Employee Engagement: Is Your Staff Committed to Success?

Lisa Starr
How to engage your spa employees and salon employees

Ever look around the spa and feel like your staff is just going through the motions? They’re showing up at work, they’re servicing clients, but there’s not a lot of energy or enthusiasm flowing? 

We all seem to instinctually know that staff engagement is a key component of our spa’s success, but how do we get it? And how do we know when we have it? Well, it starts with remembering that happy employees are not the same as engaged employees. Staff members can be personally happy, but still not engaged in their work. 

Last year’s Gallup 2013 State of the American Workplace report found that while 30% of employees are committed to doing a good job, 50% of employees are just putting in time, and 20% are actively disengaged. In fact, they’re disrupting their coworkers and driving away clients through poor communications and bad service. Imagine how much more productive and profitable your spa could be if you could grab the attention and commitment of that 70%! 
I know. It’s easier said than done. 

So, let’s start by examining why your spa employees may not be engaged in their work. You’ll see it’s not just one reason. There are a number of reasons that may be contributing to the problem.

•    You may not be selecting the applicants who are the best fit for your business and culture.
•    Your compensation plan may not reward high-performers or provide a career advancement path, causing people to feel as if they’re stagnating.
•    There’s no clear vision and leadership driving the business forward.
•    The spa is not well-marketed and is failing to attract a diverse clientele that would keep your “artists” motivated.
•    There are too many cliques operating in your business, and those who are excluded from the “in” crowd tend to disconnect.

Part of the challenge facing us as spa managers is that we’re not human resources professionals. Our creative orientation sometimes misleads us to believe that if we hire someone who is technically good at massage or esthetics, the rest will take care of itself. But all too often, that’s not what happens.

Genuine engagement in our work doesn’t just happen. It requires developing behind- the-scenes processes and structure to select the right people, and then bolstering that strategy with ongoing training, compensation and career development to keep them mentally tuned in. 

Certainly, spa staff members are interested in their earnings potential, but they’re also interested in opportunities to train and grow as professionals. In fact, their artistic backgrounds often mean that these factors can outweigh financial compensation. That’s why it’s important to create annual budgets that allow the business to provide regular high-quality training for all staff members.

Human Resources consultant Josh Bersin of Deloitte explores tactics business leaders can follow in this post titled “Five Elements of a Simply Irresistible™ Workplace.” While his advice is primarily targeted to large employers, the basics he espouses are exactly the same for spas and small businesses. Put a little energy into considering the environment and culture you’re creating, and it will come back to you in multiples.


About the Author

Lisa Starr

Lisa Starr brings over 30 years of industry-specific experience as a consultant, educator and writer to Booker through GOtalk. Lisa also works for Wynne Business, a leading spa consulting and education company. Among other things, Lisa’s expertise lies in business operations and finances, sales and marketing, inventory management, human resource development, and business process improvement. She is a well-known speaker within the trade show circuit and is a frequent contributor to industry

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