The Benefits of Hiring an Interim Spa Director

Your spa director just gave his or her notice. Unfortunately, it was the typical two-week notice in the middle of your busiest time of year. Your team is already working long hours to accommodate guests, and your work plate is overflowing. Sound familiar? No matter what industry you are in, this scenario is all too common. Within the spa industry, organizations have little wiggle room for existing staff members to take on more responsibility, even temporarily.

This month, I sat down with Hutchinson Consulting’s Jean Kolb, an executive coach in the spa industry who is often placed by Hutchinson as a temporary spa director. Relying on temps in spa management has increased over the past couple of years. Curious as to what was causing this new trend, we did a little digging. According to Kolb, this staffing crisis creates a great opportunity for an organization to bring in someone with industry knowledge to not only fill the gap but to also assess your current state of business and make observations along with recommendations for future growth and increased efficiencies. It also gives you time to find the ideal candidate for the permanent position. Here, Kolb shares some advice on hiring an interim manager to maximize your gap in full-time staff.

First, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Was the previous director ideal for your group, and do you want someone with similar traits to come in and continue the progress that you are seeing?
  • Was the previous director damaging to the organization, and do you want someone with totally different leadership skills moving forward?
  • Do you need someone with a higher skill set to increase your success in the future?

You want the interim director to portray to the existing team what their overall purpose is during their short tenure. Once you know what you want and need, you can then go out and look for that person through social media, job banks, and local online ads. When time is of the essence, consider calling in reinforcements. Work with an organization that has a good pool of experts on hand.

When negotiating an agreement with a contractor, keep these tips in mind:

  • Set clear expectations in writing as to what you want accomplished. Examples may include maintaining high standards of customer service at the front desk, maintaining the operations budget, running weekly staff meetings, and more.
  • Be clear on the time frame. You want them to work with both a beginning and an end date. If you need the contract to be open-ended, make sure it is stated as such. You can add language, such as “no earlier than or no later than,” in order to box in the time, if necessary. Also, state your expectations as to your typical work day and the number of days per week you’ll be requiring them to work.
  • Clearly state the expectations of reimbursable expenses. This includes things like airfare, transportation to and from airports, and meal allowances.
  • Request a summary report for the new director as well as for management to have a better picture of the successes and challenges within an organization. If you require one, state it in the contract along with what you want the summary report to include.

Whatever you do, do your homework when considering a candidate. Rely on recommendations, and be sure to have confidence in the person or organization making the recommendation. Ask for references, and follow up to ensure you are getting the right person for this temporary, but crucial, job.

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