Each month we ask club customers and managers of others fitness facilities what are the burning issues and most pressing questions on their minds:
QUESTION OF THE MONTH:
Q: In a super tight labor market, how do I say a much-deserved thanks to my staff, particularly at this time of year – and almost as importantly, keep them on my team?
A: Staff are the single most important asset for any club – but many don’t often feel that. Let them know how essential they are to you – in as many ways as possible.
The average tenure of a gym member of staff in recent years is 1-2 years in the industry. That would be a problem even if we weren’t in one of the tightest, toughest labor markets in modern history. But with the shortage of workers and a fitness industry that isn’t slowing down any time soon losing staff to a competitor is way more impactful than ever.
From the warm hello at reception to personal trainer relationships and beloved class instructors, your people are the absolute face of your club and business to members. Their departure from the desk, a class taken over by a less enthusiastic instructor or a gap in the schedule due to staff shortages doesn’t sit well with members who may end up going elsewhere to workout. So if you’re not already: prioritize, recognize and reward your staff in these easy ways.
- Recognize them – everyone wants to be heard and often just the simple act of listening and recognizing staff feedback or input can be hugely beneficial in building trust with your team. Make a point to check in on a weekly or monthly basis with each team member. What can be better? How are tools performing to help them do their jobs? Is their schedule manageable? You may not have the answers or ability to solve all issues but recognizing an issue or listening to a staff member’s idea can go a long way to creating a culture of unity and trust that makes employees feel secure and valued in their roles. You may also get easy ideas for improvements in operations and services that you never expected from the people dealing with your front desk, operations and members day in and day out.
- Reward them – a lot of staff in the fitness industry do their jobs because they love the business. So reward them for the energy and enthusiasm they bring every day. Create simple, inexpensive reward offerings for a job well done or a great suggestion. A spa treatment for excellent customer service. An extra day of PTO each month for a chosen employee of the month. And encourage staff to reward others too with a kudos award or let team members choose the employee of the month. Make all recognition and rewards visible too. You could of course put their framed photo on the wall, but try fun things too like perhaps a “leader jersey” aka the Tour de France or a “Crushing it” winner pin for star staff. Members love knowing their club values their own staff as well as members.
- Retain them – Staff retention doesn’t come down to giving an employee more compensation if they get another job offer. It’s an all day, every day, effort put into building an enviable culture. That can mean staff development so the person you hire for front desk check in can see a career path to management one day and more importantly take the learning steps to get there. It can mean accommodations and help with fees for instructors and trainers to continue their education and training. And also time off, flexible schedules and free parking. All of this is an easy win-win, improving the quality and contentment of your people while letting them know they’re valued and seen as long-term members of a tight-knit community. Remember too that when it is time to actively recruit new staff, increase your support for, and visibility, with your current team members.