Every spa owner, spa manager and hotel manager I speak to these days tells me they struggle to recruit good quality therapists who are willing to stay. Many are doing one season and moving on to their competitors or worse still to a different career altogether.
But why are we in this crisis and what do we need to do to resolve the worldwide recruitment issue.
I am the first one to put a holt on therapists demanding more pay, set working hours, less massage. Let's face it if we start agreeing with them then we are on a hiding to nothing as no one will work Sunday's any more, the therapists will be paid more than the managers and massage will have to be taken off the spa menu!
However, in a very quiet voice I am going to admit that I kind of agree with their gripes. It all starts great when they are first out of beauty college, ready to hit the spa world running and ready to be the best therapist they can be. Then after six months they realise they haven't had a Sunday off in months, they are so tired from the back to back massage that is in their columns and there is no career path in their spa so really the question that is asked "what am I doing here".
Your therapist moves on, you try to convince them to stay even offer an extra 0.50 cent an hour but your efforts are wasted as they are already burnt out.
So what needs to change? WE DO!!!
For goodness sake no one wants to work like a machine day in day out, looking at their working life as a chore. After all these people have spent about €10,000 to get qualified, committed at least two years of training and what do they get? Sore arms and hands, no life and a basic salary set for the next 10 years.
The spa industry need to step up and create a proper career path for their employees. Where do your therapists see themselves in 5 years? Have you ever asked them?
I always did job chats with my team every three months to catch up, see how they are doing and see if I can help with their development any more. My favourite job chats were with the therapists who said they wanted my job! This is amazing news to me, so I would create a training plan to give them just that - the opportunity to grow and develop. A team that is growing and developing are a happy team. They will thrive on the challenge, feel appreciated and often they don't move on to your competitors because they love working with you and feel appreciated. However for those who do move on, this is also amazing because I see my managers and directors all over the world knowing I played a part to help get them there. And believe me, I then have a line of potential employees waiting at my door with their resumes because my spa is the progressive spa - my spa is the place where therapists know they will be appreciated, they can develop and I will mentor them to whatever level they wish to aspire to.
With regards to the lack of weekends off and back to back massage - this is down to effective rostering and how your reception team recommend the treatments. You can check out my online course that will give you new ideas and tips on how to better create this working environment to sustain a spa team.
You can check out the courses right here: https://spa-hub.learnworlds.com/pages/courses