Prior managerial experience is crucial
“While studying to become a therapist, I worked in restaurants, eventually becoming the assistant restaurant and private dining manager at The Old Course Hotel St Andrews in Scotland. Before long I was working five days in the restaurant and then one day a week in the hotel’s Kohler Waters Spa, but eventually moved over permanently as the treatment manager.
“When I started working at the spa as a therapist it was quite challenging because I had to bite my tongue a lot. Having been a manager already, I had lots of ideas about how to improve the client journey but I wasn’t in a managerial position to do so. After a year, I got the chance to move up and implement these. I think starting my journey the way I did helped me be more ready to run the treatment side of the business.”
Understand your responsibilities
“A treatment manager looks at the business’s income from the treatment menu and ensures everything is cost-effective and profitable, which differs to the role of a senior spa therapist, who tends to look after the team on a more personal level.
“There’s a small bridge between yourself and the therapists on the spa floor, so make sure that communication with your senior staff is good and regular. Your staff need the right tools to run the business and you’re the one who creates them.”
Make sure to tick all boxes
“You need to be ready for all types of challenges because this role is all about ensuring that everything runs smoothly. You have to make sure all health and safety standards for treatments are met, that everything is correct when changing menus or protocols, and that there are plenty of retail products for therapists to sell.
“Some people think managing is just coming in and doing nothing, but it’s actually a lot more hands on. If someone calls in sick, you also need to allocate extra staff or get involved yourself. It takes a certain level of understanding of the business as a whole to manage these situations.”
Motivate your team
“The role of treatment manger is a lot like being the team’s mum. Sometimes you need to give them a reminder to work hard, other times you may need to calm them down. If you’re too soft, they’ll walk over you; if you’re too harsh then they’ll stop working hard. It’s difficult but you need to make sure a standard is maintained, as well as a respect for the business and yourself. It’s not just about developing yourself as a manager, but having the team support your decisions.”
You can’t please everyone
“The biggest challenge in this role is keeping everyone happy, both therapists and clients, because it’s just human nature to complain about something. If it’s raining, people are not happy; if it’s sunny, it’s ‘Oh my god. It’s too hot’. The most rewarding part of the job is seeing clients returning for that treatment they loved, or staff saying, ‘This is the best place to work’. We never really have any negative feedback, which is great because it means you’re doing something right.
“It’s really important for therapists to like their working environment because if they’re happy, the clients will be as well.” PB