When my phone rings, more often than not, there is a General Manager or owner on the line feeling close to the end of their rope. They are so passionate about their business, so excited for something amazing to take shape and so baffled by the “if you build it they will come” motto not panning out exactly as they would have hoped. My job is to help the owners and General Mangers take a step back, take a deep breath and start looking at the business from the foundation up. Like any solid structure, you need a strong foundation to build upon. This is what we do, make sure the foundation is stable and start to build upward and outwards!
Every spa business can benefit from having a spa consultant come in and work with their team to bring about change. A spa consultant, whether it is JMPankey Partners or one of our esteemed colleagues, will bring not only years of experience to the table but the talent in operational systems to detect what is not working in a spa business and help facilitate change.
All sounds like a dream, right? Call the consultant and they swoop in to fix all of your spas deficiencies, rallies the team and get you back on track to reach your personal and business goals. Sounds good to me too. Unfortunately, rallying the team is often a challenge.
So, why do employees fear consultants? There are many answers, but in summary, many employees have fear of change, fear of the unknown, closed-mindedness, and fear of learning something new. This, in turn, makes it difficult to improve your spa business. Undoubtedly, a consultant can bring about great change and put your business on the right path, but until you and your spa employees put the action into practice, it’s of no use.
Moving forward, let’s contemplate the famous quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt saying, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Or my personal favorite “Fear is only temporary. Regret lasts forever.”
Fear of Change
Change can be a scary thing. Your spa employees are used to things being a certain way. If they see a consultant, they may be scared to get out of their comfort zone. INC explains it saying, “Over time, your employees become comfortable with the knowledge they possess, the skills they have mastered, and the nuances of their jobs. This is what gives them a sense of competency. Change threatens this safety.”
Instead of allowing your employees to see change as a bad thing, we aim to empower them and reinforce the idea of career growth. Who doesn’t want to continue to grow in their field and be part of the best spa in your area? Verbally uplift your spa employees and let them know that you are changing for the better and that their jobs aren’t in jeopardy. You have not decided to bring a consultant in because you’re doing it all wrong, you are bringing the consultant in to help everyone do it a little better. Although a consultant may challenge some of the previous routines, as a spa you’ll be better off for it.
Fear of the Unknown
Peter Barron Stark Companies quotes this surprising statistic explaining, “Based on data from our employee opinion surveys, only 66.5% of employees surveyed feel they are kept-well informed about changes going on in their organization.” That means that 33.5% of employees may not feel in the loop of what’s going on in your spa. When you bring in a consultant, no matter how great they are, employees may feel uncertain. These spa employees may recognize areas where you can grow and even where they can improve but are nervous about the changes needed to get there.
Instead of keeping things hush hush with your consultant, allow time for employees to ask questions. Hold weekly meetings as a spa team and let them know of any big changes coming up ahead of time. Involve them in the discussions! Loyal employees will feel appreciated and “in the loop.” A little information will go a long way. Your spa employees will feel as if they are included in the consulting process and will take ownership of the new implemented changes as a result.
Many employees are satisfied with how things are run at your spa, even if you aren’t as the owner or manager. Staff is often unreceptive to new ideas at first. Some may be happy with their work and think it is beyond reproach. Questions like, “Why does this benefit me?” and statements like, “I think what we had before was fine,” may occur. One of the easiest ways to overcome a closed mind is by showing someone the end result. If you have examples of spas that have gone through successful consultations, share this with the team. Show them the “light at the end of the tunnel” and the “why” behind the changes being made. If in the end an employee is still unwilling to take on new challenges or think outside the box, you may have to have a one-on-one discussion with them.
Fear of Learning Something New
It can be scary learning something new. Spa employees may be afraid of looking bad or not getting something right away. Everyone at one time has felt the stress of learning something new and failing. To help employees overcome this fear, that can cause them to be paralyzed, encourage them to do their best. Be patient with the changes and give it time. Set out clear expectations and don’t be afraid to communicate! If there are things that the employee needs to know to work with the new changes, make sure they have adequate training. Assure each employee that you will work with them that that together you will improve your spa.
In closing. I have never walked into an environment as a consultant that at least some of the employees and managers were apprehensive to accept me as an instrument for change. Fear is the primary issue and this is why it is up to the Executive Team to communicate the goals and intentions prior to a consultant’s arrival, reassure staff that this is in their own best interest and explain how the work of a consultant will not only improve the overall performance of the spa but their individual performance as well. Keep an open dialogue and encourage your team to do so too. Collaboration and openness can yield extraordinary results!