A Wellness Studio’s Guide To Hiring a Massage Therapist & Training Them For Success [With Templates+Strategy]
When you’re running a spa or massage boutique, your staff are easily your biggest asset.
They play a huge role in determining whether new clients become repeat customers — which translates to higher profits and more growth.
This means that your approach to training and hiring massage therapists is critical to the success of your business.
In addition to recruiting employees who are technically skilled and passionate about the job, you want to invest time into the onboarding process to ensure a smooth transition for new hires.
In this post, we are going to take a deep dive into both of these topics to set your business up for success with your new staff members.
Table of contents
- Part 1: Hiring Massage Therapists for Your Spa
- Part 2: Training a New Massage Therapist
Part 1: Hiring Massage Therapists for Your Spa
So, you have a vacancy at your spa or have recognized the need to create a new position. First off, you need to put together a job ad that will bring in some excellent candidates.
How to write a great job description
Know what the role needs to address
This might seem obvious, but you need to know exactly what the position involves and how it interacts with the rest of your business. Otherwise, it’s much harder for you to hire the right candidate.
Provide a company story
Applicants don’t just want to know about the responsibilities of the job; they also want to know about the work environment itself. Also remember candidates today invest considerable time not just on job ads but also looking at the ‘about us section’ of your business website. Providing a compelling backstory about your establishment will help you to catch the eye of potential employees.
Here’s an example from Thrive Massage in Ann Arbor, which not only shares a compelling story, but also highlights their existing team members. Doing so not only helps them attract great clients but also shows how much they care about their employees.
Don’t forget about personal qualities
Instead of focusing on the formal job requirements, be sure to emphasize the importance of traits like positivity, empathy, and a passion for the discipline. Someone with the right attitude can easily trump the candidate with the most experience on paper.
Massage therapist jobs ad template
Provide an introduction to your business e.g. location, brand story, values, etc.
[Key roles and responsibilities]
Provide a comprehensive list of duties for the position.
[Experience/skill set required]
In addition to massage-specific experience, include any relevant soft skills such as computer usage.
List any necessary qualifications, such as state licenses or certifications.
[What we can offer you]
What makes your establishment a great place to work? Talk about the perks and opportunities you can offer employees.
[How to apply]
Explain what candidates need to send you (e.g. CV and cover letter) and the next steps for the application process.
Below is a great example from LA massage boutique The NOW. Their job ad has an easy-to-read layout, a thorough description of the position, and a great call to action for applicants:
Here’s another example of a massage therapist hiring ad from Elements Massage , that not only talks about the requirements, but also lays down the salary and key deliverables expected.
Where to post your job description
It’s always a good idea to post your job ad to both general job sites and those that are industry-specific. This allows you to cast a wide net and get plenty of eyes on your posting.
Top general job sites:
Top specialist job sites/industry publications:
Your business pages are great places to advertise massage therapy jobs. It’s easy for people to share the post amongst their network, or to tag others who might be interested. In short, your followers will help to manage the recruiting for you.
Below is an excellent post from Venus Day Spa, which clearly mentions the role they’re looking to fill and how applicants can get in touch.
Instagram is also a great platform for getting in front of potential hires. Here’s an example of a “We’re hiring” post from Zoi’A Spa and Salon:
Interview questions to ask if if you’re a spa hiring massage therapists
Once you have a good list of candidates, it’s time to start the interview process.
What exactly should you be asking when hiring a massage therapist? Consider the questions below:
“Why did you decide to become a massage therapist?”
This may seem like a pretty basic interview question, but the answer can give you great insight into whether a candidate’s attitude and philosophy are closely aligned with your business.
It’s also an open prompt that allows them to elaborate on other relevant career experiences or personal anecdotes. The more information you have, the more likely it is that you will make the best hiring choice.
“What is your availability/willingness to work split shifts etc.?
This is crucial to hiring decisions in an industry where work hours aren’t always standard. It’s important as an employer that you are upfront about the need for flexibility, especially on weekends or holidays. Setting clear expectations during the interview will get you and potential employees on the same page and avoid future conflicts.
“Do you have a favorite service / specialize in a particular service?”
This is useful to know, even when you aren’t actively looking to hire a massage therapist with a specific niche. Knowing what services a candidate leans into the most could help inform your hiring decision.
For example, if a candidate has expertise in a massage type that your spa doesn’t currently offer, this provides a great opportunity to expand your service offerings.
“How would you manage a client who is behaving inappropriately?”
This isn’t a pleasant scenario to think about, but knowing how to handle uncomfortable situations is an essential part of the job. While every spa or massage boutique has its own set of guidelines, it’s important that new hires know how to de-escalate situations in a way that won’t damage your business’s reputation. The answer will tell you a lot about a candidate’s communication skills, confidence, and professionalism.
“What are some initiatives that you could bring to the business?”
New employees can be a fantastic source of new ideas. This question allows candidates to demonstrate their value to your business in more ways than just their massage skills.
As well as being able to provide outstanding service, it’s those less tangible assets in new hires that will help you to grow your business. For example, if someone helped to manage social media postings at a previous spa, this could make them a great source of new spa advertising and marketing ideas.
Part 2: Training a New Massage Therapist
Now that you have a new employee, you need to bring them up to speed on the day-to-day operations at your business.
While they might be a very experienced massage therapist, every establishment has different procedures. Therefore, it’s important to have a thorough onboarding process in place.
Onboarding is one of the most overlooked parts of therapist hiring. Once they have selected a candidate, many businesses feel as though the hard part is over. Yet it plays a huge role in your ability to retain staff. According to TinyPulse, 69% of new hires stick around for at least three years when there is a well-structured onboarding program in place.
Massage therapist onboarding tips
Create an employee handbook
An employee handbook is an invaluable resource for both new hires and current staff. By making it required reading during the onboarding process, this can save on lengthy verbal explanations concerning employer expectations and codes of conduct.
Set aside a specified time period for orientation
Instead of throwing new employees straight into the deep end, consider dedicating the first week of an employment contract to onboarding only. This gives your new staff member time to meet fellow staff and iron out the necessary formalities.
Focus on building confidence in your new employee
Starting a new job is always nerve-wracking, especially when it’s a client-facing role like massage therapy. Your onboarding process should be designed to nurture new staff and give them space and time to raise any questions they might have.
Best practices for training new staff
The training period for new massage therapists will differ depending on the position and the person’s level of experience, but 4-5 weeks is the typical timeframe. This should cover areas including but not limited to:
- Etiquette for welcoming clients
- IT skills e.g. online booking systems
- Hygiene/cleaning protocols
- Codes for uniform/appearance
- Teaching new massage techniques or treatments that are unique to your spa
- Codes of conduct
Use a variety of methods
Remember that people have different learning styles and preferences, so be sure to cover all your bases when training new massage therapist hires. Implement job specific training using written manuals, videos, checklists, and demonstrations. It’s also a good idea to have new therapists shadow other employees so they can get a feel of the day-day-day practices in your spa. In today’s day and age of social media, it is also worth educating your staff on social media if you wish to focus them on your social media pages.
Here’s an example of how Endotaspa in Australia uses social media to showcase their employees ever so often.
Combined, these training methods will give your new therapists a well-rounded experience of what it’s like to work at your company.
Focus on developing brand knowledge
Your staff are representatives of your brand and responsible for upholding its values. Regardless of how good their technical skills are, new massage therapists need to be brought up to speed on your unique selling proposition.
While it can be tempting to let new employees “pick it up as they go along”, uneven knowledge about your brand and company culture can cause problems in the form of dissatisfied customers. Instead, actively invest in your new employees in the form of training seminars, brand guides, or even pop quizzes to make learning the ropes fun and engaging.
Ask for feedback
Your training processes should be continually assessed as your business grows to see where you can make improvements. Ask new employees for feedback throughout the onboarding and training period, and whether they have any suggestions for how to improve it. A better process creates happier employees, which means a lower staff turnover at your salon.
Introducing new staff to existing employees
When hiring new massage therapists, it’s important to make them feel a part of the team. These three steps will help you to successfully integrate new hires into your spa:
Make an official announcement
There should always be a formal update in the form of a staff newsletter or email when your spa makes a new hire. To make it more engaging, consider asking your new massage therapist to submit a photo, a short bio, and some fun personal facts. Although differing schedules will mean that some technicians won’t get the chance to work alongside them, it’s important to keep all of your staff in the loop.
Get your existing staff involved with the training process
If you are the business owner, it’s unlikely that you will have time to oversee the entire orientation process on your own. Handing off different parts of the onboarding process will introduce your new hire to other employees and help them to build professional relationships more quickly.
Provide opportunities for your staff to socialize
It’s always beneficial for your staff to interact outside the pressures of the workplace. Planning a social event to celebrate the joining of a new team member is an excellent way to bring everyone together and make new hires feel welcome.
Evaluating the performance of your new hire
It’s a good idea to track over the following weeks and months how well your new employee is performing. If you hired a new massage therapist to meet a certain business objective, such as boosting the number of new clients at your spa, it’s important to measure whether this is being met.
Pro tip: Use your appointment booking system to do this. A good platform (like Genbook) would have an analytics function that allows you to track the booking rates of your therapists. If your new employee is consistently busy during their shifts, it’s a good sign that they are bringing in a lot of business.
If this goal isn’t being achieved, check in with your new staff member and ask if there are ways you can better support them. Regular performance reviews are also a constructive way to address concerns and manage expectations.
Here’s to your growing team’s success!
Hiring massage therapists and getting them on board are time-intensive processes, but getting them right from the start will make the journey a whole lot smoother.
By knowing exactly what you’re looking for in a prospective employee and having a streamlined onboarding process, you can attract great talent and reduce staff turnover at your spa. With a brilliant team of technicians on the side, your business is set to go from strength to strength! And while you are set to welcome new employees, don’t forget to calculate how they will contribute to your businesses’ bottom line. Genbook’s Pricing Insight tool can help you get these numbers easily. Use this tool to get insights into your average annual revenue, average booking value, and more. Try it for FREE