The spa and wellness industry has been facing staffing challenges for well over a decade and today, “staffing” is the most common response from industry leaders whenever we at Book4Time and Spa Executive ask them what challenges they are facing.
Spas and wellness businesses can’t find the qualified service providers and managers they need, and turnover is huge. Meanwhile, the wellness industry continues to grow.
We recently spoke with some industry leaders for a special Book4Time report to ask what they think spa and wellness can do to attract and retain talent – and maybe solve its ongoing staffing problem once and for all. Among the people we interviewed for the paper is Verena Lasvigne-Fox, Senior Spa Director, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
Lasvigne-Fox told us, “At Four Seasons we believe that our employees are the heart and soul of what makes our company succeed and that is why we will maintain our leading position in the future. When hiring, we select carefully and don’t compromise. At Four Seasons we conduct behavior-based job interviews as opposed to technical-based interviews because we want to know who the employee is and make sure that employee values and personality are in keeping with our company values. Finding “the best” candidate is often easier said than done.
“Our company spends a lot of time thinking about how we need to provide this future talent with an environment where they feel comfortable and feel they belong, that they have an opportunity to grow and hopefully have a career with us. Companies need to develop the ability to attract talent as this is critical to the future of our industry, and ultimately any industry. Attracting young talent is a huge focus today for us as a company. Once you have hired talented candidates, invest in these employees, offer them a career, and inspire them. They will stay longer with your company and you have lower turnover rates.”
This is good advice. Let’s break down what we think it means to invest in your employees, offer them a career, and inspire them.
Investing in your employees
Investing in your employees means different things to different people. Some things that it can mean include:
- Offering a competitive wage. It’s important to remember that you get what you pay for and if you want top talent you should be prepared to pay top talent. Investing in your team members can also mean devoting time and energy to proper onboarding and training.
- Sharing your mission, values, and business goals with the team and ensuring that they feel connected to these elements and know they are an integral part of your success. When employees understand why their contribution matters, they are more invested in that contribution.
- Taking the time to get to know your employees and set expectations. When people know what is expected of them they’re more likely to achieve it and these achievements build confidence and make everyone happy – and when everyone is happy, people are less likely to quit.
Offering them a career
A common complaint in the spa industry is a lack of qualified managers. Leaders can create those managers, if they’re willing to put in the effort.
Being offered a career over just a “job” makes all the difference to an individual’s sense of self worth and overall commitment to a role. It’s the difference between going through the day-to-day motions with nothing on the horizon and a feeling of forward momentum with the knowledge that someone believes in you, the value you bring, and in your future.
What can leaders do to inspire their teams? Sharing mission, values, and goals is one thing. Leading by example is another. Being an inspiring leader means setting a standard of behavior, which begins with being kind and treating people well. When we treat people well, they treat others, including fellow employees and guests, well. Other ways to set a standard of behavior include behaving with honesty and integrity.
And according to this HBR article, there is one trait that matters more than any other when it comes to being an inspirational leader: centeredness. The article states: “This is a state of mindfulness that enables leaders to remain calm under stress, empathize, listen deeply, and remain present.”
The more centered we are, the better leaders we will be.
This is just one piece of insight from our in-depth report. To read more from industry leaders, including Karla Herrasti, Corporate Director of Spa in Latin America for RCD Hotels, Nigel Franklyn, The Spa Whisperer, Lynne McNees, President of ISPA (International SPA Association), and Daisy Tepper, Spa Director at The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston,