strategic human resource management with the spa industry to improve overall employee retention, benefits and loyalty in a highly competitive atmosphere. The paper starts off with a description of the chosen industry -- spa industry, and follows it with the primary issues or concerns that plague the industry in the modern era. The paper then discusses aspects that can help in overcoming these issues like using remunerations, incentives, job opportunities, intangible motivations, awards, amongst other that can help in confirming the loyalty of the employees.
Description of the Industry
Intelligent Spas (2011) have recently published their annual regional report citing significant growth and development in their industry. They summarize their findings as, "There are over 3,500 spas currently operating in the Asia Pacific region. These spas collectively generate approximately U.S.$2 billion in revenue per annum. The Asia Pacific spa industry employs over 50,000 people. Over 60% of countries are considered emerging or potential spa markets suggesting there are plenty of development and business opportunities across the region" (Intelligent Spas, 2011).
Significant Issues in the Industry
Major reliance of spa industry is on the employees whereby 'people are sheer merchandise'. The main contributing factor of spa's success lies in the efficient deployment of its personnel where all phases of evolution are taken into consideration from recruiting to development of qualified staff. Integrity is the key factor in such an environment. Hence, loyal staff has the capability to instill and produce loyal customer, whereas a faithful employee has more worth when compared to loyal customer. In the wake of above working philosophy, this paper presents a multi-dimensional theory where employee's productivity and retention is based on employee's satisfaction. Then the curve of this business line travels upward where an employee inspires and goes on to stimulate service value - then this circle goes on and on until it touches the height of profitability and progression. There is a maxim behind this business philosophy that when the owner is genuinely a prudent leader and will take care of his managers, in return, they will take care of their staff. Eventually, this entire chain will convert into an aura of advanced spa industry in collaboration with employee - employer - customer's satisfaction (Cohen and Bodeker, 2008).
When the loyal staff turns out to be a valuable asset for its industry, majority of the qualified personnel absorb into the rapidly growing industry. As a result of this rapid expansion of industry, it gives rise to shortage of skilled workers globally. Also, rapid competition between spas emerges further, with the aim to recruit, develop and retain the best available staff. Due to globalization, there is a tremendous increase in the spa professional's movement across the regions as a result of vast professional competition. For instance, huge amount of spa professionals who mainly arrive from Asian countries, far East and parts of Central Asia, tend to move to the Middle East to meet the professional demands of spa industry. The trained therapists naturally get enticed in order to grab higher salary structure. Due to the globalization effect, around 300 five star hotels in Middle East are undergoing the planning and construction phase to develop top-notch spa facilities that will provide jobs to nearly 30 professional therapists. All this will generate massive employment for new comers who will fill the gap of local demands (Cohen and Bodeker, 2008).
Lack of global staff has widened the gap of job placement, therefore, forced the spas to compromise with their needs or pay out huge amount to retain staff with experience in the management department, especially those having versatile experience in various fields. It has created a turbulence that resulted to fill out the vacant positions in preopening projects. Even though the incumbents are inexperienced or less qualified, nevertheless, the need of the hour is to intensify the demand for appropriate candidates and the recruiting of qualified trainers as the vacancies are recognized in each department (Cohen and Bodeker, 2008).
Over and above the staff shortage problem, the frequent growth in the industrial sector has empowered employees to move in an upward spiral growth. But due to staff turnover, employees tend to change their job location and employer for the sake of higher salaries. Additionally, owing to peculiar circumstances, various spa professionals having experience of more or less 5 years would like to open up their own small spa businesses in South Africa, India or in Tunisia. Therapists, as freelancers, start businesses as well by converting rooms in their own houses for small treatment while also simultaneously facilitating the clients' home visits. This type of activities of professionals has aggravated the shortage of employees and resulted in a chaotic situation (Cohen and Bodeker, 2008).
According to the analysis accounted for the period from 2001 to 2006, annual staff turnover was approximately 39.6% in the entire U.S. industrial sector (U.S. Department of Labor 2007a). In the sector of leisure and hospitality, the rate has exhibited the average of 74.6% (U.S. Department of Labor 2007b). It has however, pinpointed the position of a great number of unprofessional workers in the category of part time job. With regards to the study conducted by Resort Suite (2004), it has been recommended that turnover rate for spa should not increase past the limit of 40%, as no precise data on employees' turnover rate has been currently reported on spa industry (Cohen and Bodeker, 2008).
The biggest threat to profitability of spa industry is high turnover rate of the skilled and trained staff members. It is hurting both financial and human resource interests of the industry. The retained staff members do not perform well in absence of strong team culture. The new staff requires much time and cost for training which does not pay in the long run as they quit the job quickly. Hence, consistent quality service to the customer has also become a challenge (Cohen and Bodeker, 2008).
Frequent job changes pose certain disadvantages to the employees themselves also. They have to go through the training sessions to familiarize themselves with new concepts, products and requirements. They also get less income in probationary periods and earn nothing in transitions. Winning customers again is also a challenge. Frequent job changers reduce their credibility in the eyes of future perspective employers as well (Cohen and Bodeker, 2008).
Maximising recruitment and retention
Multiple factors play role in attracting and retaining the best talent. A few of the integral ones include corporate culture, career development, supporting work environment, good salary package and fringe benefits. The employers considering these factors enjoy the status of preferred employers and succeed in attracting and retaining their skilled talent. As a result, they enjoy improved performance and increased profitability (Cohen and Bodeker, 2008).
Career development opportunities and training
Employees need careers, not only the jobs. Both are not the same. Careers provide the employees with the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally, in addition to remuneration in return of service. The absence of career path is a big de-motivation for the employee which leads to turnover. The employees either leave the industry altogether, join the competitor or establish their own business for self growth and motivation. It is, therefore, mandatory for the employers to devise a realistic, time specific and personalized career plan for the employees to win their loyalty with the organization (Cohen and Bodeker, 2008).
In order to strategize a plan for one's career as per their interests, needs, and skills, the managers need the assistance of spas, so that they can be guided properly and their training and development needs can be estimated. It is called 'talent management (Cohen and Bodeker, 2008).'
The appraisal meetings are held frequently with respect to talent management, with the objective to perform the SWOT analysis of each individual, so that their areas of strength and weakness can be highlighted. This is also helpful in deciding the right career path for the individuals as per their strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, it can be used in measuring the progress of individuals in their respective strengths (Cohen and Bodeker, 2008).
In evaluating the performance of the individuals in order to find out the training requirements for them, 'talent spotting' is used. In talent spotting an individual is appraised through his/her day-to-day activities by the line managers. It is also necessary to find out the unique skills of individuals, known intrinsically as 'talent', in a particular job role or business with respect to spa. These findings can help strategic managers in planning of the training requirements for individuals. These may include politeness, friendliness, computer skills, financial skills, problem solving skills or any other sort of skills. Skills are required to get polished and enhanced with the passage of time through certain trainings in order to make them strengths of an individual. Talent management provides ultimate solution for it (Cohen and Bodeker, 2008).
Training not only enhances the skills, but it also plays an important role in motivating the employees. It boosts their confidence level and…