New Employee Training Is It Worth the Investment?

Many salons and spas provide some sort of introductory training or orientation for most of their new employees. It may take the form of an older employee assigned to show the new employee “the ropes.” Or it may be left to the manager to show them where the coffee pot is and how to apply for time off.

Yet some owners in this highly competitive industry recognize the value in New Employee Orientation (NEO) that goes a step farther.  They require several weeks or even months of training to familiarize every new employee with the company, its products, its services, its culture and policies, even its competition.

There is a measurable cost to that training, but is it worth it?

Surprisingly, all the reasons you come up with (except cost itself) are actually reasons to train.  If you have high turnover, low retail sales and poor morale; training new employees will make them more productive. They will feel better about themselves and the job and they will stick around longer.

If you have low profit per employee per year, you have major problems. You need to start training all your employees, not just your new employees, right away.

And if you still believe that our beauty schools provide adequate training to make students labor-ready you are living in a dream world. Yes, some job seekers make the effort to learn on their own the skills needed for a new job, but most get that training on the job.

That’s where training comes in. Not only does instruction arm your employees with needed professional or technical skills, but it also shows that you are invested in them and interested in bringing them with you into the company’s future. This helps keep workers motivated and involved.

Well-trained employees are the key to your small business success. Studies have shown that the most successful, productive employees are those who have received extensive training. They’re the cream of the crop, often having the strongest stake in the company’s future.

Ana Loiselle, theSECRET Salon & Spa by Design President


When to Hire a Consultant – Part II

Why hire a professional consultant?” This is a valid question. And here’s the answer: When your spa is faced with problems that won’t go away. The right consultant can give you valuable insight into your business, increase productivity and improve your bottom line.

So, once you determine it is time to hire a consultant, you must compile a list of potential candidates for the job. There are many ways to go about finding a consultant that is right for you. The best is asking other spa owners, and/or The Day Spa Association for recommendations.

When asking for recommendations, determine whether the prospects have demonstrated the following capabilities:

  • Ability to diagnose problems
  • A track record of presenting workable solutions to clients
  • The ability to implement those solutions (e.g., installing equipment, training employees, re-vamping a budgetary procedure or compensation package, etc.)
  • The ability to facilitate and commitment to the plan of action

The Most Common Tasks that Consultants Undertake in the Spa World:

  • Diagnosis and Assessment – They’ll identify your problems with your business and state them.
  • Problem Solving – They’ll suggest ways of solving your problems.
  • Research and Analysis – They’ll investigate the trends, events, obstacles and opportunities affecting your spa’s goals.
  • Training – They’ll teach your manager(s) and staff essential skills.
  • Mediation – They’ll help resolve disputes with or within your organization.

The eventual goal when working with a consultant is to develop business courage, skill and independence while moving steadily towards profitability. With any business decision, take your time when hiring a consultant, and make sure you are a good fit. The results can be business and life changing, if you’re all willing to put the time and effort into it.

Ana Loiselle-Donahue
President: theSECRET Salon & Spa by Design

When to Hire a Consultant – Part I

For most new owners, the opening of a day spa is a surprising introduction to the intricacies of business. Employee challenges, small to no profits, accounting headaches, and day-to-day management rapidly replace the pleasant experience your spa promised to deliver. And if that wasn’t enough, the hours are long and draining.

No one sets out to open a day spa with the goal of failing. That would be ludicrous. Why would anyone invest money into a project that was sure to fail? According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail within the first five years. “Are you truly ready?”

Why hire a consultant?

When your spa is faced with problems that won’t go away, a consultant may be your answer. In the long run, you can save time and money by funding the right assistance to help you overcome a current obstacle or avoid costly mistakes in the future.

A good consultant, looking at your situation objectively, should be able to identify and implement the solution to the problem more quickly and efficiently than you or your staff. The trick is knowing what types of problems warrant a consultant’s services. Here are basic guidelines:

  • When you need an objective point of view.
  • When the problem or situation is short-term, such as public relations around a special event
  • When the problem requires special expertise, such as knowing how to buy a computer system, manage accounting or address legal issues
  • When your spa’s financial situation is not favorable
  • When your spa is facing a major crisis, or when it seems to be operating in a crisis-management mode
  • When you are having high employee turn over
  • When you feel like you are putting in long hours with no return
  • When your goals are not being met

If your situation fits into any or all of these categories, a consultant’s services are probably a worthwhile investment.

Having a consultant can curve this statistic in the business owners’ favor. Many of the most successful spas have consultants. This is due to the fact that they know they can’t handle every decision by themselves with accuracy. There are many factors that go into owning and operating a spa; with new situations arriving daily and some you may not be prepared for. Don’t let yourself become one of the 95% that fail within the first five years of operation. Be smart and take advantage of the opportunities that surround you by speaking with a consultant.

Ana Loiselle-Donahue
President: theSECRET Salon & Spa by Design