5 strategies to improve employee retention in your spa

Reducing employee turnover

Are your employees leaving? You can improve things. Try these 5 research-backed strategies to improve employee retention in your spa.

Staff turnover is a big issue in spa and wellness. Many managers struggle to maintain their best employees. It doesn’t have to be that way. The situation can be improved with the right tactics.

Check out these 5 research-backed strategies to improve employee retention in your spa. 

1. Reduce burnout – stop asking too much of them

According to research by Kronos, 46% of HR leaders say employee burnout is responsible for up to half (20% – 50%) of employee turnover. Nearly 10% of HR leaders blame employee burnout for more than 50% of workforce turnover, and of HR leaders at large organizations (more than 2,500 employees), 15% of them say burnout causes 50% or more of their annual turnover.

It can be easy to burn out employees in spa and wellness, asking them to work long hours in jobs that can be both physically and psychologically taxing. Be mindful of this and don’t ask too much of your people. They are your most valuable assets. Without them you have nothing.

Stop burning out our employees and they will be less likely to leave. For some more on this, see “How you can combat employee burnout in the spa industry.” 

2. Encourage friendships among team members

Highly engaged employees are reportedly 75% less likely to be looking for a job compared to actively disengaged ones, and work friendships are closely correlated with employee engagement. One survey by TINYpulse found that the more friends a person has at work, the more engaged they are. Less than a third (28%) of employees without friends at work are highly engaged, compared with 69% of employees with 25 or more friends at work who are highly engaged. The same company also found that employee happiness is more dependent on connections with co-workers than direct managers.

Also, separate research from Gallup has found that only 30% of employees have a best friend at work, and that those who do are seven times as likely to be engaged in their jobs, are better at engaging customers, and produce higher quality work.

Creating a culture of inclusivity and encouraging friendship and interactions between team members will help with employee engagement, which will in turn keep them from looking for work elsewhere.

3. Recognize achievement and effort

According to Gallup, employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year than those who do feel recognized. And only one in three workers felt that they had received recognition or praise for doing good work over the seven days leading up to the poll. Fortunately, praise is really easy to give and is free. Be sure to tell employees when they are doing a great job, and to offer encouraging words when time gets tough. Thank them loudly and often, and offer rewards where possible. While cash bonuses and big prizes are great, you might be surprised at the power of a handwritten card or a lunch on you.

 4. Be a great manager 

Ever heard the saying “people leave people, not companies”? It’s well known that one of the top reasons people leave their jobs is because of their relationship with their boss. There’s plenty of research to back this up. For example, a survey by Udemy found that 51% of millennials and Generation Z, and 43% of older workers, have quit a job because of a bad manager. And another study from DDI found that 57% of employees have left a job, and 14% have left multiple jobs, because of their manager. Another 32% have seriously considered leaving for the same reason.

Do you need more? TINYpulse also found that 40% of employees who don’t give their supervisors’ performance high rating have interviewed for a new job in the last three months.

What does that tell us? Nothing we didn’t already know, right? In order to keep our employees around we need to focus on leadership quality. If you’re looking for some ways to improve your management, read “Behaviors of successful leaders in spa and wellness.

5. Promote from within

It’s a well established truth that employees who feel that they are stagnating in their current position will start looking for work elsewhere.

TINYpulse found that employees who feel they’re progressing in their career are 20% more likely to still be working at the same company a year later. Previous research has found that more than 80% of people have to change companies in order to advance their careers, and that the most important consideration for a majority of candidates when choosing between positions – all things being equal with salary, location and benefits – was “opportunities for advancement.”

Career pathing is an important part of employee retention in spa and wellness. Not only does this go a long way towards keeping employees from leaving, it helps bridge the gap in spa management training that is widely acknowledged throughout the industry.

Some companies, like Hilton, are already addressing this issue by creating management training programs. 

Reducing turnover and improving employee retention should be an ongoing effort. Your people are important and this is vital to your business strategy.


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