Who Runs The Show?

Staffing issues abound.  By far, it is the number one complaint of employers and the reason I am most contacted for consulting.  It goes something like this.  You have a successful practice and are turning away business.  You decide it is time to branch out, hire someone and take a cut of building someone else’s business.  You interview and find an appropriate candidate.  The fit seems good for your practice.  The massage skills are apparent and the person seems “nice”.  Lo and behold, you have hired your first staff.  Perhaps you have even done this a few times and have several staff members at this point.

And then personalities come into play.  This one doesn’t like that one.  That one is always late, breezing in past clients in the waiting room minutes before her scheduled appointment.  Perhaps the person who shares your room doesn’t leave it as clean as you would like.  Maybe the furniture gets moved and now there are scratches on your hardwood floors.   Does anyone else empty the trash but you?  Rule number one of employment…. no one will care about your business as much as you.

Equally important to good hands and a nice personality is business acumen.  This vital skill can help run your business smoothly or can frustrate you beyond words.  Time and time again, I consult with people who have staff that drives them crazy, takes advantage of them and runs the show.   There is no fool proof way to avoid this but consider asking business questions during the interview process.  Propose business situations and case studies and ask for solutions and feedback.  The responses can be very telling.  If you don’t like what you hear, don’t hire that person.  Although business acumen can be taught, there is an inherent personality type that either has it or doesn’t.

Consider weekly staff meetings.  Even if it is just you and one other therapist, meet on a regular basis to discuss what is working, what isn’t working and air any greivances.  Grudges can bring a business down and toxicity can spread to clients.  Make it clear when hiring that these meetings are mandatory and schedule them accordingly.   Sure it is time consuming and can seem like a drag, but make it a priority.  You set the tone and the rules.  You run the show.

Stay focused.

3 comments for “Who Runs The Show?

  1. Casey
    May 13, 2012 at 3:56 AM

    It’s never too late to change things!  I have been in business for 18+ years and know that I am still learning and changing how my business runs.   And, yes, dealing with individuals can be both a blessing and a frustration.  .   Having a face to face meeting is not such a good idea for us because we are almost never there at the same time as we set overlapping hours to offer better coverage, but I can agree that it is a good idea.  I do try to meet individually with my therapists at least once or twice a year to make sure that they are still happy working there and remind them to let me know if there are issues we need to discuss.  I recently brought on board a new therapist and took that opportunity to
    issue an internal memo to share with her some of my business’ basic
    philosophies and to remind everyone else about them at the same time.  All are required to sign off on the memo that they have read it.  I find that this works well for us, but then again, nothing works all the time for everyone!  I do share the belief that making it clear in the interview stage about what you expect (and in the contract that they sign before coming to work for you) is crucial!

  2. Gina
    February 18, 2012 at 7:16 AM

    I am a LMT and own a day spa. We have 5 LMT’s, 1 esthetician, and 1 nail technician, 2 front desk receptionists. We’ve been open for 4 years, and this has been my biggest challenge from the beginning. Sometimes it seems like it’s getting a little better, then again it’s back as an issue. I just take it now as part of being a business owner, and roll with it. Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives. If I were to start all over again, I would have approached it differently from the very beginning. But it’s hard to start over once you’re already in it…unless over time you do it as new staff come aboard.

  3. January 13, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    This can be such a touchy area. I’m not sure if it is part of being the “helping” type that can make it so difficult for so many LMT’s to step into the manager shoes and take charge. You make an excellent point though…the toxic attitude of just one employee can effect your entire practice, the other employees and even the clients. It’s not worth letting it get to this point.

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