In the spa industry revenues, for the most part, are generated by technicians one service at a time. One therapist for one massage. One esthetician for one facial. One nail technician for one pedicure. Simply put, in order to sustain and grow a spa business, owners need therapists. And equally important, to ensure high levels of personalized service spas need support staff too. Spa receptionists and attendants play a significant role in providing each guest an exceptional and memorable experience. Staff shortages hinder revenues, and compromise guest service.
According to a 2015 Compensation Study compiled by the International Spa Association(ISPA), the number of unfilled positions in the spa industry is estimated at 37, 780 with massage therapists accounting for the largest number of vacancies. With continued overall industry growth, the total number of jobs has increased from 349,900 in May of 2014 to 360,000 in May of 2015 (2.9% increase.) Even though the spa industry now stands at record levels of employees, ISPA notes 61% of spas are searching to fill positions. Staffing and workforce shortages are hindering the growth and sustainability of many businesses. This is a troubling fact.
“To attract a new workforce, managers will need to ensure their business environment caters to the values of millennials,” advises Michael Tompkins, Chairman of the International Spa Association and an Executive Recruiter with Hutchinson Consulting. Tompkins believes the spa world is an ideal environment for millennials. “They tend to be active, healthy and earth friendly. This group is aligned perfectly for the wellness industry.” He adds, “They like social causes and want to work for companies that do good.” Spas do just that. They take care of people, and the environment.
In fact, members of The Green Spa Network (GSN), an organization of spa businesses, have offered their pledge to work for “a greener future”. This group of spas is committed to “promoting the vital connections between personal well-being, resource sustainability, and the health of the planet. They recognize that consciously managing the environmental footprint is the key to their success.” This motto seems to be in direct alignment with the goals of millennials.
Tompkins also noted that team based projects, high praise, and open communication are standards millennials value. This requires managers to be very involved with the millennial workforce. “Managers need to communicate with this group of employees differently” Tompkins warns. Communication needs to be electronic based, and rather than one on one meetings to transfer information, Tompkins feels that text messaging is a more impactful type of communication for this employee segment. He believes that rather than face to face talking, text messages will prove to resonate better with the younger workforce. This style may be foreign to some managers, but times are changing and businesses will need to adapt to grow and retain their workforce.
Jennifer Jacobs, owner of Connect2Concepts (C2C) based in North Carolina, understands first-hand how this group of employees prefers to communicate. After working in the industry for nearly 10 years, Jacobs recognized that managers needed to shift the way in which they worked with younger staff members. In 2013 she created a revolutionary cloud-based software system that millennials have embraced. In fact, currently there are over 4,000 active users in her data base, the majority of them being millennials. “It has been an interesting time”, Jacobs admits. “Our team of developers has really enjoyed supporting the fast paced, no nonsense type of communication that millennials like. And we know if they use our tools, all the better, as effective and timely communication in any business setting is vital.”
With over 40 university and collegiate fitness and wellness facilities across the nation utilizing her software applications, Jacobs has a new appreciation for this group. She describes them as environmentally focused and socially conscious. “They don’t like waste, and they expect information on the spot. They learn differently too”, she notes. “The days of huge, messy SOPS binders are dead. This group requires video learning options, electronic SOPS’s and paperless forms at their fingertips. In fact,” she adds, “they expect this within their job setting.”
To attract the millennial workforce and alleviate some of staffing shortages, managers will need to look at their operations a bit differently. What might have worked in the past, might not today. As Jacobs reminds us, “Managers will need to re-examine their current operational processes and provide tools that the millennials will actually use.“ She adds, “But when you think about it, technology like ours, allows for immediate information at your fingertips, literally, and because we are paperless, we are actually a lot more eco-friendly. We have found this resonates well with millennials.”
“Certainly as an industry, we must stay abreast of technology to remain relevant and” Tompkins adds, “We are actually lucky. This is a group of young people that believes strongly in health, wellness and the environment. And, that’s what we do best- take care of ourselves, others and the planet. It’s a perfect fit.”
Managers must take a new and proactive approach to their business practices. After all, if spa industry leaders overlook the needs of this new workforce, there just may be another industry ready to step in and harness their power.
For more information, please contact email@example.com