The Secrets to Recruiting and Retaining the Spa Industry’s Best

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Leadership is not something that one can fake. By definition, it requires the consent and enrollment of a team, glued together by trust. Leaders who generate trust enable others to commit fully, be authentic and honest, stretch beyond their limitations, be open to change and to flourish into their own leadership. Those who fail to generate trust facilitate disengagement, gossip, dishonesty and disloyalty. A recent Gallup poll estimates that 70 percent of American workers classify themselves as “emotionally disconnected” from their workplace. It is estimated that these disengaged employees cost the U.S. between $450 and $550 billion each year because they are more likely to steal, negatively influence coworkers, miss workdays, leave their jobs and drive customers away. In this article, we offer you a few S.M.A.R.T. tips to create the team of your dreams!

Tip 1: S.M.A.R.T. leaders create from the heart, and inspire others to unite around a common purpose. They understand that when you lead with purpose, profit follows. Strategy entails understanding and creating a purpose for your business and consistently enrolling your team in that direction. S.M.A.R.T. Tip: Ask yourself this question: As an organization, who are we? I am not asking what you do or how you do it. I am asking, “What is your organization’s fundamental reason for being?” Examples from other companies include: ING (empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and in business); Kellogg (nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive); and IAG (helping people manage risk and recover from the hardship of unexpected loss).

Tip 2: S.M.A.R.T. leaders foster lifelong strengths in their team members. They tune into and focus on positive qualities. By maintaining this focus, they motivate others to reach their full potential and become the leaders they wish to have in their organization. They are committed to an ongoing culture of building and developing healthy, happy human beings, rather than putting out fires or “rewarding” good behavior once a year at their annual party. S.M.A.R.T. Tip: Stop calling attention to behaviors you do not wish to have as part of your culture. Look for and focus on the behaviors you wish to foster. Give specific, authentic feedback and rewards for this behavior. Notice your team moving in the direction you desire.

Tip 3: S.M.A.R.T. leaders are purpose-driven and understand that what they want to achieve for themselves and their business will benefit humanity in a deep and meaningful way. They base their hiring strategies on the “Alignment Factor”, looking for others who want to make a difference in a similar manner. Rather than hiring based on work experience or technical skills (the number one mistake made in the beauty industry), they scout talent who care about their cause so much that it influences their work behavior. S.M.A.R.T. Tip: Weave purpose into your hiring process. Ask questions such as, “When you were younger, did you feel you were born to make a difference? In what way? Have you ever dreamed that your work would make the world a better place? How?” Hire those who are coachable and resonate with the purpose of the business. Skills can be taught. Purpose cannot.

Tip 4: S.M.A.R.T. leaders understand that to gain the respect of their team, they must respect them. They approach individuals as whole, worthy and essentially great, rather than seeing them as broken and in need of being fixed. Looking at them through this lens enables each situation to be an opportunity for building and developing leadership rather than a crisis in need of punishment.  S.M.A.R.T. Tip If you are looking for increased productivity, greater employee retention and loyalty, and increased customer satisfaction, make building a culture of respect your number one priority. Practice seeing individuals in your organization as worthy (even with all the adversity and challenges they may bring), and see how this changes the way you interact with them.

Tip 5: Trust is the benchmark of an effective working relationship. It is the safety glue that holds together a culture of authenticity, commitment, productivity and happiness. S.M.A.R.T. leaders understand that to create trust they must keep their promises (both spoken and unspoken); they must also be competent, consistent, committed and caring. Teams with a trusted leader don’t waste time in petty disagreements and power struggles. They are happy to build the vision of the organization.  S.M.A.R.T. Tip Do not commit to anything you are not willing to create. Empty promises, missed deadlines and lack of communication chip away at trust. Show your team that they can trust you. In return, they will be trustworthy. An effective leader must be able to provide an environment in which people can excel. This requires balancing strategy, motivation, alignment, respect and trust to create a wonderfully engaged team that is successful at building something worthwhile. Take an honest look at the qualities you are bringing to your team.

Author: Beverlee Garb, M.P.A., has been part of the spa beauty industry for more than 20 years as an esthetician, spa owner, spa consultant and spa director. She combines her understanding of the beauty industry with her degrees in economics, public policy and metaphysical studies to help organizations build happy teams.


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