5 Strategies to Recruit and Retain Top Employees

For Gym Operators

5 Strategies to Recruit and Retain Top Employees

A club is only as good as its employees, so the importance of effective recruitment and staff retainment cannot be stated enough.

How can you make sure the top talent in fitness is drawn to your club? Follow these strategies to build a highly skilled and loyal team.

The following is a summarization of an education session from the 2015 IHRSA Convention, produced with full permission from IHRSA. The full-length video is available for purchase at ihrsastore.com.

About the Speakers

Lesley Willis is the Corporate Fitness Director at Healthworks Fitness Centers for Women. She is certified as a personal trainer by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). She has a strong background in customer service, customer relations, coaching, and training programs.

Kristyn Fales is the Assistant Corporate Fitness Director at Healthworks Fitness Centers for Women.

Recruiting and retaining an excellent team

Attract Qualified Team Members

It is important to have a set of clearly defined core values to help guide every decision. These core values will provide team members with direction and help them navigate complicated situations. Know who you are as a facility and work to align your team with your values. Core values help attract the right team members.

Streamline Your Recruitment Process

Begin with a phone interview and follow with an in-person interview. A second practical interview can be used to examine training skills. The right candidates will save your business time and money because you won't have to train replacement staff as often. Incentivize your employees to refer other trainers. Partner with personal training schools and colleges.

Create a recruiting packet and highlight why a trainer should work for you. Include a welcome letter, information about benefits you offer, the job description, and relevant employee testimonials.

Use a catchy headline but professional tagline on your job listing. Offer competitive compensation, benefits, and a bonus structure included in your postings. Include a company history and opportunities for growth and educational opportunities. Post employee testimonials, videos, and any club programs or community fitness campaigns. Track the success of your postings and try to post months in advance. A good guideline to follow is this: hire character and train skill.

Invest in Training

New team members require a formal integration, exceptional training, and information educating them on your systems and accountability. Your introductory training packages should include fundamentals. This is where and when a new staff member learns the ins and outs of the company, including its mission, programs, and services. Trainer integration is more in depth if you provide new employees with details of specific services. In-club training can include shadowing and learning from staff peers. Have them participate in all services and programs. Provide your staff with the tools for success and hold them accountable. Schedule weekly coaching programs for new trainers.

Trainer integration should encompass fitness programming and appointment practice. Offer business development programs, such as sales training, information in addressing and overcoming objections, and goal setting. Provide practical training like role-playing, setting up appointments, and taking sales. Provide email templates, phone scripts, and lessons on interacting with strangers.

Set Clear Trainer Expectations

Set measurable goals, such as a predetermined number of contacts per shift that booked appointments. Track the progress. Set individual revenue goals and perform weekly check-ins.

Support is never ending. Give your new employees constructive feedback. If new employees are not integrated properly, they may fail to thrive in your club, fail to perform, and eventually leave your organization.

Develop a Plan to Improve Retention

Allow staff to be a part of the big picture by providing in-house education and paying them well while offering promotions and growth opportunities.

When staff members do not understand that personal training is essentially a sales position, they may fail and need to move on. Try to understand why trainers leave and work to address the problems. Be aware of your club’s statistics and possible areas needing improvement.

Creating community and culture in your club can be an important retention tool. If you do not have happy employees, you will have a hard time being successful. The little things matter. Create a culture of appreciation – say thank you and recognize people for success.

Organize events for your team and create active engagement within your company. Make your team feel as though they are a part of the direction of the club. Get to know them on a personal level. Keep them involved and updated on what’s going on within the company. If you create a culture that is driven, encompassing, fun, and built on your core values, your team members will feel like they belong with your company and work hard to remain with you.

As you seek to improve membership rates and satisfaction in your club, start by strengthening your team. If you build a highly confident and dedicated staff, their enthusiasm for fitness will spread to your members, meaning better results for them and more success for you.