Spa employee reviews can be tense and dreaded but they don’t have to be! Every spa business should hold employee reviews annually around the date of when the employee began. There are many different reasons to perform employee reviews and they are beneficial to both the spa employee and the spa owner/spa manager.

A good employee review will accomplish the following:

Legal protection

Improvement in quality of work

Goal setting

Discussion of advancement opportunities

Increased job satisfaction

Eliminate the stress of a spa employee review by following these five simple steps:

1. Be Consistent

It’s vital to keep spa employee reviews consistent. You want to set the pace and build expectation within the business. Communicate clearly when and where the review will take place every year. Set the appointment at least ten days in advance and makes sure you give your employee plenty of time to prepare. Keep in mind that whether you’re conducting a review with a spa manager or spa front desk worker, the reviews should be handled the same. Pick a place to hold the spa employee review that’s private and where there will be no interruptions.

2. Prepare Yourself & Your Spa Employee

Preparation is key to avoiding a stressful spa employee review. As the spa manager or spa owner, it’s your responsibility to prepare yourself and your employee. Provide your employee with a blank copy of the performance appraisal sheet in advance so that they’re aware of the meeting agenda. If you’re choosing to have your spa employee perform a self-evaluation, make sure you give it to them in plenty of time to complete it.

Prepare yourself by gathering any important information and documentation you’ll need to review with your employee. These items may include goals set from a previous meeting, feedback from coworkers and spa guests, work roles and procedures, accident reports, attendance records, and any disciplinary notes.

It’s assumed that you already have a performance appraisal sheet you’ll be working off of, but if you haven’t developed one yet, make sure you take the time to do so, or find one online. Be sure to use the same form for every employee.

3. Address Performance Results & Behaviors In Relation to Objectives

During the review, you want to make sure you’re addressing the employee’s performance results and behaviors in relation to the objectives you’ve placed before them. Evaluate the job performance and not the individual. As you bring up each problem or area that needs to be addressed, allow the employee to discuss it with you. Engage the spa employee and work towards solutions that are right for them. Don’t move onto another area until each one is resolved.

It may be easy to evaluate the employee on a personal level. Avoid doing this by refocusing on the performance results and behaviors.

In 10 Steps to An Effective Performance Review, Business Management Daily outlines some easy steps for addressing problems.

Describe the performance problem.

Reinforce performance standards.

Develop a plan for improvement.

Offer your help.

Alternate negative and positive comments.

Emphasize potential.

4. Set Goals

Setting goals with your employee is vital. You will need to confidently set objectives for the next performance period. This is a good time to invite the employee to discuss work/life balance and also to set goals for themselves. Don’t assume that your employee will be onboard about any goal you set. Bounce ideas back and forth and set measurable, realistic objectives with them. Along with goals, additional trainings and professional spa development can also be discussed or proposed at this time. Write down all of your goals for the spa employee so you can revisit them in the next review.

5. Summarize

Before ending the review, you will want to summarize what you discussed and make sure you’re on the same page. Ask the employee if they have any questions and encourage them. Ending on a positive note will help set the tone for future employee reviews and will leave you both feeling good about the meeting. At the end of the review, have the employee sign the performance appraisal sheet or a sheet with clear goals on it and give them a hard copy to keep

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely mine and not those of my employer or anyone else; nor are they intended as professional HR counseling upon which readers should rely.

“The only thing that is constant is change.” Heraclitus

We live in a fast-paced, dynamic and constantly changing environment (political, economic, social and technological) and businesses today need to be more agile than ever before. They need to be responsive, adaptable, flexible and constantly evolving to the needs and demands of their clients. Cultural change is often an essential prerequisite for successful implementation of any change program.

First, let’s come to a common understanding of corporate culture. The term has been bandied about for decades. The basic definition of corporate culture is the collective way that an organization operates: ‘how we do things around here’. However, the concept is fairly complex. Usually, a culture has developed over time and can be one of the most difficult challenges for leaders to address and change, especially in government agencies and departments.

As the Chief Human Resource Officer for a large cabinet level agency, I found that driving culture change was extremely difficult. One reason for the difficulty is while the leaders of the organization changed because of political transition, the employees did not. Consider the fact that at the highest levels of government, change occurs every four to eight years – and in some state governments, term limitations assure that change happens every two years. Yet, the majority of government employees have been in place for years, and some for decades. Many employees were grounded in the way ‘it was always done’, and resisted any attempt to do things new or in a different way. Similarly, there are other corporations and nonprofit organizations that take on the same cultural structures with 20 and 30-year employees establishing the underlying culture and new entrants arriving with different ideas and ways of approaching the business spearheading culture change.

Culture should be Intentional

Corporate culture refers to the shared values, attitudes, behaviors and beliefs that characterize the members of that organization and define its purpose and nature. Corporate culture is embedded in the organization’s goals, strategies, structure, and approaches to their employees, customers, shareholders, investors, and the greater community.

These are just some of the examples of behaviors or “things we do around here” that contribute to an organization’s corporate culture:

  • how information is communicated
  • how feedback is given
  • how performance is managed
  • how projects are co-coordinated
  • the way meetings are held and the structure of the organization
  • the hierarchy, roles, silos, matrix and/or cross-functional teams

Every organization has its own culture whether they are consciously aware of it or not. Culture matters as much as your organization’s brand. Zappos, the online shoe company has built its brand around their corporate culture. Their culture is summarized in the tagline, “work hard, play hard”. What’s important about studying an example of corporate culture like Zappo’s is not to emulate the culture, but to clearly define culture for your organization and ensure that values and behaviors align are understood by every employee.

The video summarizes Zappos unique culture.

What are the drivers for cultural change? The business must understand what the drivers are for change as this will enable the preparation of a strong business case and achieve buy-in from all stakeholders. There could be a number of drivers:

  • an economic downturn
  • challenging trading conditions
  • plans for growth or expansion
  • a change in direction or strategy
  • technological changes and advancements
  • increased competition
  • customer pressures
  • government legislation or regulation changes
  • a new election cycle.

Whatever the business reasons are for change you need to know or assess your starting point, where you are today (an honest appraisal), where you want to be and how you are going to get there (a realistic, but challenging set of goals).

Leadership – Buy In

Managers at all levels in the organization have a critical role to play in any change program. They need to embody the organization’s corporate culture, its mission (the purpose), its vision (where we want to be), its strategy (how we will achieve this), its objectives & goals (what we need to achieve), its values (guiding principles to achieve the vision and goals), its behaviors (how we need to behave to support the vision) and its practices and procedures.

Managers are vital for cascading information from the C-Suite throughout the organization. They need to be the role models for presenting and communicating the vision and mission, demonstrating and supporting the behaviors that produce the desired results and outcomes for the organization’s strategic objectives and goals.

Employee Involvement

Successful change happens when employees are involved and engaged in those changes. Managers must present a compelling story that motivates employees to accept the changes. They must also have good insight and recognize employees who may resist the change process in order to create strategies and tactics to garner support. Throughout my career, I have been responsible for change initiatives. For example, as the Co-Director of team-based structures and systems in a large telecommunications company, I spearheaded a significant change process. The driver for the change was to support the company in succeeding in a competitive marketplace. Establishing teams led the way to success, and helped make the company the first choice for its customers.

Teams reinforced the company’s values of empowerment, accountability, customer-driven focus and diversity. Teams were a way to improve work processes and ultimately customer service. That company understood its place in the competitive marketplace and used teams as a strategy for getting to where it wanted to be. You could argue that most businesses are constantly in a state of change whether that’s growth, downsizing, restructuring or right-sizing although, we need to consider how many organizations go through significant changes successfully and maintain high levels of engagement, motivation and productivity.

In my current position, as the Chief Human Resource Officer for an NGO, each year I take employees offsite to evaluate the success and opportunities we have for improvement. I facilitate a meeting which allows the employees to set goals and targets for the upcoming year. Those goals and targets become the basis for individual performance plans and accountability. I have found that when employees set goals for themselves, there is more buy-in, and employees feel responsible for a successful outcome in a more deliberate way.

These goals and targets are always in alignment with the mission and core values of the company, another critical component of culture change. Do your employees live and breathe the mission of the company? Are they guided by the core values of the company? Having a simple and easy to understand mission statement (think Zappo’s) gives employees real purpose to every task, activity and decision they make; and understanding the values offers employees a set of guidelines to the behaviors and mindset needed to achieve the vision.

Communication: Employee Ambassadors

Communication is critical to the success of any change program, before (communicating a clear vision), during (managing expectations and keeping everyone informed) and after (reviewing and measuring success) implementation. Cultural change programs often involve addressing and changing behaviors and therefore, organizations could consider employee forums, workshops and training sessions to work through the necessary changes.

Every change program needs ambassadors in the business that support and communicate regularly to the organization’s stakeholders and members. There may be a need to appoint Change Agents, depending on the size of the organization, to liaise between senior management and the employees. They might work together with the project management team and may be selected specifically to be the “voice” of the employees and ensure they are informed at every stage of the change process.

As Director of Change Management for a company, I led multiple “open space” conferences that involved over 600 employees to create ideas to formulate a corporate diversity strategy. Those employees were a subset of an organization of over 250K employees. They became the voice of their peers in formulating a powerful mission and vision for the company to support diversity objectives, and following the conference, became change agents and ambassadors for the success of the diversity program.

Changing the corporate culture is probably one of the most difficult and complex–as well as exciting type of change program. If you want to attract and retain top talent, create a great place for people to work. Happy employees are motivated and productive. So it is worth investing time, effort and energy in addressing and cultivating your organization’s culture.

About the Author

Janie L. Payne is an accomplished, innovative and forward thinking Human Capital leader, Change Management Architect, and Senior Coach with 15+ years of private, federal, and not-for-profit experience. Janie is currently the Chief Human Resources Officer for Global Communities; an international non-profit organization that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable.

Prior to Global Communities, Ms. Payne enjoyed a ten-year career with the federal government. As a member of the Senior Executive Service, she held key strategic Human Resources positions with multiple cabinet level agencies. Before joining the federal sector, Payne had a remarkable career with Verizon Communications.

Janie is known for her intuitive skill in executive coaching, designing and leading complex systems change, diversity, and inclusion and social justice reform efforts. She has a Master’s Degree in Organization Development from the American University, numerous professional development certificates in Human Capital Management and Change Management. Janie is also a trained mediator and Certified Professional Coach, a member and graduate of Leadership America, a member of the National Training Laboratory, Inside NGO, The Society for Human Resource Management, and an advisory board member for FPMI.

Winning the respect, trust and confidence of line managers and making a difference

Ask many line managers what they think of HR managers and you will get a variety of views from the positive to the most damning.

Examples are:

“Excellent. Very professional.”

“Very responsive, supportive and helpful”

“Great if I can ever get hold of them”

“Talk their own language. Not really in touch with the needs of the business. A bit flakey”

“You mean the dead hand of HR!”

As the issue of effective HR management has grown in importance over the years so has the need for HR managers to be both responsive and proactive in meeting the needs of their developing organisations.

Clearly it’s important that an organisation’s employees are paid on time, they are able to access the benefits they are entitled to and can receive straightforward help and advice from HR when needed.

This operational piece of the HR management responsibility needs to be reliable and responsive in every respect. Getting the basics right is all important.

So is partnering with line managers in recruitment activities, performance management processes, training and personal development provision. These are all very necessary, core elements of the HR function’s role. Organisation’s have every right to expect that HR managers will be proficient in these areas.

But what about gaining the respect, trust and confidence of line managers, over and above these basics? How can HR managers really add value? Here are eight tips.


HR managers need to clearly understand the organisation’s vision and challenge the CEO if it is not clear. They need to create an aligned vision for HR to support the corporate vision.

They need to draft a vision, share it with selected line managers, check it, refine it and communicate it both to the HR team and line managers. They need to be clear on HR’s vision for future success, and clear on how it is aligned to the organisation’s overall vision.


HR managers must be clear on their organisation’s objectives. They need to put clear, measurable objectives and milestones to the HR vision. They need to make their objectives concrete, tangible and deliverable with time frames attached.

They need to announce them and ‘stick’ to them. They need to communicate their success in achieving them. They need to be seen as “business like”.


HR managers need to understand their organisation’s strategy. They need to be clear on their HR strategy to deliver their objectives. How will HR be positioned within the organisation as a whole? How will it work alongside the business to deliver the strategy of the business? How will it marry the day to day needs of the business with the longer term development needs?

How will it operate with closer external specialists and suppliers? What short, medium and long term plans does it have to really add value to the business?

What changes will need to be made to deliver the strategy?

HR managers need to answer these questions, share their strategy and plans with the business and their standing will automatically be enhanced!


HR is in the business of attracting, acquiring and developing the RIGHT people. HR managers will need to assess the quality of the organisation’s existing people and compare their current capabilities to the capabilities required by the organisation in the future. That’s why they need to understand the organisation’s vision, objectives and strategy so well.

They need to compare the current competency framework to a desired competency framework, say three years from now. What will be different in the requirement of the organisation’s people? How will this impact the type of people the organisation will need, where in the business, and when?

HR managers need to create a strategic HR development plan to deliver the right people resources to the organisation to meet both its current and future needs. The use of performance management, personal development and capability management systems will help them to do this accurately. They must get transparency of the organisation’s human resources to plan effectively.


HR managers need to structure the HR function in the most appropriate way.

They should centralise those activities which are core to the whole business. This will include policy development, recruitment, compensation and benefits, performance management, personal development and disciplinary processes. Many of these are governed by legislation and need to be corporate wide, although there may have to be regional or county variations.

HR business managers should be allocated to lines of business to work closely alongside line managers to create and deliver specific interventions to meet their ongoing needs. These people need to be seen as true business partners adding specialist knowledge and skills to line managers. In a sense they are internal consultants clearly understanding the business as well as best practice in HR management and development in the market place.


HR managers should employ “fit for purpose” systems for both HR management and HR development. This does not mean the most sophisticated, costly and “heavy weight” systems. They should choose systems that can be easily integrated with one another, are customisable and require little management time.

Systems need to be user friendly as the trend is for managers to use them to ‘self-serve’ more and more these days.

Systems should work together holistically enabling the organisation to obtain transparency of its entire human resource, to enable it to adopt the best people acquisition, retention and development process.

Knowledge and Skills

HR managers need to ensure that they and their team members really understand the business they work for, including its:

– Market-place

– Customers

– Products/ services

– Routes to market

– Competition

– Major commercial challenges

– Threats, e.g. legal constraints

– Vision, strategy and objectives

– Plans for the future – short, medium and long term

– Culture and values

– Leadership and management style beliefs

Many HR managers fall down because they lack essential knowledge of the business and fail to use the language and terminologies which clearly show that they understand the core business and how it works.

They should avoid “HR speak” which really turns off line managers. This may be helpful shorthand to HR professionals but it is an anathema for line managers and their staff. HR managers should focus on the objective, tangible, concrete, business related issues not just the softer, behavioural and more subjective issues.

They should gain respect for their knowledge of HR issues as well as the tangible issues faced by the business. After all, human resources are just one element of tackling these issues. When handling people related problems HR managers should go back to the vision, objectives and strategy of the business before embarking on solutions.

HR managers should expand their knowledge to include strategic thinking, change management, business planning and organisation development. Oh and finally HR managers and their teams need to become very IT savvy! They are usually not!

Leadership and Management

The HR manager’s role is to challenge where necessary the behaviours exhibited by managers, who clearly do not ‘walk the talk’. They are to a large extent guardians of the culture and values and need to be seen to be adopting this role.

HR managers should ‘educate’ senior line managers on modern management thinking, helping them to move away from a command and control approach to a more collaborative, consensual working style which truly engages and motivates employees at all levels to give of their best.

The job of today’s managers is to recognise and release talent at all levels not to overlook it or squash it. Performance management systems, personal development programs and reward systems all need to focus on the behaviors and competence required of managers to imbed the corporate values and culture into the organisation. It is the job of the HR manager to ensure that this happens.

So how well have you developed your skills in these eight areas of expertise as an HR manager? Check out how well you are currently doing by using the list below. Tick the box on the left of the statements only if it is TRUE of you.

Start each statement with the words “I..

Top of Form

Have a vision, clearly communicated and accepted, for the role of the HR which is aligned to the corporate vision.

Have short term (up to one year), medium term (two to three years) and longer term (over three years) objectives for the HR function.

Have a thought through written strategy and plan to deliver my objectives.

Am able to assess accurately the organisation’s current HR needs and its future needs, aligning its corporate development plan to strategic HR reviews.

Have a structure for my HR team which enables it to play a centralised and decentralised role in the business, catering for its daily operational needs, and its future development needs.

Have in place HR management and development systems that are fit for purpose, reliable and user friendly.

Am investing in my own and my team’s knowledge and skills in specific areas of HR and wider business related areas.

Challenge the behaviours of managers at all levels of the organisation to live out the corporate values, and my performance management and reward systems reinforce the need to walk the talk.

Am seen as a respected, knowledgeable professional in whom people can put their trust because they have confidence in me.

Continually invest in my own and my team’s personal growth and development.

Total Score:
Bottom of Form

How did you score?

8-10 – Excellent to very good. You have a few gaps to fill.

5 to 8 – Very good to fair. You have quite a few gaps to fill.

0 to 5 – Not so good. If you believe in the points made in this article you have some way to go!

You could say that these are the basics. Getting them right will in itself enhance the HR manager’s standing and reputation. However there are also issues to consider.

These include:

– Being emotionally intelligent

– Being ‘politically’ savvy

– Exercising critical judgement

– Influencing without authority

– Being a catalyst for change

– Having personal credibility

– Being culturally aware

– Conflict resolution skills

– Team building skills

– Managing upwards and managing peers

Whether you are an individual employee, contractor, department or a stock owned company at some point you need to answer the question – How Much Are You Worth? The challenge isn’t necessarily to get the number correct, as it is to living up to the expectations.

Someone that is applying for a job usually will need to negotiate their salary at some point unless it is a fixed entry level position. Knowing what the market rate is and how qualified for the position the employee is determines a wide range to negotiate within. In some cases the proposal process for a contractor is very similar except the budget is a bigger part of how the proposal is formed.

Departments and companies are assessing their worth on how well they meet goals and reach their potential. Companies will often close departments that don’t perform up to expectations just like stock holders will sell their stock in companies that fail to meet earnings potential.

Some Human Resources and Training functions like to skate along believing that their role is so vital and indispensable that no matter how well or poorly they perform their world will remain untouched. And while many agree that their roles are vital and indispensable, they are subject to the same realities of performance that the internal sales group is, and will be outsource, downsized or closed if they don’t show their worth.

In one year alone I personally watched the training function in 3 banks close completely. Two others terminated their staff and reorganized under new leadership and staff. I watched two associates that where HR Managers lose their jobs and a host of others change companies for a variety of reasons. And these are only a snapshot from my limited perspective on what can happen when these functions become too comfy in their jobs.

In talking with one training manager who was asking me for a referral, I asked why the department was closed. She said that she was told that the value of having a training department was not evident, so the decision was made to cut the expense. When I asked her how she responded, she said that the decision had already been made and there was nothing she could do.

This is the roughest time to explain your worth, let alone demonstrate your worth to the company. It is also why I harp a lot about knowing not only your personal value, but how your department makes a difference in the company. Practical examples, with facts and figures should be part of all HR and Training leaders’ DNA. At any point you should be able to prove your worth, your value and how having your function makes money or saves money.

One of the easiest and yet most overlooked way to communicate value is with an annual strategic work plan. What is on the task list for HR & Training this year, and why? Not only should there be a comprehensive look at the projects that span out over the calendar year, there should be a matching of each project to a strategic reason that aligns with a business need.

Yet even though a month of the New Year has passed, the averages tell me that fewer than 25% of you are working off an HR or Training plan. January has passed and very few of you have probably documented the worth of your function in the first month. To a bottom line company, especially a bank, 1/12 of the annual budget has been spent for operating costs and every department should be able to provide a monthly value proposition. By the end of the year, each department should be able to account for not only their value, by the financial worth of keeping them into the next year.

Another challenge that HR and Training often face is that their jobs are not evaluated from the departmental function like an audit of a branch, or the accounting function. In many companies, HR and Training have never been reviewed, so there are some really cool things happening that go completely unnoticed along with some stuff that should have stopped or at least been revised years ago.

There are plenty of HR and Training Consultants that can conduct both mini and comprehensive audits, and they create well documented findings reports that point out both problem areas, and potential Oscar Awards.

The training function according to several sources is making a comeback, and I want to encourage all of you to kick things into high gear and work hard to maintain your value. Document your value by knowing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats before it is too late to react. Knowing what you are worth is so much more than your compensation.