As a part of the renovation process we are undergoing at our spa, I began an in depth training program for my staff that is a follow through of my initial training program I conducted at the onset of my employment with this spa. It has been a little over a year and I have learned a lot about my staff’s personality, strengths, and weaknesses. This process is essential as a team leader. While my staff are dear to me it is evident some clock in and out with no purpose in their role in the spa.
Most spa directors have varied backgrounds that allow them the ability to relate to different departments such as being a licensed esthetician, massage therapist or fitness professional. When you speak and teach you are coming from a position of knowledge and experience allowing for a complete understanding of what it takes to do the job correctly. With that in mind I want to share an important realization during this training process. One week into the training I felt I wasn’t getting the desired response. The light was not “going on” for them. I am truly excited about my profession and the opportunity to make a difference in another person’s life and I want my staff to relate to that concept. I believe it is essential to give meaning to their role in the spa.
So in my next session I told them I wanted to help them to understand what a spa is actually about. I shared that as a previous wellness professional I used to view spas as “fluff” and didn’t think spas had serious value until I began the integration process of combining spa, health, and wellness myself. My integration occurred as the spa popularity and value was transitioning by consumers and spa developers. So you could say we evolved together. I referred to the book “Spa A Comprehensive Introduction” (American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute, 2009). Everyone should become familiar with this book and its history of spa development through time and throughout the world.
The book told a story that gives each of us a responsibility to make a difference with people. It spoke of a guest in depression and planning suicide and how a staff member took the time to be genuine and concerned about them through a series of hospitality gestures. It made a difference in that guest’s life and changed their mind by making them feel special. It sounds rather dramatic but it’s true; we can make a difference in someone’s life. That is the message and purpose I presented to my staff. My staff got the message and the “light went on”!
Once you have their attention, and they identify a purpose to their role you can now educate them on the proper way to accomplish their tasks and the level of hospitality they are expected to deliver. Your investment in them will give you a return in their performance, which will provide guest satisfaction. While you have taught your staff your expectations and how to do a good job you must also coach them through the process of learning and delivering on a regular basis. Change takes time, coaching, and encouragement, and that is part of being a good team leader. People do go to spas expecting an experience that takes them away from the stress of their lives and creates a positive impact on their health. It allows them to leave the spa feeling better than when they came in. How do we do that? By providing results-oriented training for our team.
Here is a quick guide to ensure your training is results oriented:
- Create an organized plan to set up staff training sessions and a manual that staff can follow.
- Invest in your staff providing purpose to their role and educate them of your expectations.
- Train them in their duties and coach them until they get it right.
- Reward and praise them for doing a good job to reinforce their efforts.
- Remember that training is ongoing and strategic. Don’t overload them.
- Identify those who are ready to “mentor” new staff to begin developing team role models.
- Continue to coach and reinforce to maintain the expectation level and have your team visit other spas for them to determine “best practices” to adopt.