Editor's letter: How can you retain staff as a small, independent operator?

Recruiting and retaining good therapists is one of the biggest challenges in the spa and salon market today. With limited opportunities for promotion, it can be difficult for independent operators to hold on to staff amidst the lure of larger groups with a broader management structure.

Our exclusive annual salary survey gives some insight into the average pay scales on offer for the core job roles in our industry to help you benchmark your business. Of course, it’s not all about the money. Attracting strong staff and keeping them happy enough to stay and grow with you involves a subtle blend of benefits and responsibility – tailored to the needs of the individual. Our recruitment feature offers some tips from recruiters who understand therapists’ demands and managers who’ve satisfied them.

Ultimately, retention comes down to employee engagement. If staff feel involved in the performance of the business and understand their role in its success, they will be motivated to help build on that, explains David Wright in his column. Staff engagement is about individual empowerment and many argue that the best way to achieve that with therapists and techs is to allow them to develop and market their expertise. As Hellen Ward argues, perhaps it’s time we stopped being scared to tell clients exactly what they need without waiting for them to ask. In an age where the customer is king, are we allowing ours too much choice, to the detriment of the treatment outcome?

However, despite a huge spike in tailormade therapies over the past year, there are still customer groups who are given little or no choice at all when it comes to the treatments they can enjoy. There’s been a lot of attention over the past year about the treatment of cancer patients in spas – and rightly so – but what about those with other medical conditions? We take a closer look at the treatment of clients with blood-borne viruses and what you can do to make them feel welcomed.