Rise Above the Circumstances When Re-Hiring
by John Baldino

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.

If you are an employer who is still building back, then take a look at your market. Start with job ads for businesses in the spa industry like yours. Are they hiring, and for what roles? This may give you some insight as to what your segment of the spa industry can handle. It’s possible that you might be ahead or behind the hiring curve, so checking out what others are ready for could give you reason to gather your decision-makers and assess your reentry plan.

Basic truths about hiring still hold true, despite our quarantine days. Environments that foster skill development, creativity and innovation while holding firm to a core mission based on shared values tend to hire more solid candidates and retain employees longer. People want to know that their work has meaning and positively affects the outcomes of the organization. Fulfillment is a viable retention tool while it serves to attract more competent candidates to the team.

Fear may be part of the problem for some companies. In light of the cutbacks and layoffs from a few months ago, some spas may worry about being seen as weak or unstable. The truth of the matter is that you’re not alone in having to deal with social distancing and mandated closures. “The work done in our facilities was cutoff.” “We could not display our ‘best’ or even our ‘mediocre’ if we wanted to.” “We were limited greatly.” To that end, this story is the same for other companies vying for new talent while trying to bring back former staff. Your organization needs to lean on what it’s doing to come back.

Setting the table by sharing where you’ve been, what you had to do and why you’re better able to move forward will be a story that is unique to your spa. If you are wanting to bring back quality talent and find more like them, then you will have to tell your story. The circumstances of the last few months may be the same for other establishments, but the manner with which you handled it in yours matters to people. Point to the concepts of stability, kindness and mission as you craft your story.

And make sure those telling the story are reading from the same script. That’s not to say it should be delivered like some customer service rote memorization, but rather that it should be one that, in concept and detail, is consistent in leadership’s retelling. It is the story of the establishment, not one person’s plight as to how he/she/they dealt with it. For hiring and retention, this story highlights truths about the spa and why it’s the right place to work.

Lastly, compensation may be affected in your area. With the return of staff, some organizations may still be trying to lag behind previous compensation levels. Some thinking may sound like, “Well, we need to build back up, so we can’t pay what we used to.” If that’s the case, is your competition doing that? If you’re out on your own with such a philosophy, then you may find yourself struggling to fill any open roles as well as dealing with a less qualified team. You may be hurting both your retention and recruitment efforts simultaneously with such thinking. Getting people back to work cheaply will undo the efforts you may have made by trying to tell your story. It will serve as a distraction. Instead, a better path may be to bring on one or two fewer in order to maintain the right level of compensation and keep higher-skilled workers engaged. Think more long term as you can rather than right now. What am I displaying about our spa environment? If our teams are stressed, underpaid and underappreciated, then what kind of work would you expect them to provide to our guests?

Retaining and attracting talent still requires a forwardthinking, prepared approach. Offer the kind of environment that people want to be in and where they will want to do their best work. And when that happens, retention is a given and talent will come to you.

JOHN BALDINO is a seasoned human resources professional and the founder and president of Humareso, an outsourced global HR consulting firm. He is an international keynote speaker for conferences where he shares content and thoughts on leadership, collaboration and innovation, employee success, organizational design and development as well as inclusion and diversity. He is also the proud dad of three amazing young adults.