Inappropriate behavior is an uncomfortable topic to discuss, but as spa professionals, we must address that our industry is rife with clients who speak and act inappropriately to employees. Talking about sexually inappropriate behavior is a bit of a taboo subject for many people, and it’s uncomfortable to talk about how you have been made uncomfortable by another person. To accurately describe these unprofessional experiences, we have to use words that aren’t usually spoken in a professional environment.
Ask any service provider if they have ever had a guest make them feel uncomfortable; you may be surprised at how quickly they will be able to recount an incident (maybe even more than one). Just because it isn’t often discussed doesn’t mean that it is not happening.
We need to be ok being uncomfortable to grow and cultivate our career field into the nurturing wholesome environment it should be. For management, that starts with creating an inappropriate behavior policy.
Communication Is Key
When I went into business for myself, I created a clear and concise way to handle clients who had intentions of being inappropriate. This is because, at a previous job, I had experienced two occasions where clients were inappropriate and my employers did nothing. I felt vulnerable and unprotected in a place where I was supposed to foster an environment of relaxation and peace.
You can’t cultivate peace outwardly when you are unsettled on the inside. I wanted to ensure that potential clients knew I would not put up with any type of inappropriate behavior and that I had a plan in place for how to deal with such conduct.
Creating your own inappropriate behavior policy should be a process that involves your entire staff. Everyone needs to be on the same page so that when an incident happens, everyone knows how to respond in a swift and safe manner. It’s important that all spa employees know what to say, how to end a session early and safely, and how to alert other staff members about the situation without alarming other guests.
Alexandria Fairbairn, LMT, MTI, CEP, is the owner of Sacred Oasis Massage in Fort Worth, Texas. She has a passion for education and helping others, and she enjoys helping businesses across the globe create thriving health and wellness practices.