As owners and managers of fitness facilities, one of our greatest challenges is attracting, training and retaining great personal fitness trainers. While there are no guarantees when hiring employees in any profession, there are ways to significantly limit the amount of time you put into choosing the right kind of trainers for your facility. At Innovative Fitness, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based company catering exclusively to personal training clients, we use very specific criteria when
hiring staff members.
In the last “Money” column (January 2001), I addressed what it takes to start a new fitness facility. As you may recall, I introduced “Mark,” a real-life entrepreneur who lives in “Smithville,” a fast-growing suburb on the U.S. East Coast. Despite my warnings, Mark opened a 10,000-square-foot club with $100,000 of his money and additional funds from investors. His competition was a slightly aging YMCA, a licensee of a popular fitness chain, an older racquets-based club and a small “ma and pa” operation.
Each year business owners and managers in the fitness industry spend millions of dollars promoting their
facilities and trying to sell memberships. Every form of media is utilized
—television, radio, direct mail and so forth. And yet, when we ask those
customers who do end up joining our clubs how they heard about us, the number one answer in my many years of experience remains the same: word of mouth. Here’s what I hear: “My
sister is a member.” “My neighbor
encouraged me to join.” “My friend
at work brought me as a guest.”
When faced with the dilemma of how to motivate employees, many managers simply avoid offering employee incentives because they “don’t have it in the budget.” Yet most employees can be handsomely rewarded if managers budget time, effort and a bit of creativity.
In my books on partnering and strategic alliances, I talk about “synergistic possibilities.” This concept means taking one plus one and getting three or more, rather than the expected two. In my own life, I often catch myself doing something solo rather than teaching or working with another individual on how to do the task as partners. Naturally, I think it is easier and quicker to just do it
myself. In the long run, though, this belief proves that I am taking the wrong path. Working with and teaching others takes understanding and patience. Unfortunately, too
One aspect of being a successful director is the ability to spot a trend before it hits big. Capitalizing on the latest craze before the competition beats you to the punch takes gut instinct and a talented eye. It might be as simple as revising the time a class starts or choosing a new instructor. The following tips can help you determine when it’s time to make a change and how to transition it smoothly.
In my experience, the number one mistake managers and owners make when hiring new help is failing to look beyond the stack of employment applications. Great employees already have jobs. Most people with jobs do not fill out employment applications unless they’re really unhappy with their current situation. The quicker you reshape your approach to hiring, the sooner you can build your facility’s dream team.
Ladder the Up Climbing
Yes,you can advance from the front lines to upper management --if you know the right steps. By Mary Monroe
It wasn't an overnight success: In 14 years she moved from club manager to regional manager, then on to general manager and regional general manager before assuming her current responsibilities overseeing 13 clubs and about 1,000 employees. How did she do it? Siena make...