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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Patella

Investing in Your Spa Team

Updated: Mar 30

“The services delivered by spas to their customers are fundamentally about the power of human touch and human interaction.  As such people are at the heart of a spa.  People are a spa's greatest asset and are essential to its success, but people are also typically a spa's greatest expense and greatest challenge.” As a spa director I see this statement from the Global Spa and Wellness Summit (GSWS) as a game changer in respect to how I view the spa industry.  The integrity of the goal of a spa must remain the same no matter the budget, the services, the shortfalls, or the challenges.  A spa’s goal is to rejuvenate, pamper, and improve one’s health.  If you are a day spa, a medical spa, a residential spa and health club, or a hotel spa and fitness center, you can’t do it alone and your staff is a critical factor in achieving your goal.  From the moment a client enters your facility until the moment they exit everyone works together to attend that client in the highest possible level of hospitality and service.

This week begins a new series of internal training and development for each of my departments.  In the rest of the GSWS report it points out that experience is the best teacher and those exiting an educational institution are not prepared for the workforce. The same applies to those who have only been exposed to one location with very limited training. Being on the front lines in a spa is demanding in many forms.  The expectations of the clientele are high as well as the levels of service.

It is my experience of 30 years, multiple spas and positions, mistakes and hard learned lessons that can demonstrate how to achieve what I am looking for to make a great spa and team.  But it must be represented appropriately for acceptance and to embrace the applications.  You must also know your team and have a level of interaction with them.  This is also an investment a Director must make.

Each department will have two 2 hour sessions over the next 14 days that are mandatory.  If they can’t make a session they must make it up in a two hour, one on one with me and any other staff who may have missed the training.  Every department will have an updated manual to follow and fine tune. 

My initial purpose for this training was to get my team to step up their game and introduce new upgraded procedures to them.  As you can imagine this is a huge investment of my time and expertise but necessary to our successful operation as a team and spa. 

Reading the GSWS statement from the Executive Summary changed my perspective in regard to viewing my staff’s assets more than their shortfalls.  I think that Directors have a lot of pressure in their own performance and demands from clientele as well as executive staff that it is easy to fall into viewing things from a negative perspective.  That is the beginning of a very tough position to be in that will never end well as we are expected to always be positive and encouraging.

The bottom line is that the majority of spa staff have a lot to offer but need someone to teach them how to put it into practice and to teach them how to cope with their own pressure including the demands we place on them every day.

My approach for their training will begin with their assets and how that will benefit them in their position.  The details of procedures will be much better accepted, learned and put into practice from this launching position.  In my trainings I have always focused on the value and equality of each team member.  But I know that focus will be better represented if I begin with the specific values of each member so others will see it too.  It will increase the value of the “team” and help embrace the unity of the team.


I have heard other Spa Directors complain of their staff’s shortcomings.  I inherited a staff at my current facility, some with 20 plus years in the company without the type of training I need them to be prepared with.  But if I view them as who they are with their assets first then the investment I make in their training will provide the return I need in terms of performance.


It is a win win situation and while I am realistic enough to know it will not be 100 percent, I have the confidence that the outcome will be successful!

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