AUG 2014

DAYSPA is the business resource for spa & wellness professionals! Each issue covers the latest in skin care, spa treatments, wellness services and management strategies.

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88 DAYSPA | AUGUST 2014 MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP By the Book Operating your day spa without an employee handbook may expose you to unnecessary risk. By Corrie Pelc Owning a day spa has its glamorous and its not- so-glamorous sides and, certainly, developing an em- ployee handbook falls into the latter category. Unfor- tunately, lack of allure doesn't make this business tool any less important. Perhaps you're thinking, "Yes, but I have a small, single-location business with just a handful of employ- ees. We're like a family—if any problems arise, we just work them out. We don't need a book." And that's exactly where many spa owners go wrong, says Felicia Brown, business and marketing coach, and owner of Spalutions! in Greensboro, North Carolina. "Even if it only covers some simple guidelines, you have to provide some kind of policy structure for your employees to follow," Brown explains. "All it takes is one employee to behave badly, and your spa can quickly change from a very supportive, family-oriented kind of place to a hostile work environment. You need to be prepared from the beginning, to create a safe structure for your staff, and to protect yourself." Michael L. Antoline, a Champaign, Illinois-based attorney, legal affairs writer and DAYSPA advisory board member, agrees that an employee handbook is of great value to all employers, no matter the size of their business. "It's an important means of communi- cation—it sets forth your expectations, and what the employee can expect, in turn, from the company," he says. "It can also describe your legal obligations to the employee, and can establish employee rights." Crissy Kantor, owner of Chill Spa in Manchester, New Hampshire, regards her employee handbook as a backbone, supporting how she conducts business. "It gives the spa owner a solid foundation: it says, 'these are our policies, they're written in black and white, this is how we do it'," she asserts. "The book gives you stability as a spa owner, which can sometimes be hard because ours is an emotional business and people can become overwrought. But if you have everything in writing, you feel more grounded and confi dent when dealing with emotional issues." Suppose you're an established spa owner operating without an employee handbook. How do you go about © JITALIA17/GETTY

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