Six signs you’re going to have to fire a spa employee

Being a leader can be difficult at the best of times.

And one of the most difficult things is making the decision to let someone go – not only because it’s hard to tell someone they no longer have a job, but also because in spa, good staff is so hard to find.

But sometimes you don’t have any choice. Here are six signs that it’s time to have that difficult conversation.

You’re getting customer complaints about them. Sometimes customers complain, and sometimes the complaints are unwarranted and the client is just high maintenance and difficult. Other times, it is warranted and there is a real problem with one of your team members. If a service provider or staff member is the subject of several complaints, it is time to take a look at them.

Their customers aren’t returning. Here’s the thing though: a vast majority of customers won’t complain. They just won’t come back. I’m one of those people. I find complaining embarrassing, and I’ll almost always just pay the bill for whatever the dissatisfying service is, and leave without saying anything. If a large number of the this therapists first-time customers don’t become repeat customers, that is a red flag.

Customers don’t request that provider. And they even request other service providers instead. Is your service provider’s dance card full or empty? Again, this is from personal experience. Another thing I’ll do, is if I don’t like a particular service provider, rather than complain about that provider, I’ll simply request another one by name. It’s easy to see whether people are actively requesting other providers and if this particular person is only servicing clients when assigned. If so, that could be a sign that guests are actively avoiding them.

The employee creates tension in the workplace. Sometimes you can’t ignore the fact that people are happier and more relaxed when a particular individual isn’t around. Does the employee get along with others? Or do they create unhealthy competition or start arguments? While it always takes two to create conflict, the reality is that these things can often be traced to one person. Nobody wants tension of conflict in their workplace, but a spa is an environment where even a little negativity can set the atmosphere off balance, which will ruin the customer experience.

The employee doesn’t care about the job or the spa (or salon, or other wellness business). You can tell when someone doesn’t care. They show up late, the make excuses, the call in sick, the don’t leave the environment better than they found it, and they don’t go above and beyond. You need employees to care, and to want your company to succeed. If they don’t. It won’t.

The employee makes no effort to change. Obviously dismissal isn’t going to be the first course of action in most cases. You’re going to speak to the employee about their behaviour and provide guidance and support for change. And a reasonable person who wants to keep their job will make the effort to make you and your guests happy. But sometimes, for whatever reason, they can’t make it work.

Note that there is nothing here about a lack of performance in retail sales. In spa, I don’t think this is a reason to penalize someone. You do need people on your team who excel at sales, but not all massage therapists or other service providers are also going to be great salespeople. In fact, there are customers who are put off by service providers trying to sell to them. You might find that your most popular therapists are actually not the best sales people, but that it all balances out in revenue in the end (something software with good reporting functionality will tell you). So, if someone does a great job otherwise, and you have good salespeople, you could probably let that go.

That final list item – failure to improve – is the clincher. It’s a difficult decision to make, but you can’t afford to keep someone on who is driving away customers. If they can’t improve their performance, you might have to let them go.

A difficult and underperforming employee will cost you customers and revenue, which you simply can’t afford.

Nobody can.


Now read this:

Special report: can the spa industry solve its staffing problems before it’s too late?

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