Courtesy of The Raithwaite Estate Spa, N Yorks

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Directors Assembly



The UK Spa Association has been running successful and ever popular Spa Director Assemblies since the inaugural Spa Director Assembly was launched at the Mandarin Oriental London, during March 2015. Since then, the association has hosted bi-monthly London Spa Director Assemblies, quarterly Northern assemblies, twice yearly South West assemblies, an annual National Spa Director Assembly and this year, will see two Scottish Spa Director Assemblies added to the regionals.

One challenge at the forefront of our industry, is therapist recruitment and retention. It’s a key theme that recurs throughout meetings.


Recruiters have a responsibility and people advertising jobs to offer exacting detail about the role. List the positives of the position but give the same clarity to the day to day actions, that may not be so attractive. Educate potential candidates to a true sense of the job role and its prospects. In doing this, it’ll go some way in managing expectations and retention.

College students in particular are attracted to clear progression paths. New recruits tend to appreciate multi-disciplined training, goal setting and ultimately recognition.


People like rules and they like to know where they stand. So, it’s great to ensure your business has set guidelines for the team, which are accepted and met consistently. To have employees execute your values, share the common goal, what’s important and why. It creates understanding and flow for everyone to know why these systems are in place and why the way the spa functions, is so important. This will ensure that everyone understands what you do and embraces where the team and business is heading. With visible support from the business leaders, this in turn empowers employees, the greatest asset to any company, to drive growth, profitability and innovation.

It’s also so important to build a close community amongst the team. With society citing the erosion of community as critical, and it being a crucial aspect with regard to mental health, it’s vital to always try and hire your new team on their values and attitude. To be assured as much as possible, that each new team member will fit well with the existing team.

From there, other great ways to build community are to always be honest with each team member and listen, to take in everyone’s ideas or concerns. Understand that everyone is different and approach each person with the format that works well for them. All this means that they will always be open and understanding with each other and feel comfortable to share. It also creates an environment where everyone enjoys working together and will want to socialise outside of work too.


A demand for flexible working hours has been managed by some spas and they reap the rewards, as have their team members. With childcare issues over half terms and Saturday cover, staff members work together to organise a rota (there’s now exceptional software available). With a well-rounded team who like and respect each other as well as the business, valuable flexible working can be achieved.


Benefits for employees, can attract new talent and amongst UKSA members, these benefits tend to include: complementary treatments once a month, use of the spa facilities with friends, yoga class before or after their shifts. Contentment and performance has been observed and increased.

It was noted, that several fun aspects could be introduced into a working day. It keeps moral high, which aids staff retention. Obviously, professionalism at work is key but there are little things that can be done to keep a joyful positive atmosphere. For example, a cake day once a month (perhaps the first Saturday of every month if that day of the week is your busiest or has most of the team in) in which each team member takes it in turn to bake cakes for colleagues.

This example also gives teams a lighthearted sense of competition! Rewards could be added for extra incentive, for instance, a couple of cinema tickets, an afternoon tea, or treatment? Buddy up members of the team, perhaps those that don’t often overlap at work.


Look out for the regular updates on when the next regional assembly near you and come and spend two hours of informative and supportive time together with industry peers, sharing common challenges, best practice and a tour/Q&A of the host spa. There’s no additional fee to attend as this forms part of the UKSA Member Benefits.

The Summer Networking & Spa Directors Assembly takes place at South Lodge, Horsham on Monday 16th September 2019.

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Friday, 18 September 2020