There’s nothing like new exterior construction to get you thinking about your salon’s interior amenities and overall culture. As long as she was doing a build-out five years ago at her new location, Five Senses Spa Salon & Barbershop owner Paola Hinton thought about ways to incorporate wellness into the workday for her 20+ employees. She wanted to make it easy for them to make healthful choices.
“We all want to be healthier, but actually doing it can be hard,” Hinton explains. “Individually, people may not have the drive to make it happen on their own, but I can provide opportunities for wellness when they’re at work.”
Nourishing the Body
First up was a reverse osmosis water system. Once that was installed, Hinton turned her attention to food and found a local business that provided well-balanced meals. A plus was that the company was owned by a woman, who now comes in once a week to pop into the refrigerator whatever the staff has ordered that week. The meals are priced at $6 and $10, and the staff marks off what they take so that Hinton can deduct that amount from their paycheck. With about ten microwavable breakfast and lunch items to choose from, everyone can find something to like.
“The stuffed peppers are a favorite!” Hinton reports. “We order every Thursday, the meals arrive the following Tuesday, and typically by Friday they’ve all been eaten.”
It is easy to resort to fast food or junk food for snacks. Knowing that snacking between meals can tempt people away from healthy choices, Hinton next introduced a fruit stand. She stocks apples, oranges or tangelos, and not-quite-ripe bananas so they last a whole week. Celebrations give Five Senses fun reasons to support a nearby woman-owned cupcake and gluten-free shop. With a few splurges, Hinton feels that she’s providing opportunities for her team to focus on health.
Everyone could use a chiropractor, but who has the time? The lightbulb went on when Hinton was at her chiropractic appointment.
“I was getting adjusted by my chiropractor, and I thought that it would be great to have her at Five Senses for my staff,” Hinton recalls. “So now she comes every other week to do adjustments onsite and also dry needling on request. The whole team looks forward to her visits, and employees who have the day off have stopped in to work for an adjustment.” As a benefit to her team, Hinton pays for the chiropractor's onsite services on behalf of her employees.
A similar idea came to Hinton as she overheard team members giving each other advice on serious issues.
“I realized that we all have problems and concerns in life, but it’s best to talk with someone who has credentials,” Hinton explains. “Maybe it’s just that you don’t know how to handle your kid who doesn’t want to do homework. It’s still better to talk to someone qualified to help.”
She connected with a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor to come into Five Senses once a month for several hours, and staffers block off 30-minute sessions to meet with her. Hinton pays 100%.
“This removes any stigma about needing someone to talk to,” Hinton says. “Without having to pay for it or look into insurance, and without having to take a day off work, everyone now has a professional to consult with so they can take better care of themselves. It’s right here. When you remove the barriers, people follow through.”
Healthcare, dental, vision, paid time off, and a retirement plan have been in place for a long time, and Hinton also puts money toward gym membership for dedicated gym-goers. Together, all of these initiatives demonstrate a commitment to wellness, which Hinton wants to be integral to her spa and salon’s culture.
“We are a society that needs a little nudge,” Hinton observes. “All I’m doing is literally putting it in front of people to remove barriers and excuses.”
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