ACCE: Tangible ways to appreciate, care, challenge and encourage the staff in challenging times

Guest Author: Erin Kuhn, President and Michelle Shuster, Director | Qnity

The intensity of our current uncertainties, financial stresses and health concerns have taken a toll on all of us. Aside from navigating the obvious implications of Covid-19, spa leaders have a critical asset to nurture – their team.

There are numerous unknowns, but one thing is certain – business will return. Spa leaders should be highly focused on ensuring their team returns to work.

Inspired leadership transcends crisis, establishes a head and heart connection and provides hope. This is a pivotal moment in time for your team and your business.

Qnity is a global training firm known for their simple and visual approach. They teach a simple philosophy and acronym for employee engagement called ACCE™; which stands for Appreciate, Care, Challenge and Encourage.

Here’s a few ways to ACCE your team:


“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” —Voltaire

  1. Send handwritten cards to acknowledge individual contributions. Point out things that they might not think you notice. Be specific. According to Qnity’s research, it takes approximately 57 seconds to write a handwritten notecard, and most people keep them for a lifetime.
  2. Celebrate your staff as a team and as individuals through slack, social media groups, and more. Tell clients and other team members about previous individual achievements and contributions to the team.
  3. Send them a gift with a personal note, a little goes a long way. A great bar of chocolate, a gift card to their favorite coffee shop, their favorite bottle of wine, a book you loved you think they’d enjoy, etc.


“You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.” – Zig Ziglar 

  1. Call or FaceTime staff to connect individually once a week. No shop talk. Show a genuine interest in their well-being and recognize what is happening for them in the moment. You don’t have to have all the answers. Simply listen, acknowledge their feelings and be sure to follow up on the things you talk about.
  2. Be human, be authentic, be vulnerable. Whether in one-on-one meetings or with your full team, find moments where you can share your true feelings and be emotionally open. Validate their fears and anxieties, professionally, economically, socially and personally.
  3. Communicate frequently. This is not the time to “give people space.” When people feel isolated or scared, connection is vitally important. You can NOT over communicate in a crisis. Each day ask yourself, what does the team need to know today? And communicate accordingly.


“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be” 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

  1. Empower your team. We will be presented with new challenges when we return to business. Ask your team to help you solve these challenges. Enable them to help you find solutions.
  2. Can you challenge them to work on their business during their time away? Challenge them to grow their skill sets and to be better in at least one area of the business when they return. Make a commitment to doing the same and share with them which specific area you will work on. (*This might be sensitive depending on your circumstances, use your judgement.)
  3. Focus on a greater goal. Contribute to your community as a team. What can you offer your community, how can you be of service, how can you make a difference as a group?


“Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  1. Provide perspective and a clear, confident plan. We will survive this crisis and here is how we will thrive in the future. Be specific and transparent.
  2. Laugh with them. Laughter is contagious. Hearing laughter, we find it almost impossible not to laugh or smile as well. That’s because some of our brain’s open-loop circuits are designed to detect smiles and laughter, making us respond in kind. Scientists theorize that this dynamic was hardwired into our brains ages ago because smiles and laughter had a way of cementing alliances, thus helping our species survive.
  3. Focus on holistic wellness – mental, emotional, spiritual, professional and financial. Provide tangible resources to make a difference in each area of their lives.

Recruiting and retaining staff was challenging even before this crisis, and many believe it will be even more so after. As a leader, you set the tone. The actions you take now will determine how your team shows up after this crisis.


Qnity provides simple and visual training and tools to create breakthroughs in the areas of execution, growth, engagement, leadership and profitability. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Qnity is currently channeling their efforts on profitability. Their goal is to elevate the financial literacy of the salon and spa industry. You can follow their campaign on YouTube here.