“ We ’ re always trying to create personal connections with our customers , it ’ s important to do the same with each other .”
— JALEESA HONRADE , director of spa and recreation at Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club
leaders a natural advantage in this third aspect of employee engagement .
“ I make it a point to know what ’ s going on in people ’ s lives , recognize when they have something going on outside of work — a new certification , a new puppy ,” Jaleesa says .“ I text them on their birthdays , check in on them . We ’ re always trying to create personal connections with our customers , it ’ s important to do the same with each other .”
Tammy nurtures similar connections with her staff .“ As an owner and a working manager , I ’ m right in the lines of everything . I want employees to feel valued and know their opinion does matter .”
Nancy shares a memory about taking an opportunity to form personal connections after her spa emerged from Covid restrictions .“ When we initially reopened , we were a fused team — some were new , some had returned from pre-closure , kind of the Brady Bunch ,” she recalls .“ We posted a large blank page on a wall in a shared area and wrote ‘ What is your greatest joy ?’ at the top , calling for anonymous write-ins . It was so beautiful to see all we have in common . We had fun guessing who might have written that they like a specific sports team or other joys in their lives .” Nancy shares an additional tip : “ We make sure to recognize what treats or snacks individuals really like so we know how to celebrate for them in the future .”
Ginger likes to make sure her staff feel seen and understood , so when they approach her with a personal issue , she sometimes tells them ,“ I ’ m not your boss right now ,
I ’ m just another human being . Let ’ s talk .” She also encourages her leadership team to be understanding that team members are experiencing stresses that may be weighing them down .“ I tell all managers they should have at least a two-minute interaction with every team member several times each month . It helps when we recognize what is going on in their personal life .”
INTERNAL INFLUENCE Employees ’ ability to affect their organization ’ s policies and corporate culture — in other words , their influence on internal operations — is the fourth tenet of employee engagement .
Nancy has noticed an uptick since the pandemic in her spa staff members ’ desire to help shape behind-the-scenes happenings .“ Employees request team meetings ,” she says , noting that would not have happened three or five years ago .“ Sometimes they ’ re just looking for an open conversation . Having that open dialog with the team is valuable . Then , when something comes up that is unexpected , there ’ s a comfort level in communicating .”
One recent example of employee influence occurred before the holiday season .“ They helped shape the decision to close for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays ,” says Nancy .“ They wanted to be with their loved ones to celebrate . It was a huge morale boost . I know they felt appreciated as individuals who have a life outside the spa .” Jaleesa seeks staff input before making new policy
“ Having that open dialogue with the team is valuable . Then , when something comes up that is unexpected , there ’ s a comfort level in communicating .”
– NANCY KING , director of spa and retail at Spa Ritual at Sycuan
JANUARY 2023 n PULSE 33