7 Questions with Hand & Stone Canada’s Director of Recruiting and Training

One of the many ways Hand & Stone supports their franchise owners is to assist them in the recruitment process. Our Director of Recruiting and Training, Elizabeth Gibb, is there every step of the way to educate our franchisees to be able to hand-pick top-tier talent for their spas.

A little background about Elizabeth, she is a retired Registered Massage Therapist and Educator in the Massage Therapy industry. Her initial position at Hand & Stone as Recruiting Manager expanded into her current role because of the connection between training RMTs as part of the recruitment and onboarding process.

I had a chance to sit down with Elizabeth to learn more about the many ways she and her team support our new spa owners.

Samantha Tacca: How early do you reach out to a new franchise owner?

Elizabeth Gibb: I speak with the new Franchisees many times during their preparation and buildout of their Spa and have an early conversation with them to help them understand the industry of massage therapy in their province and share ideas on how to post jobs and recruit new therapists for their new Spa. Then I meet with them virtually or in-person once per week 4 weeks out from the opening to take a deeper dive into the recruitment process and resources available to them. I review all the massage therapist training for a new Spa that we have in place for them, let them know what they can expect from the training and what they need to know when hiring and employing massage therapists.

ST: What tools do you provide franchisees?

EG: We provide new Franchisee training and an opening package that includes massage therapy industry information, all documents and forms they will need when they employ Massage Therapists, recruitment marketing material and recruitment videos to help with their recruitment and interview sessions. In each province, there are different rules and structures for massage therapists so it really helps the new Franchisees understand what they should be aware of when hiring a health professional.

ST: Is there anything else you utilize to find top talent for our spas?

EG: We try to be everywhere we need to be, social media, tradeshows and in-person and virtual college classroom recruitment presentations. We also have a new recruitment video where RMTs share why they love working at Hand & Stone. Two initiatives that we have found really help the Franchise Owners find and attract talent is the 7 Steps to Success Graduate Program and the Community Outreach Program with Massage Therapy Colleges. The 7 Steps Program is a 1-year mentorship program for new graduates. This program involves support, mentorship, financial support and modality training that students may not have learned in college. The training and mentorship for new graduates is delivered by the veteran therapists that work for Hand & Stone. There are many massage therapy colleges throughout the country, so it is a real benefit for a new graduate to start with Hand & Stone and have specific training on Hand & Stone massage protocols and the support from a veteran therapist to start the first year of their career in massage therapy. This is a great example of why recruitment and training are so closely aligned when hiring massage therapists. The second program that we have implemented gives the opportunity for massage therapy college students to perform college supervised treatments for Hand & Stone staff. This helps the students obtain their program outreach hours to graduate and it is a great opportunity for Franchise Owners to interview the students prior to their graduation.

ST: What is the biggest challenge with recruiting?

EG: In Canada, massage therapy is one of the top paramedical services used and paid for by workplace health benefits because clients are learning more and more about the value of regular massage therapy treatments and how massage can improve their health and wellness. Our therapists have a minimum of 2200-hour college program that is a requirement to complete prior to practicing massage therapy and at times the number of therapists becoming eligible to practice is not growing at the same rate as the client demand for massage therapy treatments, which can make for a competitive hiring market amongst massage therapist employers. Hand & Stone offers so much to their therapists that I think that is why we continue to attract and retain massage therapists.

ST: Where do you think the future of massage therapy is heading?

EG: I think it will continue to grow both from the client user perspective and the number of students coming into the massage therapy programs. We are seeing more massage therapy colleges open throughout the country as well as seeing more scholarship opportunities that are available for students to help pay toward massage therapy college program tuition.

ST: Why is Hand & Stone the best place for a massage therapist to work?

EG: We really have an environment that supports therapists so that they can grow both personally and professionally. They have the flexibility of scheduling to help maintain a healthy work-life balance and we offer training for all therapists from new graduates to veterans so that there is something for everyone. The Franchise Owners offer all the support therapists need to perform their work which really helps make their day enjoyable and run smoothly.

ST: We’ve talked a lot about massage therapists, but what’s your view on the availability of estheticians?

EG: In Canada, we have a good number of esthetic colleges and the esthetic industry is growing. We offer very similar supports and opportunities to all estheticians that we offer to massage therapists when they are hired and throughout the time they are working at Hand & Stone. We have extensive training both in-person and online which helps to support and encourage the esthetician’s success and professional growth.

If you’re interested in becoming a massage therapist at a Hand & Stone Franchise location, visit our career page handandstonecareers.ca