There’s a checklist for every task, it seems, even if it’s purely mental. However, when it comes to hiring the best group fitness talent, it’s important to formalize a checklist so that you cover all the important details. Maybe it’s time to shift your process and think more broadly about what you value in employees. A good prospect needs to be more than simply the best instructor, they must contribute to the department, the facility and the organization—not just to the participants in their own classes. Your vision of an excellent instructor shapes your team’s culture and, subsequently, your program. The following checklist will help you determine who the best person is for the job.

See also: IDEA Code of Ethics

Checklist: Group Fitness Instructor

  1. Talented, yet teachable. All managers want talented instructors who can step into a room and rock the regulars. But at some point, you’ll introduce new formats or you’ll need help with new programs. If your most talented instructors have no interest in learning, you’ll be up a creek! The best candidates know how to teach, and they also understand how to be students. Continuing education is important not just for the sake of a successful program, but also to help keep the “empathy gene” on high alert so that a wide variety of participants are taken care of.
  2. Confident, yet humble. Obviously, someone who can command a crowd and take charge of a room is talented. However, a confident instructor can sometimes turn into a bit of a diva. While instructors need to be confident, they also need to be humble and respect their managers, co-workers and class participants.
  3. Unique, yet similar. When you build your team, find instructors who suit the needs of different participants. Everyone has particular tastes, and some people will not respond to even the most popular instructor. Seek out unique talents, quirks and abilities to put together the perfect roster—so there’s something on the “menu” for each group exercise participant.
  4. Creative, yet compliant. You want teachers who think outside the box. At the same time, you don’t want them to be so creative that the rules fly out the window. Each instructor must understand the need to stay engaged and to comply with policies and procedures. Reward creative solutions, but also reward adherence.
  5. A leader, yet a follower. Instructors are leaders. Hire and incentivize instructors to take on this expanded role and to teach for more than the ego stroke. Remind them that people look to them for motivation, education and information, in addition to a great class.
  6. Seasoned, yet yearning. It’s not always possible to be a seasoned veteran. Instructors have to start somewhere, and it may make sense to take a chance on a newbie every once and a while. Experience is a plus, of course. Consistency is also important. Build a team that yearns for more knowledge and expertise. The industry is ever-changing, and instructors who continually “up” their game are keepers.
  7. Visionary, yet aligned. Hire people who think as big as you do, if not bigger. The more ideas the better when it comes to keeping your program fresh. Still, make sure those big thinkers are also capable of standing behind your decisions and the facility’s decisions. Your team may not always be 100% behind every choice you make, but they must understand that they work for you, the members and the organization.
  8. Structured, yet adaptable. The best instructors know how to keep track of everything you throw at them. Instructors who are always in the know, show up when they’re supposed to and remain predictable with their schedules make your life easier. Sometimes, however, structured folks may be annoyed by the ever-changing world of group fitness. Therefore, it’s equally important to value and incentivize adaptability.
  9. Entrepreneurial, yet company-focused. Instructors who understand the business of fitness are invaluable! Look for people who know how group fitness contributes to the organization’s financial viability. Your star instructors will relate to the power of marketing beyond self-promotion.
  10. Independent, yet group-oriented. Last, and probably most important: exceptional employees can take the ball and run with it. Of course, you need to do a thorough job of on-boarding and explaining expectations. But once the training period is complete, they work independently.

It may take time and effort, but developing an excellent team will provide an enormous return on your investment.

Updated 10/12/21