Spa Savvy - Best Practices for Hiring, Training & Retaining Your Staff
By Judy Singer President & Co-Owner, Health Fitness Dynamics, Inc. | November 17, 2009
In the last several years, spa development in the hospitality and lifestyle real estate industries has boomed. As more and more spas are built, the challenge will be to find, train and retain staff. For those of you who already have a spa, you know that the spa staff are not exactly like all the other staff at your property. They make contact with the guests not only in terms of their service/hospitality skills, but there is also physical contact and oftentimes there is a certain degree of emotional and psychological contact. Many of them are care-givers, nurturers and healers. In this article, I will try to give some insight into the challenges and opportunities for staffing your spa with people who are "grounded" and who possess the right skill set, attitude, vision and professionalism to make the spa a successful, marketable and profitable venue within the hospitality industry.
Staffing is one of...if not the... most important decisions you will make. There are lots of beautiful spas that have stunning architectural and interior design features, high tech sophisticated equipment, customized exotic products, and unique signature treatments, but this is "hardware"...this is the "stage." We need it, but without the "software" (the cast), there is no "performance." You can set the stage but don't pull up the curtain unless you are ready to perform. The staff perform the magic, create the memories, establish the relationships...they are the key to your success. Never under-estimate this.
Since staffing is so important, I thought it would be beneficial to hear from people who are operating successful spas on a daily basis. Therefore, I invited several well-respected spa operators who have extensive experience to share some of their insights and strategies. Kim Huber, Spa Director, Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, NC., and Theresa Clements, Director of Ponte Vedra Inn & Club Resort Spas, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
Before you can start your staffing program, you need to lay the foundation. Based on the type and size of spa, market, desired guest experience, depth of the labor pool, staff licensing requirements, etc., you will want to establish an org chart identifying the type of positions, number of FTEs, responsibilities, compensation, etc.
Here are some of the key staffing positions within a spa: