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5 Best Practices for a Successful Corporate Culture

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The numbers tell the toll Covid-19 has taken on the spa industry. New research from ISPA shows hotel and resort spa revenues fell 46 percent from the end of 2019 to 2020, with overall spa visits declining more than 35 percent. 

At the outbreak of the pandemic, spas experienced closures and layoffs across the board. Along with that came a lot of fear and uncertainty for all of us. As spas reopen and restaff, a solid corporate culture is the foundation to thrive and survive in this new normal. Here are five tips to develop a successful corporate culture. 


When leaders show vulnerability, it allows team members to feel more comfortable being open and honest about their concerns, questions, mistakes, and roadblocks. This ultimately allows for a stronger team performance. Not shying away from hard conversations is especially important. 

According to Brené Brown, all transformational leaders have one thing in common—the capacity to be vulnerable. “Vulnerability is the willingness to show up and be seen by others in the face of uncertain outcomes. There’s not a single act of courage that doesn’t involve vulnerability,” she says. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change. You can’t really innovate without risk or uncertainty. If you’ve created a work culture where vulnerability isn’t okay, you’ve also created a culture where innovation and creativity aren’t okay.”

Vulnerability is a powerful way to support a trusting, positive team culture. When hiring, look for candidates who exhibit a willingness to be vulnerable. Your employees should be able to own up to past mistakes, take risks, and embrace hard conversations.


Trust is earned by being open and honest. Open communication is the foundation of building trust and creates “psychological safety,” which is crucial to a team’s success, according to Amy Edmondson, professor of leadership and management at Harvard Business School. Psychological safety describes “a workplace where one feels that one’s voice is welcome with bad news, questions, concerns, half-baked ideas, and even mistakes,” says Edmonson.

Seek out candidates and coworkers who exemplify trustworthiness. Look for reliability—people who do what they say they’ll do—and accountability—not over-promising at work, being clear about limitations, delivering on commitments, and owning up to mistakes.

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Communicating your company’s core values is a critical component of business success. They are what we call on when we get knocked down, and they’re what gives us the strength to try again. Examples of some values are trust, respect, creativity, and open communication.

Your values define your company at the deepest levels. Beyond stating your values, break them down into specific behaviors that are observable and measurable. 


According to the 2021 Global Talent Trends study by Mercer, flexibility in the workplace is even more important than ever post pandemic. It reports that “companies that fail to embrace flexibility will lose their appeal among talent. Given the experience of remote working and the need to adjust capacity swiftly, it’s no surprise that 2021 transformation plans are concentrated on reinventing flexibility in all its guises.”

The ultimate example of flexibility and trust is unlimited paid time off. Netflix lets its salaried employees take as much time off as they want, and nobody, including managers or employees, tracks it. “We should focus on what people get done, not how many hours or days they worked,” the company touts in a slideshow called “Freedom & Responsibility Culture.”

How can you make your workplace more flexible? A good start is to focus on producing results, rather than just putting in the hours. Implementing a flexible vacation policy will help build an ownership mentality. It shows your employees you trust and respect them, which strengthens their commitment to the company.


The spa industry is fast-paced and stressful. Introducing the concept of mindfulness to your team has many benefits, including alleviating stress and increasing productivity. The goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment. Involving your staff is a great place to start implementing a mindfulness program and a mindfulness task force.

As spas reopen, the staff shortage has reached an all-time high. By embracing a corporate culture that encourages high performance and high trust, you will be able to retain your staff while forging a path that allows each team member to be the best version of themself. 

About The Author
Ilana Alberico

Ilana is the CEO of ISM Spa and Spa Space. She is an award-winning business visionary and serial entrepreneur. Her 20-plus years in the spa industry spans from folding towels in a spa locker room to the treatment room as a massage therapist to the boardrooms of leading developers, owners, and hotel companies as a spa operations partner. Today, she leads a dynamic collection of wellness companies, including boutique wellness design and spa management firm ISM Spa, luxury skincare line Privai, and Spa Space Chicago, a successful urban day spa. As CEO of ISM Spa, Ilana oversees a team of hundreds, operating 20 full-service luxury spas across the U.S. ISM-managed signature spa brands conceptualized by her and her team include Poseidon Spa for the Kessler Collection, Privai Wellness & Spa at Renaissance® Orlando at SeaWorld, and her newest concept R+R Wellness at Grand Hyatt Nashville.