin Graves – European Consultant