IN THE KNOW: JO BULLOCK
What should I look for when recruiting new staff, to make sure they don't just have the necessary qualifications, but are the right fit for the spa?
A stunning location, fabulous design and amazing facilities are all important, but it’s the people that make a spa experience memorable to guests. If you are in a rural location, as we are, there are always challenges when it comes to finding staff, including the logistics of them being able to get to and from the spa.
Staff often have childcare, transport, partners or other commitments to consider and the hours in hospitality don’t work for everyone. Who wants to be at work on a Saturday night when friends are out having fun, and you then also have to be back in at work early on the Sunday morning?
The perception staff may have had of the glamorous work in a beautiful spa can quickly be erased when you are knee deep in wet robes, towels and used slippers. Reality kicks in when you have something like that to sort through.
I hire for attitude and train for skills. If someone attends an interview with a beaming smile, smart attire and having done their homework on our establishment, I know I can train them. Attitude is everything in our profession.
I look for passion and enthusiasm and for someone who will not only want to be part of something special, but who will add their own touch to it. I also need to know that they really get what five star means, and understand what it entails to go that extra mile and deliver an experience that is above and beyond the average.
I also look for potential and for a personality that will fit with the team and I always involve the current members of staff in the interview process. This might just be a case of meeting the candidate as part of a tour of the spa.
However, they can still feel if the person will integrate with the team, and if they have passion for the job. An excellent team dynamic is key to harmony and good energy with the spa.
Therapists put their hands on guests and transfer their energy to them, so that energy has to be positive. Qualifications and experience do of course count, but passion and attitude is everything. Along with training, training and more training.
Jo Bullock is spa director at Stanley House Hotel & Spa in Lancashire in the UK. She has over 20 years' experience managing award-winning spas across the globe, including at the Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, the Sandy Lane resort in Barbados and the Lion Quays Hotel & Spa in Shropshire in the UK. Bullock, who started out as a therapist, also spent 10 years lecturing at the West Suffolk College.