Management mistakes that could be creating issues at your spa
Thursday, August 30, 2018
If you are managing a spa or medical spa, then you know that it is a position that requires many skill sets. You likely wear many hats, including go-to human resources person, scheduler, client dispute handler, event coordinator, interviewer, premise supervisor, bookkeeper and the boss' go-to person, just to name a few.
Managing a spa requires a dynamic personality with the right mix of business and people sense. However, it's crucial to recognize if you are making some mistakes that could be hurting your bottom line and your staff.
Read my expert tips and see if you are making any of these common spa management blunders.
Don't discount the value in employees' feedback.
It's easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day tasks at the spa and forget to carve out time to sit down and really listen to your employees' ideas and opinions. If your spa has an "open door policy" in terms of management and communication style, then be sure to keep that standard intact every day.
Holding space for an employee to vent about a rough day, to ask questions about a procedure or brainstorm a new idea will do wonders in keeping a high morale around the spa.
One of the first things that employees complain about when they aren't happy at their job is that they do not feel that their voice is being heard. This is not to say that you must speak to your staff without regard for your own schedule of meetings and other obligations, but be sure to always set aside some time as soon as possible so you can sit quietly with them.
Also, let your employee know that you are really listening by repeating back their concerns and taking notes during your meetings. If you have one eye on your computer screen or are shuffling through paperwork as your staff member is speaking, then you might as well not even bother with the meeting!
Be sure to give your staff your full attention — even if it's just for five minutes. This type of management style can mean the difference between keeping a content and highly productive group of employees or constantly having to hire new ones.
Budget for quarterly staff education.
At a minimum, you should be scheduling and paying staff to participate in novel and enriching educational opportunities on a quarterly basis. Educational seminars and in-house trainings can be as easy as contacting your trusted skin care/product vendors for a presentation, bringing in a motivational speaker or having a consultant come in for a talk on a particular topic like customer service, sales or trends in the industry.
Furthermore, you don't always have to bring outsiders in for trainings. Maybe you, as the manager, possess a skill set that you'd like to share, or you have a few employees that would like to explain their best practices for success.
Your employees will flourish in a collaborative, creative and energizing afternoon or evening of education. And for the small cost to the budget (which is usually tax-deductible) you are inspiring employees to continue working at your spa and not think about working for competitors.
In the end, spa employees are compassionate, creative and innovative thinkers that want to enhance and develop their craft. If you do not invest in their growth and education, then they will go somewhere that will.
Be sure to quantify your employees' success.
Good management doesn't just come from monthly staff meetings, mass emails that reiterate rules or talk up new promotions and boring annual reviews. Good management comes from spending one-on-one quality time with each and every employee on a regular basis and discussing their performance.
Ideally, monthly, or at least on a quarterly basis, managers should block out at least 15-30 minutes of their schedule to sit down with every employee face-to-face and to go over their numbers. By numbers, I mean look at their retention rates at the spa as well as their sales numbers and the amount of service upgrades that they sell. Conversion rates matter, too.
How often do first time clients return to the spa to rebook with that particular esthetician, nurse or massage therapist? This is a very valid question to ask, especially when you have a newer employee on your team.
Employees should feel that their performance results are transparent and easy to understand. Plus, a member of your staff shouldn't wait until their annual review to be told that they are lacking in some areas and excelling in others — job development should be an ongoing process!
Spa management is like a coaching job more than anything else. And the best rule of thumb is that you let the numbers guide you. Setting specific metrics and holding staff members accountable to them means that you are either actively coaching people up or out of your spa.
Incentives, incentives, incentives.
Incentivizing staff in the spa industry is a must-do! Many people decide to enter the spa industry because they are interested in a pay structure that is different than a flat salary.
In fact, estheticians and massage therapists learn in school to expect varying pay structures based on performance.
Moreover, some people are not motivated by flat pay — they like to be incentivized. This can be a difficult topic for doctors and nurses to understand because they are used to a different compensation model that certainly doesn't include many commissions on sales and tips.
So, be sure to see that you are competitively paying your staff and enticing them to perform well with bonuses and extra commissions for sales and services.
You could consider payouts that reflect overall spa productivity for the month or quarter. You could also consider a set percentage on a weekly basis.
Find out what motivates your employees and stick to it! After all, the spa profession is a caring and nurturing profession, but it is still a job! Your staff will always be motivated by extra money in their paychecks, no doubt about it.
Incentives can also come in other forms: recognition and gratitude. Individuals tend to work harder for bosses that thank them often and recognize their achievements.
Highlighting an employee of the month or taking note of an excellent client survey goes along with incentivizing staff to perform at their best. Sometimes, it's not all about the money; it's the sense of teamwork, and the positive culture that is cultivated at the spa.
As we all know, people leave high-paying positions in many fields every day because they feel like they are mistreated, not recognized and overlooked. So find a balance of a competitive compensation structure coupled with a reputation for a spa culture that invigorates your current staff and entices applicants to come through the door.
In the end, you, as a spa manager, have a lot on your plate. It is a challenging job that requires constant mental agility, endurance and a friendly smile.
Take my expert advice and check in with yourself and your team regularly to see if you may be missing any of these elements in your spa. Taking care of the employees who service your clients is key to a successful and thriving spa practice.
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