Across State Lines: The Compact for U.S. Therapists/0 Comments/in Podcast /by Michelle Cusanno
Why Staff Engagement Is Key To Spa Success/0 Comments/in Blog, Spa Business, Spa Employee Development /by firstname.lastname@example.org
Ever look around the spa and feel like your staff is just going through the motions? They’re showing up at work, they’re servicing clients, but there is not a lot of energy or enthusiasm?
Staff engagement is a key component of your spa success, but how do you get it?
And how do you know when you have it?
Happy employees are not the same as engaged employees. Staff members can be personally happy, but still not engaged in their work.
A recent State of the American Workplace report found that while 32% of employees are committed to doing a good job, 50% of employees are just putting in time, and 17% are actively disengaged; they are disrupting their coworkers and driving away clients through poor communications and bad service. Imagine how much more productive, and profitable, your spa could be if you could make some inroads in engaging that other 70%!
But it’s easier said than done.
Why aren’t your spa employees engaged in their work?
There are multiple reasons, and it can be a combination of more than one of these:
- You may not be selecting the applicants who are the best fit for your business and culture.
- Your compensation plan may not reward high-performers or provide a career advancement path, causing people to stagnate.
- There is not a clear vision and leadership driving the business forward.
- The spa is not well-marketed and is not attracting a diverse clientele to keep your “artists” motivated.
- There are too many cliques operating in your business, and those on the outside tend to disconnect.
We Are Not Human Resource Professionals
Part of the challenge facing spa management is that we are not human resource professionals. Our creative orientation sometimes causes us to believe that if we hire someone who is technically good at massage or esthetics, the rest will take care of itself. But all too often, that’s not what happens. Engagement in our work doesn’t just happen. It requires the creation of behind-the-scenes processes and structure to select the right people, and ongoing training, compensation and career development to keep them mentally tuned in. Certainly, spa staff members are interested in their earnings potential, but they’re also interested in opportunities to train and grow as professionals; in fact, their artistic backgrounds often mean that these factors can outweigh financial compensation. That explains the importance of creating annual budgets that allow the business to provide regular high-quality training for all staff members.
Human Resource consultant Josh Bersin of Deloitte explores tactics business leaders can follow in this post titled “Five Elements of a Simply Irresistible™ Organization;” while these are targeted to large employers, the basics he espouses are exactly the same for spas and small businesses. Put a little energy into considering the environment and culture you are providing, and it will come back to you in multiples.
In many cases, as spa leaders, we just need a refresh.
We need to step outside of our spa and refresh our skills and our minds. If you need a refresh, consider registering for the Wynne Business online Spa Director’s Management Intensive. Our online course is available on-demand to fit into your schedule. Learn more about this valuable resource here.
Spa Startups: They’re ba-aack!/0 Comments/in Blog, Featured, Seminars /by email@example.com
The recession may have battered the spa industry and shut down many facilities, but we’re finally seeing a resurgence in startups–many of whom aren’t even using the “S” word (that would be “spa”) to describe themselves. “Wellness” is a watchword for many of these next-generation businesses, but other trends inspiring spa entrepreneurs include co-working and organic lifestyles.
Few would-be spa owners understand just how much capital they’ll need to invest to get their new spa up and running–and to nurture it through its first 18 months, the critical make-or-break period. The pressure from competition is usually underestimated in new spa business plans, and these businesses can crash quickly if spa entrepreneurs are over-optimistic and under-funded.
At the high end of the market, spa guests are seeking a new approach to luxury that’s based on authentic experiences rather than over-the-top opulence. That doesn’t always translate into a strong demand for esoteric services, though. The services that guests say that they are interested in and the ones that they actually purchase (especially on a regular basis) can be very different. Creating an appealing but unique menu is a must. It’s expensive to educate the marketplace.
Whether they’re in an urban setting or a remote one, one of the biggest impediments to new spas’ growth is finding enough talented therapists. A solid in-house training program is critical to success in every market. Not only does it improve therapist quality, it aids in employee retention: spa workers value education very highly. Lower employee turnover pays off big in customer satisfaction and pure bottom-line profit.
While there are still spas for sale–a great way to fast track a startup and reduce project cost–many of them are not listed with business brokers and identifying them can take a special approach. Sometimes a would-be spa developer is too deeply in love with their particular vision to recognize a fabulous opportunity in a distressed business. Differentiating a “distressed” business from a “toxic” one is critical.
To help this wave of entrepreneurs avoid the pitfalls of developing a spa or wellness business, a new one-day Spa Startup Workshop is being offered on Saturday, October 3, immediately prior to the Wynne Business Spa Director’s Management Intensive (October 4-6) in Philadelphia’s Historic District.
For more information about the seminars, visit our management seminars page or call 610.368.6660.
Tuition details, including earlybird and multiple registrant discounts.
Discovering the heartbeat of your small business/0 Comments/in Blog, Spa Business, Spa Employee Development /by firstname.lastname@example.org
Most companies today recognize the need to articulate their core values. Core values provide the compass that guides the business. While business strategies should constantly be evolving, core values, like true North, don’t change. In stormy times of stress and change (hello!) Core Values provide a secure anchor. They can remind us of who we are when we are considering compromising our principles. They can help us focus on what’s truly important. They can help us make decisions and set priorities. They can be used as a touchstone when coaching an employee and a measuring stick when hiring a new team member.
But where do Core Values come from? Jim Collins is one of the world’s experts on the importance of core values in organizations, having researched them extensively for his books “Good to Great” and “Built to Last.” He writes “… you cannot “set” organizational values, you can only discover them. Nor can you “install” new core values into people. Core values are not something people “buy in” to. People must be predisposed to holding them. Executives often ask me, “How do we get people to share our core values?” You don’t. Instead, the task is to find people who are already predisposed to sharing your core values. You must attract and then retain these people and let those who aren’t predisposed to sharing your core values go elsewhere. I’ve never encountered an organization, even a global organization composed of people from widely diverse cultures, that could not identify a set of shared values. The key is to start with the individual and proceed to the organization…”
Who should create your core values? Management teams or owners usually initiate the process of clarifying and identifying values, but as Collins points out, this can’t be a top-down activity. If Core Values are simply handed out to the team, they are often ignored or even ridiculed as more silly management-speak, or worse. (As the cynical Dilbert proclaims, “values are a type of emotional illusion common to children, idiots and non-engineers.”) Identifying Core Values is a process of discovery, and for that process to be relevant and resonant in the lives of your team members, it needs to involve as many of them as possible. Agreeing upon your most cherished Core Values is a ritual that, when properly facilitated, can bring all an organization’s members closer together. Articulating core values is not simply an exercise in word-smithing. Word-smithing is important, but it actually comes last.
How do you identify core values? We like to compare the process of identifying and articulating an organization’s values to diamond mining:
- We collect a lot of ore, filled with rough diamonds
- Together, we sift through the ore and carefully select the best gems
- We polish and cut the best gems
- We proudly set and “wear” our gems
How many Core Values are enough? Good management is a lot like parenting, according to business “growth guru” Verne Harnish of Gazelles (gazelles.com). He says, “have a handful of rules and repeat yourself a lot.” That “handful of rules” are your Core Values. Three to five concepts is more than enough for people to remember.
What if I don’t like the Values my team comes up with? It’s extremely rare to have the Core Values process deliver Values that are different from yours. Why? The people in your company ultimately reflect and agree with your true Core Values—that’s why they’re there. One important reason to work with a facilitator in this exercise is to ensure healthy balance in the Values. For example, when you talk about Core Values with your team, especially teams from hospitality and helping professions, expect the conversation to get fairly animated. Teams that deliver intensive customer service are highly interdependent. Positive interpersonal relationships are crucial to their happiness. Their values tend to focus on interpersonal relationships with one another.
The facilitator ensures that all stakeholders are strongly supported by at least one of the Core Values: employees, customers, and ownership all have slightly different needs and agendas. The “kumbaya” values of your team may not acknowledge the necessity of making money, for example. An easy way to describe this is to think about the “three relationships” each team member experiences in the organization:
- Relationships with co-workers
- Relationships with customers
- Relationship with the business
Rather than establish these limitations at the beginning, we try to encourage a very unstructured discovery of personal values as they relate to work. Too many rules early in the process can restrict the free flow of conversation and ideas. Instead ask
- What’s important to you at work?
- Why do you work here?
- What’s usually happening when you’re having fun at work?
- What do you like most about your coworkers?
- What do you like most/least about the organization?
- What behavior do you think expresses a true professional?
If you’d like help articulating and capturing your company’s core values, we’d be happy to help. Contact us at email@example.com, subject: Core Values! And we’ll figure out if it’s something you can do yourself or if you might need to have your process facilitated by an expert. Either way, prepare to see your team in a whole new light. And prepare to keep that light burning bright for a long time!