Do spas focus too much on attracting millennials and generation Z?

I’ve been in the industry for long enough now, having previously worked with chains such as Macdonald Hotels, Mercure and International Hotels, to understand it a little more than most. One of the most interesting trends of late is the idea that spas need to tailor their people strategy when it comes to millennials and generation Z in order to hire, engage, motivate and retain them.    

I don’t disagree with this statement but it misses something. Let me explain. I’ve been to a lot of talks on attracting millennials and gen Z and I’ve felt enlightened to learn that these generations communicate and interact differently in the workplace. However, the ethos of these presentations are always the same – that you have to treat employees from these generations differently to everyone else.

But what about the people who don’t fall into these two brackets such as generation X and baby boomers? I’m seeing more people who sit outside these two age categories that want to move into the spa industry. They’re looking for job satisfaction, training and development just as much as remuneration.  

At a time when the ability to recruit and retain team members has become the blueprint to success due to a shortage of entry level therapists, we need to revisit how we appeal to,  retain and engage all age groups, not just millennials and generation Z. 

The generation game

The theory is that these younger generations are shaped by the environment they grow up in but it doesn’t take into account that everyone, regardless of their age, is constantly being shaped by their environment; whether it’s my dad trying to get a badge for daily steps on his Fitbit or the fact that my smartphone has now become an extension of my arm. 

Society has changed and the principles we’re being taught now apply to all generations. A key example of this would be that job hunters are now interviewing their interviewers just as much as the employers are interviewing them. This “newness” applies just as much to those from generation X as millennials and generation Z. 

Training and development is a form of remuneration for everyone now and this for a lot of people can be more desirable than the actual rate of pay. However, millennials often move into the spa industry because they want to do something they love rather than having a job that pays the highest. So, as spa owners we need to use various methods of communication with these different groups because not all people communicate in the same way.  

One thing that is certain is that people want gamification regardless of their age. They want to be at the top of the leader board or wear the badge for their qualification because this is the way society has shaped us. Remember, all team members will want to see a clear pathway to being promoted or getting increased responsibilities so that should they want to progress there is a road map for it.

This is not an exclusive list but I suppose my key message is that when you’re thinking about recruitment strategies don’t just focus on millennials and generation Z and forget about everyone else.

Do you agree with Ewing’s thoughts? Comment below. 

Steve Ewing Steve Ewing is spa director of The Spa at Carden – a £10 million countryside resort spa opening soon