Pulse August / September 2022 - Page 19

Elevate the Experience On his way to explaining what makes for a memorable moment , Heath first dispelled a common misconception many people have .“ We might think that to design a great employee experience , a world-class customer experience , that it means every detail has to be impeccable , has to be perfect from end to end . But in fact , if you study the kinds of experiences that people cherish … you get a very different formula ,” he explained .
So , if it isn ’ t perfection that sticks in the memory , what is it ? According to Heath , the moments people tend to hold onto most deeply are “ the most positive moments in a positive experience or the most negative moments in a negative experience ,” adding that experts refer to those moments as “ peaks .”
One key to creating positive peak moments is to focus on elevating the groups or individuals around us . To illustrate his point , Heath shared a story about a company that has turned each employee ’ s first day of work into a fullscale celebration of that individual . Rather than treating the first day like a “ bureaucratic formality ,” the company developed a personal connection with the new employee before they arrived , dedicated time and resources to welcoming them aboard , included a personal welcome message from the CEO , set up a “ coffee date ” with other leaders and excitedly shared the work they are most excited to be doing at the company .
“ You walk out of there that day thinking two things ,” said Heath .“ The work we ’ re doing here matters , and I belong here . Imagine how that would feel .” The elevation of a new employee may look different from business to business , or from spa to spa , Heath conceded , while stressing the importance of the “ emotional core ” of such an experience , one that elevates a new hire and creates a sense of belonging and

“ If you want to boost engagement and boost loyalty ,

loyalty , you ’ ve got to listen , and you ’ ve got to change something in response to what you hear . It ’ s that simple .”

purpose right from the start .
Heath gave spa leaders a blueprint for creating their own elevated experiences , describing a school that hosts professional athlete-style welcome press conferences for new employees and has a candidate ’ s future colleagues deliver job offers to create an instant sense of connection and community . By creating experiences that are so much more special than the bureaucratic formalities Heath mentioned before , they can ’ t help but stand out in comparison . As Heath concluded ,“ Great experiences hinge on key moments .”
The Power of Responsiveness In any relationship , be it a marriage , a friendship or a business partnership , it is crucial for each party to feel understood , validated and cared for by the other . In other words , responsiveness makes relationships stronger . Citing the research of psychologist Harry Reese , Heath explained ,“ If you want to boost engagement and boost loyalty , you ’ ve got to listen , and you ’ ve got to change something in response to what you hear . It ’ s that simple .”
Given the spa industry ’ s challenges related to recruiting and retaining employees , Heath shared this guidance to help leaders create a culture of support and genuine concern for the needs of spa employees .“ If I were in your shoes , I would tick through the faces on my staff one by one and ask ,‘ What ’ s the last time Diana really felt like she was heard or that her voice changed something in the way we work ?’” Heath said . “ Responsiveness is about awareness and tailoring .”
When employees feel as though the actions of their employers are attuned to their needs , they feel a sense of validation and support that is difficult to generate in other ways . If a massage therapist ’ s concerns are listened to , but nothing changes as a result , the employee is naturally going to feel as though those concerns aren ’ t seen as important in their workplace , even if that is not true . At the same time , if spa leaders make changes to the way things operate but do so without involving their employees , they will likely seem detached from the concerns of their teams .
Heath admitted that advising spa leaders to listen and respond to their teams ’ concerns sounds simple , but noted that the simplicity of the approach is what ’ s appealing about it . In addition , creating moments of clear responsiveness can happen starting at any time , without the need to develop a new internal process or launch an initiative within the spa .“ If you ’ re having a hard time pinpointing moments when [ your team ] felt responded to , I have great news : it can change this week —[ make ] sure people are heard , and [ make ] sure something is done differently as a result ,” he said .
Study Success Conventional wisdom tells us that when trying to improve a business , it is vital to first identify problems , failures or shortcomings and then find ways to
AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 n PULSE 17