No matter what industry you’re in, it’s the employees that make the company. Your staff members are the people who represent your values, deliver your customer experience, and define the quality of your business to the outside world. For gyms and fitness clubs, where your team is directly engaging with clients and shaping their experience, hiring and retaining the right staff is crucial.
High turnover is a death sentence to club growth. When you keep losing and having to replace your employees, other workers lose motivation, you operate less productively, and costs go up — all at the expense of the club member experience. Considering American workers are leaving their jobs in droves this year, with 4.4 million people quitting in September alone, focusing on hiring and retention is more important now than ever.
The good news is that the experts at ClubWise are here to give you some of our top tips for recruiting and holding on to a star fitness staff that keeps members coming back!
What to Look for in Potential Fitness Staff Members
No matter how desperate you may be to find help, if you don’t know what a qualified candidate looks like, you’re just going to end up wasting more time replacing them later on. Or, even worse, your current employees will end up having to pick up their slack. As you go through interviews with potential gym employees, there are certain traits you should look for that signal a good fit.
- Passion for Fitness. A good fitness experience is all about having the right energy. If your employees don’t love the workout grind, they won’t be able to motivate your members.
- Communication and People Skills. Since your team sets the tone for your members’ experience, they need to be friendly, engaging, attentive, and welcoming. Look for candidates with open body language and who make direct eye contact.
- Knowledge and Experience. Of course, even the most passionate and friendliest employee won’t be of much value if they aren’t certified and experienced in fitness. Everyone you hire and, ideally, interview, should have a proven track record and skillset in the areas you’re looking to fill.
4 Tips for Recruiting Fitness Club Staff
Once you know what kind of people you want to make up your team, you need to search for them in the right places and attract them with the right tactics. Use these fitness club recruitment tips to help you get started.
1. Use your current team members as a resource.
Even with all the advanced recruitment tools available these days, word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to find quality candidates for open positions. Turn to your current staff for help growing your team. They know what it takes to do the job better than anyone and can vet whether someone will be a good fit.
Bonus Tip: Drive referrals by starting an employee referral program, in which employees get rewarded with a bonus or some other incentive for bringing in new staff members.
2. Leverage social media and online job boards.
Many people use social media and online resources to look for jobs these days. According to a survey by Clutch, 41% of recent hires found their new role through an online job board and 14% found theirs through social media. Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram are a good place to start. But don’t forget about fitness-specific job boards, such as FitnessJobs.com, ExerciseJobs.com, FitnessIndustryJobs.net, and the NASM job board.
3. Be transparent about what you’re offering.
Nobody likes to get to a final job interview only to learn the salary is half of the minimum they’re seeking or the job is nothing like initially described. Don’t waste anyone’s time with vague or inaccurate job descriptions. Be up front about compensation, benefits, required skills, and job duties. To make your listing more attractive, you should also include things like perks and growth opportunities.
4. Outline and stick to your core values as you hire.
People who share your company values and believe in your mission are much more likely to thrive in their roles. Before you start interviewing, redefine your core values as a fitness business. Include these in your job listings and discuss them in interviews to ensure potential candidates align with your mindset. This is how you’ll attract the right people to fit in with your culture.
5 Tips for Retaining Gym Staff
Hiring great employees is only the first step toward creating a happy and successful team to run your fitness club. The second (and final) step? Retention! Executing strategies to retain current employees has many benefits for your business, such as reduced costs, improved morale, a more experienced team, and a better customer experience. Here are some steps you can take to boost employee retention in your gym:
1. Offer competitive compensation and benefits.
Quality employees are an investment. You can’t expect people to want to keep working for your club if they’re not making at least a living wage. If you want to hold onto your experienced and hardworking staff members, you need to offer high wages, good benefit coverage, adequate PTO, and work-life balance. Otherwise, they’ll just get a job at one of the many other gyms that are hiring.
2. Support employee professional development.
According to a 2018 LinkedIn report, 94% of employees would stay longer with a company who invests in their career. Giving your fitness club employees the time and resources to grow professionally is a mutually beneficial move. They’ll feel like you care about their future, and you’ll gain more knowledgeable staff members. Encourage employee development with measures like continuing education support, internal promotion, and in-depth and cross training.
3. Use automation to reduce monotony.
Another common reason employees leave their jobs is because they get bored. Fitness professionals choose this field because they love interacting with members, teaching and training, and helping people reach their goals. Maximize the time they can spend doing those things by automating repetitive club administration tasks.
Bonus Tip: With ClubWise’s all-in-one club management software, you can automate mundane and time-consuming tasks like bookings, payments, POS, member signup, marketing communications, check-ins, and even more!
4. Implement employee recognition and rewards programs.
Recognition and reward for a job well done makes employees feel valued. It also keeps them motivated and creates a positive work environment that drives loyalty. Show your appreciation for staff members generously and consistently. Some successful strategies to try include target-based bonuses, verbal praise, social media recognition, gifts and incentives, and peer-to-peer recognition.
5. Encourage open communication.
One of the keys to employee happiness is making them feel like they have a voice that matters and management that listens. Make it a point to ask fitness staff members for feedback and take meaningful action when they speak up. You can do this with routine one-on-one check-ins, team meetings, or even an anonymous survey. Knowing what your employees want, need, like, and dislike about their working experience will be invaluable for retention.