Retain your spa employees by giving them a sense of ownership. Here’s how

Staffing and employee retention are among the biggest challenges facing spa directors. We know good therapists can be hard to find, and hard to keep, particularly in more remote areas.

Shangri La’s Darryl Naidu recently told Spa Executive that he believes part of the problem is that the education system sets unrealistic expectations and doesn’t adequately prepare students for the real world. So, when new graduates enter the job market, they’re in for a bit of a letdown in terms of salary, among other things. Knowing that this is what we’re starting with. Once we find a new therapist or employee, where do we go from there?

We give employees a sense of ownership, both of their own work and of the success of the company. Empowered people are motivated people – and those who feel a sense of ownership of something (your spa) are less likely to just leave it behind on a whim. This means aligning your entire team on goals and directions. It also means keeping communication lines open, creating an inclusive atmosphere, and rewarding optimal performance.

The best place from which to start creating this atmosphere is one of knowing what’s going on with your employees. A good performance management system can help with this, allowing you to see, on a granular level, what’s happening. These systems track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), then deliver reports to tell you everything you need to know about what is going on with your staff.

From there, here are three steps to giving your employees a sense of ownership over their work, and your success.

Create a plan for success:

Once you know exactly who is meeting expectations and who needs some extra attention and guidance, you can map a plan. If you have a retail penetration goal of 20% and some employees are not meeting that, what do you need to do to help these people improve? The solution here might be coaching in sales tactics, or it might be holding a contest as an incentive – or something else. It’s your spa.

Top performers should be rewarded, not in a way that makes lesser performers feel hurt or devalued, but in a way that makes everyone strive to do better. One mistake businesses often make is ignoring the achievements of top performers. But people like to be recognized and appreciated – beyond commissions.

Communicate shared visions and a sense of meaning:

Communicate your objective and your plans to your team. Make sure you and your staff are working towards a common goal and that you all know what that is – and, most important, that they all understand how their individual contribution affects the company’s success. Research suggests employees are more motivated when they understand the impact of their work.

Empower your staff, not just your management:

One of the top reasons people leave jobs is because of a bad relationship with their direct superior. Make sure that your managers are also communicating well and getting the best out in their teams. Be aware of what’s happening on all levels. If employees aren’t performing well, it could be the fault of their manager, and often is.

You don’t have to go so far as profit sharing to give your team a sense of ownership. It’s about creating a sense of shared vision and accountability, an understanding that you’re all in this together.

Once that is established, pretty much everything will be easier, and more successful.


Revolutionize your performance management with Book4Time’s Technician Report Card, available with Book4Time software.

Our secure cloud-based spa software solutions help spa and salon management handle employee performance, payroll, online spa booking, spa reporting, customer communications, and much more all in one place.

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