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The “Secret Shopper” Advantage

By Megan Senger | April 30, 2012 |

As a fitness entrepreneur, you work hard to provide your customers with great workout experiences. But do your staff members effectively deliver on your goals? Or is there a gap between your expectations and the service your clients receive?

To find out, you might want to arrange a “secret shopping” evaluation of your fitness business. Discover the pros and cons of secretly shopping your company by hiring a professional evaluator—or by doing it yourself. It’s a unique way to determine what your customers really think.

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The Anatomy of a Successful Job Interview

By Megan Senger | February 2, 2012 |

As an ambitious exercise entrepreneur, you know you need great staff for your fitness business. However, finding top talent can be a real trial. Moreover, in today’s troubled economy, many would-be employees send off stacks of resumes without strategic focus, potentially wasting your valuable time.

But the unique challenges of hiring in an employer’s market can be overcome. Discover tactical and time-efficient job interview strategies, and learn to easily separate the diamonds from the duds.

Part 1: Determining the Candidate’s Motivation

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Empowered Employees Perform Better

By Ryan Halvorson | October 5, 2011 |

Want to improve productivity among your employees? Empower them, says research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology (2011; 96 [3], 485–500). The study’s purpose was to study “antecedents and behavioral outcomes of employees’ perceptions of organizational support for development.” Analyzing data gathered from 264 exempt-level employees and their supervisors, the study authors found that participation in training courses, interaction between supervisors and employees, and mentoring were associated with improved perception of employee support.

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Developing Exceptional Teams

By Trina Gray | October 1, 2011 |

It struck me in the coffee shop. I was having my weekly mastermind meeting with a fellow business owner. I was sharing a book that I highly recommended, and I told him that I had given a copy to each of my managers. After my friend skimmed it, he asked why I would gift it to my staff. He explained that he didn’t want to encourage his staff to dream bigger. They might get inflated egos. They might demand more. They might leave.

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The Pay Rate Debate

By Peggy Gregor, AFAA, ACE | September 7, 2011 |

If you’ve managed a group fitness department long enough, you’ve probably felt like the “red-headed stepchild” more than once. If your facility is like a host of others, your department isn’t considered a separate profit center, but rather a part of membership. Since group exercise doesn’t usually have a “home” on the profit and loss statement, payroll is often the only line item attributed to it. Consequently, when cuts are made, guess which department is most often flagged!

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Staffing for Success

By Valerie Applebaum, MPH, CHES | September 6, 2011 |

The high turnover rate among fitness industry staff is not news. In many cases, staff seem to be coming and going through a revolving door! Having a high-end fitness center with fancy amenities, décor and equipment is ideal, but if your staff is unable to meet client expectations, you will struggle to maintain memberships and meet your revenue goals. The good news is that your facility doesn’t need to operate like this.

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Host Successful Group Exercise Department Meetings

By Ryan Halvorson | June 14, 2011 |

For a variety of reasons, as a group fitness director you need to meet with your instructors regularly. However, actually getting instructors to attend department meetings can be a daunting task. Ali Helms, fitness director at the Jewish Community Alliance in Jacksonville, Florida, offers tips for hosting a successful—and well-attended—department meeting:

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Don’t Be That Manager: High-Turnover

By Lance Breger, MS | May 30, 2011 |

Many personal trainers are promoted to manager or director solely on the basis of their success as a trainer and not necessarily because of their management skills. Now it’s your turn: you are the new personal training manager. You’re finding out how different being the manager is from working with clients on the floor.

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Entry-Level Employees Unprofessional, Says Study

By Ryan Halvorson | March 15, 2011 |

Recently graduated or certified individuals looking to get ahead may want to take a course in professionalism. In a 2010 survey of hiring managers and business leaders, 38.2% of respondents stated that professionalism had decreased among entry-level workers. How would you rate your professionalism? If you’re in the market for a new job, consider these suggestions from Linda McHugh, director of group fitness programming for 24 Hour Fitness®.

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Communication Conundrums: Instructor Issues

By Shannon Fable | January 30, 2011 |

As we discovered in the previous installment of this column, group fitness managers (GFMs) are the communication hub connecting instructors, upper management, owners, members and others. This can leave you, as a GFM, overworked and misunderstood. It can also lead to major issues with instructors—issues that, if not addressed, can have a significant, negative effect on your program.

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The Language of Job Postings

By Donna Hutchinson | November 22, 2010 |

If the world as we know it were coming to an end and it was your job to find skilled individuals to rebuild society, how would you pick the “right” people? If you chose wisely, they all would flourish; if you chose unwisely, everyone would flounder. When you’re hiring for your organization, use the same careful consideration.

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Digitally Enhancing the Value of Evaluations

By Biray Alsac, MS | October 19, 2010 |

Performance reviews are part of any job, and most fitness professionals have either had one or given one at some point. Effective staff evaluations provide personal trainers and group fitness instructors the valuable feedback they need to become confident communicators and refined professionals. Among managers, the best of the best have streamlined performance review systems that have been in place for years and contribute to the success of many instructors and trainers.

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Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

By Ryan Halvorson | August 16, 2010 |

Managers often have to deal with conflict among staff members. Clashes can become disruptive if not dealt with properly. But how do you quell arguments and create a team-oriented environment? “My overall philosophy is ‘Seek to understand,’” says Helen Vanderburg, president of Heavens Fitness in Calgary, Alberta. “My best advice is to confront the problem without judgment.

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Manage Multigenerational Staff Successfully

By Ryan Halvorson | April 21, 2010 |

Fitness facilities worldwide are filled with employees and contractors whose ages span multiple generations. With each generation comes a different work ethic and sense of how responsibilities are handled. For a fitness facility owner or manager, an understanding of generational differences can help foster a sense of community and success among staff. Here are tips for managing a multigenerational staff, courtesy of Chicago-based Lakeshore Staffing:

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Empower Your Evaluations

By Lawrence Biscontini, MA | April 1, 2010 |

Welcome to part three of our five-part “Crash Course in Excellence” series with takeaway strategies. This article explores performance reviews in the fitness environment, especially the often overlooked piece of the puzzle called “bilateral evaluations.”

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How to Implement a QEP

By Linda Freeman | April 1, 2010 |

Have you ever wondered how to offer your personal training staff effective, ongoing quality education that will meet your departmental goals and their professional growth desires without crippling your budget? A Quarterly Education Program (QEP) is an educational syllabus offered in-house on an annual basis that addresses those needs and more!

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