Gosh, this has been the question for a long time. If you can get one out of ten to come in then you’ve done a great job. Most won’t know that they need it until it’s passed the time.
I think that the best thing for you to do is to simply practice what you preach. When the employees see you working out, smiling, sweating and working hard they may be challenged to come in and compete with you. The corporate environment is a very competitive place. When they see your gym as another place to compete it may be the best incentive. Put together some programs of competition and offer a small reward (month’s membership?) Who can ride the most miles, who can run the furthest, who can increase his/her bench press weight. We all love to win something.
This is a great question because I think it relates to another question, “How do you get people (in general), who don’t exercise regularly, to begin an exercise program?” So often we are preaching to an already converted choir in this business! I am also about to be involved in an employee based wellness program and have begun thinking about this question myself. Some of the things I have come across are incentive programs like “wellness bucks” that employees might be able to earn by participating in programs you offer. Perhaps there can be ways to bring some education and programming OUT of the fitness center, into the office space, like showing a group of people how to take stretching or walking breaks at their desk during the day–as a first step to getting them to walk IN to your facility. I do agree with Daniel that if you get one in ten people to start moving, you are doing a great job. One of my bosses is such a numbers guy, he wants to give up if the class doesn’t fill up immediately. I really feel you can’t be that way with this population. When you are working with the inactive population, you are really down in the trenches trying to move mountains. But each person you succeed with is another person whose life will be changed for the better. Let me know if you come up with any great ideas! I’d love to hear them!
I asked this question because aside from incentive programs already in place for existing members (we give “power ponts” for various things such as taking a GEC, or having a fitness assessment)…. similar to those “wellness bucks”. We just did an demo in the employee cafeteria to showcase what the fitness center offers and introduce them to the GEC schedule for the fall.
What led me to ask this question is a chat I had with a member the other day. He said that years ago (before I ever worked there), they gave a free 1 month membership to existing members who would bring in a new member. This individual by “word of mouth” (and great selling skills) brought in 6 members which in turn gave him 6 free months!
Seems to me it’s a no brainer in order to get existing members to help increase membership.
Another example … we had a Yoga class that averaged 3-4 participants a class. One participant absolutely loved the class and instructor and could not believe that more employees weren’t taking advantage of coming to class after work and destressing. When she learned that we may not continue with the class due to low attendance, she talked it up with her department and we had a dozen taking the class this week!
Hi Debbie. This is a question that I’ve faced when I served as the Director of Wellness and Fitness at a local College, and in a position as Fitness Director at a large corporate fitness facility. I think that all of what you describe your are currently doing is great. A Wellness Day, a Health Fair, an Assessment Day, a regularly published wellness newsletter, email blasts etc are all potentially useful in increasing membership. However, unless and until you get the buy-in of the employers, the employees will not feel supported in your efforts to get them in the fitness center. Targeting some of your “education” to the employer and its administrators is a KEY! I offered a 3-session free package to a key individual or two in the various companies, and some took advantage of the offer. Those who did, really got an eye-opener, and several went on to become “regulars.” With their now increased personal interest in the fitness center and exercise, they became role models as well as supporters of their employees doing the same.
I hope this helps.
I second Daniel and LaRue. It makes sense to me that focusing on the “big dogs” is the key to what you’re trying to accomplish. Most employers tend to hire people that are ambitious. Many employees seek out those who are successful at work, and they emulate those people in order to advance their careers. If the employees see their bosses making fitness a priority, chances are that they will make fitness a priority as well. I’d be willing to bet that it works in reverse as well! Keep those “higher-ups” satisfied with your services, and you should see some loyal clientele, if only because “my boss works out here.” What matters is that they’re in the gym, and if you offer positive fitness experiences you should expect to keep them as members.