How do I keep my Group X program from getting bullied by my members?
I am a group exercise director. My small club has 6am classes 5 days a week. Truth be told they are spoiled and don't need 5 days a week. They should only really have 3-4 days a week. There is one instructor they like who teaches Tuesday/Thursday 6am. She also teaches Monday/Friday noon and Monday/Tuesday/Thursday evening. My Friday 6am spin class has opened up and I have given it to a VERY qualified, awesome instructor who I highly respect. My members don't want her because they want the popular instructor. I know that I need variety in my programming. Plus, the popular instructor is also a personal trainer and needs to have some availability to book clients in that time. Also, if I don't have a variety of instructors I will never be able to find subs when I need some. How can I educate my members (who are trying to hide in anonymity) that if they give this great instructor a chance they can get a great workout? They don't need only this popular instructor.
oh the joys of being a group exercise director!
If I understand you correctly: the members want that their favorite instructor also teaches the Friday 6 AM class in addition to the Tuesday and Thursday class that she already teaches. Evidently, she never taught the Friday class. You have an excellent instructor for that class, though, who does not have rapport with the members.
What is not clear to me is whether the favorite instructor may be signalling to the members that she would be willing to teach that additional class. If that is the case, you are in a difficult position because she can easily influence the members. However, if she really does not want to teach an extra class, then you should enlist her help in making the other instructor known to 'her' group. She could introduce her by doing some team-teaching or assisting.
Even though your members hide behind anonymity, I am sure that you know who the 'gang leaders' are. Maybe you can talk to them individually and appeal to their fairness to give the other person a chance.
Tricky situation. I do not envy you.
I used to work at the Larry North facility in Plano, before it became Fitness Factory of Plano. I know your facility and I have been there in the past, but never worked at that particular one. It's a great place and I love the environment there.
As for your question in my opinion, you have two choices:
1. Have this instructor do more classes since it's the favorite, if possible.
2. Look to hire other instructors who can bring something new to the class and will create better interest among the participants.
I know this can be difficult and time consuming, but your primary job as the Group X director is to keep the clients happy and create classes that will increase the number of participants and bring in more revenue. Just like Karin suggested, you can ask the instructor to help promote the other instructor(s), but that might not work if the participants don't like the other instructor(s). Maybe the chemistry is not working or they are not as good as the one who is their favorite. You can do a small survey among the participants to find out why they don't like that instructor and if they have any suggestions.
It's one of many joys being in charge ;-)!
Some great input given already. Can you have the popular instructor include the new instructor in a class/es? Introduce her to the class members, team teach in the class and have her end the class. She could then promote her new class and scheduled times.
I Hope This Helps,
Wow, this is tough. Everyone has great ideas.
I think the popular instructor should help introduce the new instructor.
How old are these clients of yours? Are we in junior high, here? Just kidding. The clients are there for a good workout and it seems you have a qualified instructor for them. Is that not the reason clients attend?
I believe that when given time, things will work out. It is a shame you must act like a parent in this situation.
Good luck to you.
We understand your need to serve your members. It seems you have thought of the well-being on not only your prime members, but your gym, instructors, and everyone else. So for that, I applaud you for not losing sight of anything.
You just have to work in the new instructors slowly. I agree with the recommendation to have the popular instructor help initiate the other instructor. But for long term success, I think you need to implement what your planning and monitor the situation. Put the new instructor in the time slot, as well as other slots during the week. Or maybe establish a cap on how classes they can teach per week so they can all get classes but still have time for PT.
Also, work in subs occasionally, even if they're not needed, just so they stay up to speed, stay fresh, and get to know the whole membership base rather than their own schedule.
In my experience, both current and past, the early morning crowd is VERY demanding in every gym, often with entitlement issues, feeling they have rights rather than privileges, etc. They are the ones who show up every single day at the same time and do the same things.
So although you want to please them to keep them happy and at your gym, and keep that consistent cash flow where its at, keep in mind they are usually the last ones to leave your gym or make any changes to their habits. I would use that to your advantage.
As the director, you don't need to explain your reasons to your members. If they don't want to try the new teacher, they lose out on a great workout.
Maintain your stance
If your members are knowledgable at all they will realize the importance of cross training and the benefits of trying all types of classes.