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Motivating Your Staff (and Yourself!)

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What motivates you to get up and do your job every day? Is it the money you make, the prestige of owning, managing or working in a spa? Or is it something more like enjoying the type of work you do, knowing you make a difference in others’ lives, or feeling like you are a part of a business or industry that really matters?
Whatever your answer(s), the truth is that most people in the skin care or spa business are motivated by many things other than a large paycheck.

Even though we all need to earn a living and some people are driven by money, most professionals in the spa industry are fueled by other passions. Those of us who care for others through our vocation want the work we do to have meaning, purpose, and impact. We want to leave a mark on the world, our clients, and our workplace. And we want to be happy while we do what we do, wherever we are doing it.
But even with these great intentions and ideals about work, anyone can get stuck in a rut, losing motivation and drive… and dragging down the people around us. As such, I wanted to share a few thoughts on how to motivate yourself and your staff each and every day.

Set Clear Expectations
Believe it or not, one of the most un-motivating things many employees face is a lack of clear expectations of how, what, where, when, and why to do their job. Without knowing exactly what is expected of them, people in all areas of the spa can lack confidence, clarity, and drive at work. Thus, overall morale and productivity both suffer.
To get past this issue, make sure everyone on your staff knows the ultimate goals and mission of your company, their department, and specific job . Have a job description for each position and outline their role or responsibility to the company. Also, provide descriptions or outlines of all key procedures from answering the phone to performing a classic facial. And of course educate your staff on the policies and procedures you set in place, preferably as a part of their initial orientation and training.
For yourself, take a look at the daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that you do as a part of business. Assess whether they are all necessary or effective in fulfilling your personal mission at work – and if you actually like doing them. If you can, delegate the tasks that someone else could do as well or better. Also, determine if every item on your running to do list is a “must do” or if anything can be eliminated. Of course, do the activities that are vital for the business but eliminate the “should dos” and other things that serve no real purpose in accomplishing your goals or mission.

Ask and Listen
Spa professionals as a group are generally artistic and giving people who got into this business because they enjoy helping people. The help and care they offer is certainly a gift to their clients but can also be a key element of success for any spa business. As such, regularly asking your staff for their input, ideas, feedback, and suggestions about how to make your business better can really get them excited. It helps them to evoke that creative, care-giving side of themselves in a different way and engages them in the business.
At your next staff meeting, bring an issue, problem, or idea for the group to brainstorm about. Ask for positive suggestions and constructive ideas only – this is not a time to gripe or complain. Write all the ideas on a dry erase board or have someone take notes. Then ask for everyone to vote on the best ideas to try out for solving the problem. While not all problems can be discussed or solved this way, by listening to suggestions and implementing some of their ideas, the staff’s level of interest and enthusiasm for the spa or clinic’s success increases significantly, especially if this is a regular practice and not just a one-time event.
To keep yourself motivated, learn to listen to your instincts, gut feelings, and intuition both at work and in personal situations. If you find areas of concern, brainstorm on paper about how to make the situation better for yourself whether this means shifting your hours, taking a longer lunch break, or letting go of a particular client or service. Be honest with yourself about what is working and what needs to change. Then take steps to improve the issue!

Give Attention and Appreciation
Many business owners get so caught up in their own tasks and worries that they forget to do the most simple things to engage and motivate their staff such as greeting them when they pass in the halls or stopping to take a moment to see how things are going. Even worse, they forget to thank staff members for doing a great job and for making a difference in the company.
I suggest you have a little fun while recognizing and reaching out to your staff. Create funny awards or incentive contests where people could be recognized for having neatest/messiest locker or work area, working with the toughest client of the week or being the first or last person to arrive at a staff meeting. One manager I know threw a piece of trash on the floor in a hallway and gave a gift certificate to the person who picked it up - after five other people walked by it. After that the rest of the staff started paying much closer attention to “small” details than they had before. And they were definitely motivated to go beyond their previous efforts to make the business run smoothly.
Another ertificate to the person who stopped to pick it up. (5 other people walked by it without even noticing it was there.) After that everyone was motivated to pick up trash and pay attention to other details in the business.
Another idea is to create a brag board or other visible avenue for sharing compliments and praise with and for each other on doing a job well. When people get a compliment from a client, go over and above for the spa or help out a fellow staff member; details are posted on the board for everyone to see. This not only promotes good will and kind feelings between staff members but also encourages people to do things worthy of getting added to the board.
To cultivate a thankful attitude in yourself, write out a gratitude list to document all the things you have to be thankful for. Better yet, write thank you notes to clients, vendors, mentors, and others who have helped you achieve your goals, supported your practice, or simply been there for you. This not only makes you feel good but also spreads the energy of appreciation to others.

Felicia Brown, LMBT is a licensed massage therapist and the owner of Spalutions, a firm that provides continuing education, business consulting, and marketing coaching to spa and wellness professionals. Brown is also an approved NCBTMB provider and Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach. 336-508-0790, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , www.spalutions.com

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