Be An 'Employer of Choice'
Dr. Mallard Owen
Who are your most important customers? The people who spend the most money with you? The regulars who have brought in numerous referrals? If you included “my employees” on that list, you’re on the path to building a great spa — or any business.
If you build a corporate culture that attracts and retains the best people, you have the best opportunity to excel in the spa industry. Creating an “employer-of-choice” environment should be your top priority.
What is an employer of choice?An “employer-of-choice” organization means prospective employees see your business as an excellent place to work. Typically, employers of choice are inundated with job applicants because of their reputation. Such organizations are usually characterized by two elements:
1. Financial performance. While not necessarily the most financially successful, the business is doing well enough to appear stable.
2. Employee-focused culture. Every business has a culture, which is expressed in the patterns of behavior of its leaders, managers and staff. An employee-focused culture is one that supports staff members in performing their work.
An employee cultureBecoming an “employer of choice” doesn’t happen overnight. Creating the right culture takes time, because culture implies that people share common values and behave accordingly. Culture can’t be mandated; it can be changed and strengthened by the actions of its leaders and through reinforcement of desired behaviors by managers and supervisors.
Here are some important ways to build an “employer-of-choice” culture:
Implement performance management. The three elements of performance management are 1) setting clear expectations, 2) providing appropriate training and resources, and 3) evaluating performance. When these steps are followed, employees have a greater likelihood of feeling valued because the metrics for success are clear.
Perform active listening. Your organization should use active listening techniques with employees in the same way it does with customers. Imagine providing great customer service and using service recovery strategies with your employees as if they were your clientele. Treat them like your clientele, and they’ll reward you with loyalty, referrals and superior performance.
Build supportive relationships. Employees should be coached to work in a way that makes the life of other employees as easy as possible. While this doesn’t mean taking on the work responsibilities of another employee or department, it does mean that good communication exists to ensure no “extra” work is inadvertently passed on because of poor planning and execution. This supportive mindset creates more esprit de corps within an organization — more and better work gets done when all parties have a positive, loyal and encouraging attitude toward each other.
Forge an attitude of excellence. Employees must believe it is within their power to help the organization achieve excellence. It is amazing how one simple question — “How can I be your best employee?” — opens up a positive dialogue that fosters good performance management, active listening and supportive relationships. Staff as customers
Whether your employees are massage therapists, estheticians or consultants, service providers often see themselves as resources that could be hired by any number of employers. If the employer sees this individual as only a tool to deliver a service, a positive, loyal relationship may never be formed. Instead, spa employees may see themselves as a “guns for hire” who work for the highest bidder.
Try this: Take one day and treat every interaction with an employee as if they are your best customer. If you start treating staff as customers, you will see a marked improvement in their perception that they are valued.
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