Staffing Your Retreat Centre
Marketing & Business
We have an amazing, proactive team at Grail Springs, and I can tell you that it is not a coincidence. It has been a conscious decision to create a great team and we’ve really been working on it for the past few years. You know, if your business breaks down it is typically because of staff, and ultimately you need to look at who hired your staff. In our case it was most often me, and through trial and error I have learned a lot about how to hire the right people, and how to create a healthy staff culture. There are a few things I can share about our hiring and team building processes that may be of benefit to others who are starting a centre.
1. Don’t try to run the centre by yourself
First of all, the mental, emotional, energetic and physical demands of being the main person in charge of running a centre are massive, and no one should do it alone. You need at least two people at the top.
2. Don’t try to fill the hole too quickly
When you find yourself in need of a new staff member, you need to be willing to wait until you find the right person. This was really difficult for us when we were in a growth phase because we simply needed to hire, but we paid a price for rushing the process. The cost of hiring someone who isn’t a good fit can be huge to your business. It is a waste of finances, and time, but most important – it could impact your other staff and your customers in a negative way.
3. Trust your gut
Whenever we have hired the wrong person in the past, looking back I can see that I had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right, but I didn’t listen to it and overrode my instincts even though part of me saw some red flags. We now have a very strong commitment among our supervisors to hire right, and this involves inner listening. Listen to that shift inside your body – if it feels good then “go” and if it doesn’t you need to stop and use caution.
4. Hire more staff & cross-train
What we do now that is really working for us is instead of hiring one full time person, we hire two people that are nearly full-time so that if one person goes on maternity or takes some time off, we have someone else who shares the same skills that can fill in. We’ve also found that it doesn’t work to have a lot of specialists because then we are vulnerable if they leave – so now instead of having one person who does Raindrop Therapy, for example, we have three. Our training budget went through the roof when we did this, but it paid off because in the end we had less emergencies. And, another benefit is that it increased the team morale because people enjoyed connecting through the training sessions, and learning new therapies together.
5. Create a training protocol
Over the past two years we have created a structure for hiring and training, and really invested in our staff by hosting team-building workshops. Reflecting on it now, I can see that we are in a good place as a result of everything we’ve done. It was all worth it.
Madeleine Marentette is the founder of Grail Springs Wellness Retreat in Bancroft, Ontario which offers all-inclusive educational lifestyle experiences that often include yoga, meditation, cleansing, and rejuvinating treatments.
She is the author of the book Grail Springs Holistic Detox and the creator of the Grail Springs Mantra – a daily moving meditation adopted by thousands of individuals as a morning mindfulness practice.