Earlier this spring, internationally renowned workplace belonging expert and bestselling author Smiley Poswolsky joined the ISPA community in an online town hall event where he touched on the rapid changes to the work environment since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the SpaSoft-sponsored event moderated by ISPA Chair Patrick Huey, Smiley shared his insights and expertise on workplace disruptions and how to engage employees, reduce burnout and encourage team interactions.
The new ISPA talent toolkit will arm professionals with the key tools they need for success in a spa industry where talent recruitment and engagement are at the forefront of focus. Developed by ISPA and member volunteers, the Talent Toolkit will equip spas with the guidance and resources to create effective communication, recruit and interview employees, create in-depth job descriptions and much more.
The toolkit will go live on the ISPA website for members this summer. ISPA members should log in at experienceispa.com, then find the Talent Toolkit under the “Resources” tab. Sections of the ISPA Talent Toolkit.
Getting back in the saddle is not easy. The thought of it might inspire movies and songs, but the actual engagement can be tough. Think about what it’s like to exercise after months of not doing so; it’s challenging, to say the least! Not much may differ in sentiment for people returning to the workforce after the forced hiatus of COVID-19. Sentiment will carry over into the hiring flow, particularly as it relates to the manner in which layoffs/furloughs were handled. Spas and resource partners who communicated well, handled people as kindly as possible and were transparent about organizational stability will likely do better with re-hiring. Trust is a commodity that will still be a valuable currency. Those former employees who return or who have returned will be a mouthpiece for positivity to others who are added. They will be passionate about what kind of team is in place.
Perhaps the most glaring contradiction in the modern spa is the dichotomy between the thoughtful, holistic well-care we advise for our guests… and the chaotic, stressful lifestyles many spa team members lead in private. The novel research introduced in “Walking the Talk” (page 20) identifies a separation in the well-being of top spa leadership and their clientele. Several other recent reports focus on the third group in most business-customer relationships, exploring the larger picture of employee wellness.
Spa management must recognize indicators of team members’ welfare—whether good or bad—and should be proactive in policies and programs to improve their wellness.
According to a 2016 study conducted by the Williams Institute, approximately 1.4 million transgender adults are living in the United States. Since this study was done several years ago, by phone, and only includes people over 18 years old, we know that the true number of individuals is higher.
Whether good, bad or unremarkable, every company has a unique workplace culture. Distinct from corporate ethos or organizational values, “culture comes to life in subtle ways—through shared social norms, beliefs and practices,” Gallup finds. “It’s this intangible (often unspoken) nature of culture that can make it difficult to measure and manage.”
“Culture can seem elusive because it’s rooted in patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors—in the abstract, not the concrete,” the report finds. But while the philosophical nature of workplace culture eludes those of us who prefer the crisp analysis of hard data, great leaders know “it matters to employees and customers alike, affecting outcomes for organizations every day.”
For two years, the industry has puzzled, Where have the workers gone? and even more, How do we get them back? The refrain has grown louder: We are hiring! Experts have been called in to consider other questions: not only How do we find people to fill these roles within spa world?, but How do we retain them so we don’t have to keep looking and expending resources?
A plethora of creative solutions has been offered: going straight to the source and hiring from schools, opening new education programs to broaden the pool of applicants, pursuing the Interstate Massage Therapy Compact (IMpact) to remove licensure obstacles in hopes it will broaden the talent scope, recruiting international talent and offering flexibility and incentives to lure workers. These ideas are well intentioned, and each may meet the needs of a particular environment to achieve the ultimate operational goals; but they may open the door to unexpected legal pitfalls. A bit of caution and consultation in your jurisdiction may be helpful to ensure long term planning and success.
In a town hall meeting recapped in the final issue of Pulse last year, four panelists discussed “The Great Attraction: Turning Resignation into Renaissance.” Their focus was making workplaces attractive to prospective and existing employees.
Recently, ISPA Chairman Patrick Huey asked a new panel of spa leaders to continue the conversation about applying exceptional hiring practices to attract and retain talent. Charlotte Prescott (Fisher Island Club), Marci Howard-May (Red Mountain Resort), Megan Jasper (Gadabout SalonSpas and VerVe Salons) and Justin Vanderpoel (Fairmont Scottsdale Princess) offered perspectives from their own spas about implementing the “renaissance” into a post-Covid world that has new demands and expectations.
Soon after opening his new restaurant in the heart of New York City, Will Guidara was excited to be included as one of the “50 Best Restaurants in the World.” Until he heard Eleven Madison Park’s rank: 50th place.
Of course, it was an honor just to make the esteemed list: It recognizes technically excellent dishes, near-perfect service, and a gorgeous dining room. But Will shared that he had to admit to himself many restaurants achieve those standards of excellence. He realized Eleven Madison Park had not yet pursued anything to set itself apart, while earlier winners were unreasonable in their pursuit of product and innovation. He vowed to be equally unreasonable in pursuit of people and experience.
At his Town Hall appearance at the 2023 ISPA Conference, Will Guidara shared several lessons he learned on the way to becoming the number one restaurant in the world:
Compounding crises in recent years have placed a significant strain on our collective and individual well-being. To address this, forwardthinking leaders are reshaping their organizations around the principles of wholeness, connectedness, adaptability and resilience, recognizing that thriving individuals are essential for a thriving company.
This is even more crucial for health and well-being providers, as people look to us for solutions on how to be well amid the increasing complexities of our global world. By prioritizing well-being within our workplaces, for ourselves and our employees, we can lead by example while providing our customers the services and products they desire. “Walking the Talk: Providers of Well-being Services Must Remember Their Own Wellness” (August/September, page 20) introduced Wisdom Works Group’s Leading in the Health and Wellbeing Industry 2023 study that revealed considerable potential for our industry to prioritize leader well-being. Wisdom Works defines leadership as a stance a person takes to actively create the conditions where all people can thrive, grow and accomplish work together they cannot do alone. This means everyone can be a leader, in management and nonmanagement roles alike.
Why is thriving a goal of leadership? Because thriving is a dynamic and renewable capacity that exists within every human being—plus, it’s a pragmatic skill you and your team can develop to elevate effectiveness. When we prioritize individual and collective thriving, we are naturally developing people to solve problems with purpose-driven, creative, “both/and” thinking, plus use their personal, interpersonal and existential challenges to grow new degrees of discernment and resourcefulness.