2 ‘No Fail’ Staff Retention Strategies

The available positions in a spa business are limited by the number of people who are required to do the job.  As you move upwardsto the top of your spa organizational chart, the numbers of those who plan, manage and oversee the work, decreases.  But in many cases, those at the top of the organizational chart, are not only managingthe work; they are also doingthe work… and it can be pretty challenging getting all that work done.

And as you move downwardson the spa organizational chart, the number of those who do the work, increases, and this consists primarily of service staff and some administrative staff.  Some of them are happy doing just exactly what’s on their job descriptions, but there are many who are not.

So, here we have management who are unable to finish all of their job assignments, and staff who are looking for greater job assignments 

What spas really need, are service staff who can do their jobs AND help management complete all other pressing job assignments that don’t require management skills.  This way, our spa professionals have a chance to enjoy more fulfilling and varied career paths; and management can get back to strategic planning, managing and overseeing. 

So wouldn’t it make great sense to integrate stretch experiences and succession planning into your staff job descriptions to grow their expertise, retain their loyalty and help you stay on task? 

First steps

Begin by identifying which jobs never seem to get completed within the spa.  Then, identify those staff who fit into one or both of these categories: 

  1. Those who are showing a distinct hunger for greater job satisfaction; and
  2. Those who are your most competent. 

These two personalities are the ones that continually command your attention and whose talents you can’t overlook.  They make you feel compelled to take a role in the development of their career paths, so that they will remain with you forever. 

Recognize the traits that stand out the most in these employees, and moving forward, always aspire to hire those who can emulate those characteristics and keep your talent pool full of quality candidates. 

1.  Stretch Experiences for (happy) developing spa professionals

When your culture supports an environment where stretch experiences are valued and accessible, you are better able to inject excitement into otherwise dormant job descriptions; you can actively challenge your staff’s current capabilities; and transform disinterested employees into enthusiastic, multi-faceted superstars!  In fact, in today’s economy, this cultural shift may be just as much a business necessity as it is an employment opportunity. 

Seek out those employees from the two categories we mentioned above, as they are the two personalities who are your best candidates.  They will often be learning-orientedindividuals who show interest and competency in new skill and behavioral development. 

1st Example:  You need to install numerous policies and procedures into your SOP Manual, but time just does not permit you to keep on top of it properly.  You have an employee who you know has a keen interest in researching what’s current and trending.  She is analytical; works systematically; and is respectful of business processes…all good indicators that she has the potential to become your chief policies and protocols developer.  Why not present this stretch opportunity to her?  Now the skip has returned to her step and the weight has been lifted from your shoulders. 

2nd Example:  You are the current event planner for the spa, but it’s very time consuming and keeps you there after hours whenever there is one approaching, which is often.  You have a great little Spa Attendant who has been looking for more responsibilities, and has also shown a real interest in this area.  You could begin having her shadow you during all event bookings, until she is fully capable of taking over this important business task from your ever expanding job description.  Now she’s happy, and so are you.


2.  Succession Planning for Management & Leadership Roles 

Succession planning is having a ‘talent development mindset’, and in the spa, can play an important role in continually developing top tier employee candidates into Spa Managers and Directors.  Recognizing that staff will not be with the business indefinitely and having a good plan in place that addresses those changes, while at the same time creates career opportunities, is an important component of strong HR planning.   This kind of mindset can effectively serve many aspects of the business, including:

  1. Providing the company with service continuity if faced with the loss of a major player
  2. Improving staff retention by meeting the career goals of existing employees
  3. Reducing the costs of external recruiting
  4. Reducing the costs of management training
  5. Strengthening the core of the business to prepare it for expansion
  6. OR forming a solid exit strategy should you wish to sell your spa in the foreseeable future.

In this case, we want to identify those most competent employees and develop their knowledge, skills and abilities to prepare them for advancement into management and leadership roles.  Gradually involve them in:

  1. Strategic planning
  2. Finances, budgeting and purchasing
  3. Market positioning and promotional initiatives
  4. Staff recruitment, leadership and performance evaluations
  5. Customer service processes and business building programs
  6. Operational  strategies and monitoring systems.

If you have more that one exceptional candidate, continually rotate them into these more challenging management and leadership roles and assignments, so that you effectively guarantee you will have someone on hand to fill the position when the need arises. 

Your proactive succession planning may mean you will never have to hire someone in desperation again.  Sound good?