Staff productivity is vital to having a successful spa business. If your employees aren’t productive, they’re not adding to the business, which means they’re taking away from the business you could – and arguably, should have.
The thing about that is that you can only do so much during the hiring process to ensure you get people on board your spa business who both understand and share your vision, and are eager to become ambassadors for that vision to your guests.
The rest is a relationship between you as manager or owner, and them as individuals and teams.
Sometimes, people will take to the principles of productivity naturally – and when this happens, you’re a lucky spa manager.
Other times, you’re going to need to devote time and resources to coaching people, and guiding people towards productivity, both for the sake of your spa business, and for the sake of their own personal satisfaction at jobs well done, guests well served, and a team working well together.
This is where your skills as a leader will be tested. It’s up to you to bring productivity out of your staff, or at least to guide them in ways that help them find the pleasure of productivity for themselves.
That means not only engaging with your staff but listening to them too, so you can make sure they have all the resources they need to be productive in your spa business day-to-day.
Increasing Staff Productivity – 7 Steps to Success
Be Clear in Communicating Your Expectations
Lots of employers and managers everywhere – not just in the spa sector – make an assumption that what they want is clear or obvious to their employees.
There might be a grain of general truth in that – happy guests and more money in the business might reasonably be considered to be no-brainer goals. But the drilled-down hows of those goals will change from spa to spa, and from team to team.
Don’t be vague, and then get mad when your team fails to deliver the obvious productivity goals you were expecting.
To increase employee productivity, you need to take the time to make sure your team knows exactly how you’re defining success and productivity, both individually for their role profile, and collectively within their team profile.
Make your goals – both individual and team – crystal clear.
Where there are targets, make them clear from the first day on the job. Do not intimidate your staff – you might find you yourself have been counterproductive if you use targets as a stick from day one – but help them feel they can succeed in achieving your goals for their role and team.
Use Available Data
Once you’ve set goals and communicated them clearly, you need to track the progress being made to the achievement of those goals through available data.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are ways to measure performance, both of staff members and of the business as a whole.
You should have a software system in place that can tell you what you need to know about how your spa is running – elements like your revenue, your retail figures, spa software, occupancy, and the like.
Determining the role each staff member is playing in each of these elements should be at least partially discoverable by a deeper dive into this data.
Staff KPIs could include things like request rates, repeat guests, any feedback notes or complaints, etc.
You should be able to tell who is selling how much of what products, who is being requested by guests for treatments, and the like. This is only a partial picture, but it’s a very good start at getting an overall idea of who’s doing what, and how well.
Respect Your Employees’ Individual Value
As we said, the data can give you a partial picture of which staff members are doing what towards the overall productivity of your business.
But the data is only part of the story. Find out how much unique value each staff member is contributing to your business and your brand with guests.
That means looking beyond strictly profitable personalities who bring in more guests or upsell the most.
In a spa environment, people will also appreciate calmer personalities who simply make them feel better about their time at your spa.
The point of this is that in a spa business especially, there are different ways to be productive – and ideally, your KPIs should be flexible enough to account for these different personality pathways.
Beware too rigid a definition of productivity – unless you fully understand the picture of what happens on a day-to-day basis, you might run the risk of downgrading or unnecessarily challenging staff who bring unique value to your spa offering.
Give Feedback and Coach Staff Where Needed
On the other hand, if people are not conspicuously performing to the level you had hoped, maybe they need some help and guidance from above.
Be available to give that guidance, and don’t be afraid to speak first, because sometimes your staff might not feel able to raise the fact that they need some help.
Always give your feedback in a constructive way, rather than in a negative or blame-heavy way. Make sure you give regular positive reinforcement, too, so your staff doesn’t build the myth of you as just the “angry boss.”
Everyone in your team will feel more productive – or at least facing in a productive direction – if you communicate with them on a regular basis, rather than just dropping on them from a height when they’ve been less than ideally productive.
I used to hold semi-monthly meetings with the staff to discuss the spa’s general progress and involve them in decisions regarding new developments. This proved to keep the communication channels open, rendering the managers approachable, and eventually criticism was more accepted.
Reward Both Performance and Improvement
Feedback should be something your staff is looking forward to from you because you should be their team leader.
Whenever you can, offer performance incentives so they have a real-world goal to strive towards, as well as your vision for your spa.
Ideally, though, you should avoid creating an incentive program that only regularly rewards a small band of ‘top’ staff, and make sure your rewards and incentives can be won by anyone who deserves them.
Without that degree of thought and design in your incentive scheme, you can end up with a situation where your team divides against itself, with major league and minor league players in a self-defining silence they can’t break to you, and where anything you try to do to redress the situation almost instinctively deflects off those who feel like they’re in the minor league.
Make Sure Everyone Has What They Need To Be Great
The proverb says that bad workmen blame their tools. While there’s some truth in that, never be afraid to acknowledge a lack of the appropriate tools to help your team achieve productivity and greatness.
If there are tasks that can be automated, computerized, or sped up, automate them, and take the burden of working hard on finicky tasks off the shoulders of your team.
Ideally, design systems that allow your staff to access guest information ahead of an appointment, so they can get into the zone that the particular guests want and need.
Making any guest preferences available before a visit means both that your guests get what feels like a personalized experience, and that your staff has everything they need to give the guests the level of service you want them to have.
Those preferences could include a history of treatments, their favorite scents or music choices, or their most regularly chosen staff for treatments and therapies.
You could record their robe and slipper size so they can be ready and waiting for the guests when they arrive. Record their beverage preferences.
Record any feedback the guests have given on previous visits. Everything that you can record about individual guests gives you the opportunity to create a personalized relationship with your guests, but more than that – giving your staff advanced knowledge of the visit of a guest, and access to all the available guest data, sets them up for success.
In addition to this, you can make lots of other tools available to your staff, to help them give your guests the experience you want to give them.
- Access to advanced schedules can help staff plan their days to the maximum of their efficiency and productivity.
- Access to inventory systems means you should never run out of all the equipment and products your staff needs to make the most of their day, so they can shine.
- Maintaining your online systems for booking, intake, and payment means your staff is never stalled by technological breakdowns or failures, so they can maximize their performance, and never feel like they’re fighting to succeed against the tools you’ve given them.
Trust Your Staff
While you should always be on hand to give positive feedback, reassurance, and guidance when it’s necessary, there’s a point where the best thing you can do to ensure your staff is productive, is to let them fly solo and trust that they know what to do.
Showing that trust will inspire them and reinforce their self-confidence that they can fly without the net of your overt observation. That will empower them – and when the team is empowered, it will be productive and work well together.