Do you value your staff and want them to stay with you for the long haul? Do you want to do everything you can to help them reach their full potential? Then you’ve come to the right place! As part of ABIC’s commitment to improving the opportunities and working conditions for our industry at large, we also want to provide as much support as possible for you, as an individual business, to flourish. And since your staff are the lifeforce of your business, we’ve put together some tips on how you can create a working environment that will help give them the best chance of success.
We already know that an individual’s personality is as unique as their fingerprint. And yet, once onboarded, many business owners treat their staff identically in the workplace, offering the exact same hours and treatment bookings from one to the next. Of course there is nothing innately wrong with this, but a cookie-cutter approach to your staff may be allowing each individual to hit their peak potential. Is there perhaps scope to tailor roles in your business around the individual?
For example, are you flexible with hours to allow for the early birds to work mornings and the night owls to work late? Or perhaps some of your therapists would really appreciate roster adjustments to allow for better synergie alongside parenting duties? During the initial onboarding process, many passionate and dedicated therapists will avoid setting boundaries and say yes to absolutely anything if it means securing a job with you. But circumstances can change over time, so it may be worth discussing things like hours, commitments, and hobbies outside of work to see whether you could better accommodate each team member’s own unique lifestyles. Another area in which it may be worthwhile assessing is which treatments your staff love doing. We’ve seen countless cases of therapists leaving their roles because they no longer wanted to do massages all day, for instance. In some cases, this could have been resolved with a simple conversation between therapist and manager, but for some individuals, it can be extremely difficult to even summon the courage to request less massage bookings. Many would simply prefer to resign and move on. By checking in with your staff individually and having an open conversation around the treatments they love to perform and the ones they don’t, you could potentially avoid losing valuable staff. We understand that this may not be possible for every business, particularly small ones, but if you have the scope and flexibility to book certain staff predominantly with certain treatments, you’ll create a culture based on happiness and work satisfaction that will keep therapists wanting to stick around.
By that same token, establishing each of your staff members’ unique passions can also provide some direction in further training and upskilling. Our first instinct is to provide training for our staff in areas where they are lacking or need to improve. However, many of the world’s various philosophies on happiness, purpose, and life satisfaction have one thing in common - we find joy when we blend together something that we both love doing AND are good at. If a staff member isn’t particularly good at something, it may be because they hate doing it. As an example: if a staff member is poor at waxing, it’s likely because they despise doing it and therefore haven’t dedicated the energy or desire to improving. So, is it the best idea to send them to waxing training and forcing them to do something they hate every day? Another great example is retailing. Your staff who hate retailing are not going to get better at it simply by being sent to a retailing 101 seminar. Find out their passions - do they love cosmetic chemistry, or natural ingredients, or skin anatomy? Send them to training in these areas instead, and there is a good chance their retailing will improve as a byproduct, as they can incorporate their new-found knowledge (in an area they are passionate about) as part of their sales technique.
This arguably may be the most important aspect of leadership, allowing your staff to reach their full capabilities, and keeping your staff around longer. There are so many job opportunities in our industry that staff won’t stick around if they aren’t happy. And for most, being paid well isn’t enough on its own to keep your staff on your books, let alone thriving. We as humans want to feel listened to, appreciated, validated, and that we matter. The younger generations don’t live to work, so if they aren’t getting the aforementioned aspects from their jobs, they will simply move on. And appreciation doesn’t have to mean expensive gifts and rewards or staff dinners. It can be simple things like providing platforms for your staff to give feedback, which lets them know you care about their opinions. You can thank, reward and acknowledge them in ways that don’t cost you a cent - sharing staff wins on a board or group chat, having a milestone ‘gong’ or bell ceremony that you whack when you reach a goal...get creative, and above all, be present. There’s nothing more off putting for staff than an absent manager, or nobody ever saying ‘thank you’ or ‘how are you?’ or ‘you’re doing a great job’.
Remember, building your team doesn’t end with the onboarding process. Creating job satisfaction is an ongoing task that requires hard work and dedication. A thriving team isn’t just about the bottom line, and is equally about your individual staff’s happiness, joy, and motivation. If you aren’t present, if you aren’t motivating them, if you aren’t checking to see if they are still passionate about their role, you not only won’t be getting the best from them, but you run the risk of losing them. Unlock their full potential, and you may just discover the best team you’ve ever.
By Mala McAlpin