Hand & Stone's Innovative Training Program Aims To Attract and Retain Masseuses
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Hand & Stone's Innovative Training Program Aims To Attract and Retain Masseuses

Hand & Stone's Innovative Training Program Aims To Attract and Retain Masseuses

Employee hiring and retention have been a sore point for employers since Covid disrupted the business world 4 years ago – especially for brands that require its customers to show up in person. Think hair care, health & fitness, massage and wellness spas, and any other profession requiring its practitioners to be certified or licensed. What has been a challenge for some time is predicted remain so in the coming year and beyond.

The magic words – and challenge – for anyone seeking to hire staff these days: finding, hiring, training, and retaining quality employees.

Training is among the many ways franchise brands have been combating high turnover rates, along with offering the concomitant advancement opportunities it brings for those who stay.

Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa has taken the benefits of enhanced employee training to heart with a new initiative. The company recently announced a hybrid massage education platform for new massage therapists, and a public learning management system (LMS) for the continued education of current massage therapists.

Created through a partnership with MPower, the program is intended “to attract talent in the field, offering participants a unique career proposition that directly places graduates in a spa upon completion of their studies,” according to a press release announcing the initiative. It’s also aimed at boosting the massage industry as a whole. Talk about being proactive — when it comes to finding new massage therapists for its growing number of spas, Hand & Stone is creating its own candidate pool as it looks to expand the industry as demand continues to rise.

“Through both working with MPower and utilizing a public LMS, we are making innovative changes to how massage therapy education is accessed,” said Lisa Rossman, Hand & Stone’s Chief Brand Officer in the announcement.

The company said the program eliminates up-front, out-of-pocket costs, while also offering tuition fees that are 30% lower than the national average for massage therapy schools. Graduates completing their training with MPower and joining Hand & Stone solve for the labor shortage that many spa owners are facing while establishing a long-term viable career as a massage therapist.

MPower’s education platform is currently available in only nine states (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Texas, and Virginia). Work is under way to eventually have a presence across the entire U.S.

The public platform is available not only to existing Hand & Stone massage therapists, but also to anyone who is already licensed. Through this public LMS, Hand & Stone says it is offering massage therapists an accessible and flexible resource to further their education, while also reducing the financial burden associated with recertification.

How much an approach like this can help other brands and industries remains to be seen. However, it’s an approach aimed at tackling the persistent labor shortages within the massage industry, and is not solely about education, but also about fortifying the workforce for its franchisees.

“Our commitment to fostering positive change in the massage industry is limitless,” said Maureen Brent, the brand’s Director of Recruitment Operations at Hand & Stone.

Launched in 2004, Hand & Stone has more than 600 massage and facial spas across 36 U.S. states and Canada.

Published: March 7th, 2024

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