Panelists weigh in on the issues impacting the efforts of spas in their pursuit of top talent and the things they can do to retain their expertise
I started in this industry 19 years ago, which seems like a lifetime but yet like yesterday. My passion for skincare and all things beauty started even before that; I can remember as early as 11 starting a proper skin routine, going to the department stores and admiring the cosmetics counters. By this age my Christmas list was filled with all things skincare and makeup.
The entrepreneur in me started even younger – basically, as a child I was obsessed with selling things. Even as young as five years old, I loved the art of selling. I would line up everything I owned on my bed and I would “sell” it for real money, pretend money – it didn’t really matter. I started out with traditional toy cash registers, but this wasn’t “real” enough for me. When I was 10 years old, I finally convinced my uncle to let me play with a real register from his convenience store – and I loved it.
As both these passions naturally manifested, I quickly realized when I entered the working field as a teenager, I had my own ideas and very quickly the idea of working for myself was normal – it was something I had to do. Today, of 22 years working, I have been self-employed for over 15 years.
Now I have a multi-million-dollar company that empowers an amazing team of professionals across the country. Getting here was not easy; on the hardest days, I always think to myself, if it was easy everyone would do it. You need perseverance to keep going and the belief that you can. When I see a problem, I automatically try to find a solution. That’s how most entrepreneurs’ brains work: You see something and you want to fix it. And when it comes to risk, I can lay everything I own on the line without the slightest twitch, knowing I will make this work mostly because I identify solutions. So what could I really encounter that I can’t tackle, right?! This is sounding much easier than it actually is. There is no owner’s manual to running a business. Each and every business is different and always will be, because you have people: staff, clients, accounts, patients, vendors – there are always people. We are in an industry where you can never fully take the people away. This is also why each and every day is a different and new experience. You have to adapt to people, challenges, industry changes and growth. I personally believe your company culture can make or break you. The more (or less) effective your company culture is, the more (or less) engaged your employees are – which then influences your reputation. This is something that happens every day. By formulating a Mission Statement, Vision Statement and Core Values (below), we created a very effective company culture. This also guides our hiring practices, as everyone we bring on has to align with our company core values. This method has increased employee retention, while giving us a formula, direction and success.
Mission Statement: Our mission is our passion. We build businesses through partnerships, education and support, connecting professionals with the industry’s best products and training.
A Vision Statement focuses on tomorrow and what you want to become. Vision Statement: The best way to create the future is to create it. We will be our clients’ best resource and the industry’s number-one resource for all skin solutions and education across Canada.
Core Values are your fundamental beliefs in your company and should dictate your behaviour, guide conduct and your relationships.
Core Values: Our core values define our culture.
- Competitive: We play fair, we play hard and we play to win
- We have the opportunity to continuously learn and grow
- We are empowered to create the best client experience
- Honesty. Integrity. Respect.
- Have an impact
- Passionate and determined
- Make a difference
Hiring Process Best Practices:
- Don’t sell your company
- Don’t give “everyone” a chance
- Clearly define the position
- TEST them
- Colour psychology: This is often used to determine communication methods and personality typing, and it has proven very effective for us. A book by Stu Schlackman, Four People You Should Know: How to Connect for Exceptional Sales, Customer Service and Unified Teams, explains the important differences between the four personality types of Green, Orange, Gold and Blue, which align with left or right brain dominance but can have dramatically different approaches to the same situation.
Some of our other “best practices” are:
- Open-door policy in the office: Discuss anything and everything
- Straight talk: Even small disagreements should be discussed immediately so everyone can leave them behind
- Work hard, play hard
- Don’t expect anyone to do anything you won’t do
- Teach: Share your knowledge
- Team bonding activities
- Learn to LET GO
Another best practice is to continue personal growth. I am constantly striving to learn to be a better employer, partner, mom, boss – everything that I can be. I am also involved in a global entrepreneurs support group called EO (Entrepreneurs Organization), which has significantly contributed to my personal growth and awareness. Part of my personal growth is ensuring I continually put myself into uncomfortable situations. As hard as this is, I always feel I accomplished something and can take on another challenge. Patience is also something I have to be aware of and continually work on having. As my entrepreneur brain takes charge, I generally want results NOW and know that isn’t always possible (I’m still working on this one). But with a daily commitment to be the best version of you, you will continue to grow personally and professionally.