by Mara Shorr, B.S., CAC II-XII and Jay A. Shorr, B.A., MBM-C, CAC I-XII
You have already done the heavy lifting. You created the perfect job description and scoured the internet. You racked the brains of everyone you know for the candidates, did the interviews, and ran the background checks. You hired the perfect employees and you are watching them thrive! Now, it is time to keep the employee.
Every business runs into the issue of a loss in employee morale. No matter the reason, personal- or business-related, boosting lost employee morale affects your spa in more ways than you may think.
Build a roadmap for your expectations. Make sure you have a mission statement and a well-detailed business plan to guide you through your daily operations, outlining your overall goals. Keep it posted in a location where everyone from your staff to your clients can see it on a daily basis. Inspire your staff to help you reach that mission each and every day. Without knowing where you are going, it is hard to ask your team to help you get there.
Pay fairly. We have a favorite saying: When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. It is true; offices are often willing to pay a new employee more, losing 20 percent of the new hire's annual salary on training in the process. Keeping staff fairly paid, engaged, and motivated is key.
Set up sales goals amongst the staff and offer bonuses when they are reached. Whether the bonus is monetary or something else, like an office tablet, an extra day of paid vacation, a gift certificate to a new restaurant, covering their cell phone bill for one month, or a prime parking spot in an otherwise hard-to-park neighborhood, think about what your employees desire.
Provide competitive health benefits. Not sure where to start? Look at costs for medical, dental, and vision insurance and see what you are able to contribute to your employee's portion. Some businesses are able to cover their employees' health benefits completely, while others cover only a portion of the benefits based on how long the employee has been with them. You may know of a colleague who is willing to trade services and waive a certain portion of out-of-pocket fees. For example, if you know of a cosmetic dentist that is willing to provide free cleanings, x-rays, and fluoride treatments to your staff in exchange for their staff receiving a certain portion of your facility's service, explore that option; call it a professional courtesy. The relationship will serve as a referral source for both offices.
Update your paid leave policy. The times are changing! It used to be that an employee was considered lucky if her job was waiting for her after she returned from a short maternity leave.
Now, more and more companies of all sizes are seeking out the benefits of a paid parental leave policy for both genders. Consider this: will your employee be at their top performance after just having given birth? Often, companies without paid leave see a higher turnover in staff who only come back to work because they have to, not because they are physically, mentally, or emotionally ready. They soon realize they are unable to perform and quit, leaving the employer to look for a new employee. Do your best to bridge the gap between the genders, showing your employees that you value active fathers just as much as you value strong working mothers. Show your employees that you are willing to be loyal to them if they are loyal to you.
Work with vendors. Certain vendors offer free product samples, something that your employees would welcome as a reward for excellent performance. You can also provide staff members with free in-office procedures, up to a certain price point. Depending on your specialty, you may want to offer certain products and procedures at cost. This concept is especially key: show your staff exactly how great your work really is and let them brag to all of your clients about you while they feel appreciated. This gift not only serves double duty as a marketing opportunity and a token of appreciation, but is also the best form of credentialing.
Speak up! Give verbal praise at your next staff meeting. Have anywhere between one to four per month, making sure employees feel this is a safe place to voice their honest constructive criticism, as well as ideas for improvements. In addition, if you feel your employee would appreciate it more, praise that team member in private, calling him or her into your office to offer a sincere moment of praise and nothing more.
Host an Employee of the Month program. Include a sign in the reception area and praise in the e-newsletter. Develop a certificate of appreciation for that employee and present it to them at your next staff meeting. Recognition in front of peers goes a long way.
Give each staff member their own business card. List their photograph, title, and biography on your website. This listing serves two purposes: not only does it make your staff members feel important, but the cards arm them with the tools needed to get out into the community and promote your spa. Listing their information on your website allows your clients to feel like they know your spa before stepping foot in your door. These are incentives that act as a marketing tool as well!
Treat your staff as they want to be treated. A lack of respect often stems from a lack of a proper example. Making your workplace a positive environment is critical. Ask and listen when it comes to your team's opinions on office operations. While every idea may not be completely feasible, you will see your spa from a different point of view than you did before. You are guaranteed to hear fresh, new ideas that could lead to the next big thing.
Ensure your team feels challenged and give them a place to excel. Another great incentive includes additional staff training. Look at bringing in your vendor representatives to offer this training at no cost to you; they are often willing, as guidelines and laws allow, to bring in lunch for the staff. Of course, you should give the vendor face time as well, but know they are able to give your team a fresh perspective. In addition, the meeting time amongst your team builds camaraderie.
Consider taking the staff to an industry meeting or conference. This trip not only serves as a motivator and reward, but also as a training tool. Your staff will come back more enthused and energized with their new knowledge. The investment in them will positively affect your bottom line. However, set clear expectations ahead of time for what you expect from them for the trip.
Make sure the job description is a good fit for each individual employee's personality and skill set. If you find the above tactics simply do not work or suspect none of the aforementioned issues are the cause, schedule a meeting with the troubled employee. Calmly address the issues openly, honestly, and in an objective fashion. Make sure each employee you hire has a set job description; the meeting is the time to pull out the description and take a look at how this employee is or is not meeting the standards and goals you have set. After you have done so, give the employee an agreed upon period of time to improve and schedule another meeting in advance to discuss his or her progress.
If you see a positive change in your employee's motivation, that is fantastic! However, look at whether that job is truly the perfect fit for the employee or simply beyond his or her skill set. Do you have a shy mumbler answering your phones and checking out the clients? Can clients hear a smile when the phone is answered? Do you have someone who is not passionate about skin care products selling your newest line to your clients or someone who is computer literate but dysfunctional in charge of keeping the database organized? Consider what the job entails and do one of two things: either rework the job description to fit the employee's strongest assets or wish them well on their journey to their next perfect job.
Mara Shorr, B.S., C.A.C. II-IX serves as the vice president of marketing and business development for The Best Medical Business Solutions, assisting medical practices with the operational, financial, and administrative health of their business. She is a Level II-IX certified aesthetic consultant and program advisor, utilizing knowledge and experience to help clients achieve their potential. A national speaker and writer.
Jay A. Shorr B.A., MBM-C, C.A.C. I-IX is the founder and managing partner of The Best Medical Business Solutions. He is also a professional motivational speaker, an advisor to the Certified Aesthetic Consultant program, and a certified medical business manager from Florida Atlantic University. He can be reached at shorrsolutions.com