By Susie Ellis, SpaFinder Insider
In my last blog entry day I quoted Jacqueline Le Sueur, Managing Director of Creative Health & Training as saying, “Our industry does NOT have a labor shortage. What we have is a shortage of spas willing to invest in training.” In essence we have a skilled labor shortage.
Someone must have forwarded my blog to Jacqueline right after posting because I heard from her right away. I subsequently asked her to share additional insights in the “comment” section of that blog. It’s worth a read.
It has always amazed me that spas spend tens of millions of dollars to build gorgeous facilities, and then when it comes to training staff, there is either minimal or no budget. This really does not make a lot of sense since we know that customers rate their spa experience – not so much on the facility – but on the therapist!
Fortunately, there are now quite a few training programs for spa personnel around the world. We just need more people to be trained as therapists, aestheticians, spa managers, etc.
Remember the spectacular opening ceremonies of this year’s Summer Olympics in China where they had 2,000 people performing in unison on ancient drums? It is a good example of not waiting to find skilled performers, but rather hiring 2,000 people and training them to perform – perfectly!
Of course training costs money. Since our industry is not an exceedingly lucrative one (that’s another part of the challenge) and relies heavily on some of the perks (like great environment and personal well-being), it is unrealistic to expect staff to share all of the burden. Spas have to invest.
I hear that many hospitality management graduates of famous schools such as Cornell and the Lausanne Hotel Schools don’t end up in hospitality management. Why? They are finding jobs in other areas such as finance or banking where they can make more money.
Here is a suggestion…instead of spending, for example, $10 million to build a spa….how about spending $9 million and investing the rest in getting the most talented staff possible for many years to come? No one will miss all that marble, art, or razzle/dazzle tiling.
As Rachel Caldwell, long-time manager of Golden Door in California once said in answer to the question, “What if I train my staff and they leave?” She answered, “What if you don’t train them and they stay?”
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