Owning a gym or fitness center is no walk in the park. In addition to building up programming, and making the space feel welcoming, you’ll have to hire great talent to engage with your customers and members.
But great talent isn’t always easily acquired. It’s up to you, as the fitness center manager, to recruit folks who would be a good fit and help grow your business. Finding top talent like this takes a concerted effort, and once you’ve hired the right people you’ll have to shift your focus to keep them.
One of the fitness industry’s biggest problems is turnover. Handling employee issues can be a challenge for even the most experienced managers. Retaining good employees takes work and dedication. A good fitness center manager works with their employees, implements fair policies, and builds a positive company culture for their team to thrive. This allows your clients and members to keep on coming back. Your staff is crucial to the success of your business.
Here, we’ll map out the basics of employee recruitment and retention and provide a specific guide for your fitness center staff management.
The Basics of Employee Recruitment and Retention
The first step in managing a great team for your fitness center is to hire the right staff. Thoughtful employee recruitment can save you money and time in the long term. Here are some strategies to implement during the recruiting process.
1. Invest in in-house talent.
One surefire way to promote a positive company culture is to allow your employees to grow in your company. If there’s an open position, consider the talent you already have. Investing in your current staff shows that you trust their ability and skills. This is also a great retainment strategy as well.
2. Decide what attributes you’d like your hire to have.
If you just put a job description up and have no idea who you want to hire, you’re moving in the wrong direction. Talk amongst the decision-makers on your team. Agree on what attributes you’d like the ideal candidate to have. Be it experience working in fitness, an extroverted personality, or something else. This will help inform your decision on who to invite to an interview and save you time.
3. Be prepared for your interview.
The best employees come to an interview doing some research on your business and you. We’ve all been to an interview where the interviewer didn’t have questions lined up properly. This sometimes makes for an awkward encounter. If you’re not prepared with questions to ask your candidates, you may not receive all the information you need. Conversely, you may stave off really great talent by being unprepared.
1. Strong, empathetic leadership and management
As the manager, it’s important to oversee your employees as empathetic and understanding as you can. This doesn’t mean not setting boundaries, it means understanding where people are coming from and making decisions on that understanding.
2. Work-Life Balance Programs
One of the best parts of working for a fitness center is its benefits. Many times, staff members receive low-cost or complementary services to your center.
3. Good Compensation and Recognition
When employees work hard to build up your business, it’s important to give them the credit they deserve. This will promote a great culture and retain your top-performing employees. In addition to recognition, good compensation is important. Employees deserve to get paid a living wage and have the opportunity to grow within your organization.
Implement an Employee Handbook and Staff Cheat Sheet
If you’re low on resources, creating a comprehensive employee handbook can be an exhaustive process. While it is important and helpful to have, it’s rare that an employee looks through the small details in the handbook on a regular basis.
There are new, innovative ways to keep your employees informed of your organizational policies. You can even now use tools to directly communicate to your employees about any updates or changes to policies.
But if you’re thinking about making an employee cheat sheet based on your handbook, here are some important things to include.
Important numbers to call like HR and management.
What the holiday or paid-time-off policy entails.
How to request time off.
Where to find more information on employee benefits.
These are just some of the things you can include in an onboarding cheat sheet for your employees. You can house the cheat sheet in the Bites app as well, so employees always know how to access their onboarding information.
Build a Positive Company Culture
Big-name brands are known for their hip, open floor plans and community-centered workspaces. Fitness centers are natural community-building facilities. Your products and services naturally attract the community, and it’s up to your staff to grow that community through exceptional customer services and programming that appeals to your members.
But how do you build a company culture that promotes a positive work environment that both members and employees love? Here are some ways you can work with your staff to build a fun, healthy, and community-based culture.
Encourage Health and Wellness
Managers can often get lost in the administrative tasks and forget the mission that brought them to the job in the first place. Operating a fitness center, it’s obvious that health and wellness are a part of the product you’re selling to members and clients.
But are you prioritizing it among your employees? If you have employees leading fitness workshops and classes, encourage other members of the staff to join in. You can also host a luncheon with healthy food, or invite your employees to a group workout outside of the fitness center.
When clients and members pay for your services, they want to stay healthy. They want to be surrounded by positive affirmations and people who see and acknowledge their progress. Encourage fun among your staff. Be silly. Celebrate the small, unconventional things.
Hold an awards night and give everyone a specific award for the job they do or what they’re particularly good at. This can end up being an annual employee event that will leave people laughing and remembering throughout their careers.
Be Authentic in Your Mission
Inauthenticity is felt by your staff as much as it’s felt by your patrons. No one likes someone who says one thing and does another. Develop a mission statement that both speaks to your brand and your community. And then act on it.
If you care about the health and wellness of everything, try offering sliding scale fees for students or folks who need the support. There are a lot of ways to implement and stay true to your mission. The first step is defining what that mission is.
Develop Programming Just For Your Staff
If you’ve got a lot of events, programs, and classes for members, try hosting a weekly or monthly class with just your employees. Have them rotate who leads the fitness class. You can focus on your members and give your staff some love at the same time.
Using the Bites App to Engage With Your Employees
Managing employees takes a lot of work, but investing in them and their future at your company can help you grow as a leader and manager. If you’re looking to increase your staff engagement, consider using a tool that can help you reach employees where they’re most attentive. This will have you on your way to better fitness center management overall.