More than 150 spa-related businesses attended the eighth SPATEC Europe
networking conference in Rhodes from 7-10 May, which focused heavily on the importance of employee engagement.
The educational seminar, led by John Frieda Salons’ general manager Berni Hawkins, spotlighted employee engagement in spas worldwide – using research from the 2012 Gallup survey Engagement at Work
of 1.4 million employees between 2007 and 2009. Gallup identified that businesses scoring highly for employee engagement had nearly double the odds of success – based on a composite of financial, customer, retention, safety, quality, shrinkage and absenteeism metrics.
Speaking exclusively to Spa Opportunities, FRHI's Andrew Gibson
opined that recruitment of the right people is crucial for a spa’s success. “It’s about that can-do attitude and presentation. No matter what culture someone comes from, it always starts with a smile,” he said.
“We want to work with people we like, so I base my recruitment on attitude. Once you have ascertained that the staff have the right attitude, you can then train and motivate them.”
Gibson pointed out legal issues affecting recruitment
for spas. “Sometimes it’s better to expend energy on recruiting the right person, because it is hard to get rid of the wrong ones due to labour laws.
“Mobility of labour is another challenge for spas. There’s not a lack of skills but, for example, do you want a Thai person to provide the spa’s Thai therapies? Thai people often don’t have the necessary papers. Europe’s restrictive immigration laws require therapists to have papers,” he added.
Providing foreigners with the opportunity to train in Europe is one way around this situation, but Gibson warned that even this method is not always foolproof, as visas can soon expire and receiving training in a host country does not guarantee the student’s future residency.
Organised by the SPATEC team, 60 buyers
and 90 suppliers took part in back-to-back twenty-minute meetings
across two days, in addition to social events such as a boat cruise and gala dinner.