The fitness industry is winning accolades in the press these days. In this space a couple of weeks ago, we highlighted an article in Forbes that lauded the industry for its useful website content and its ability to make that content go viral. Now another magazine, Minnesota Business, offers praise of a different sort: Anytime Fitness has won recognition as the best Minnesota company to work for in the large business category.
Headquartered in Hastings, Minnesota, Anytime Fitness has 110 employees locally and more than 500 nationally. Each employee, first and foremost, receives a free gym membership. In addition, employees can take part in a special program that encourages them to try out a whole range of new activities, including, to name a few, onsite fitness boot camps, weight loss competitions, volunteer opportunities, skydiving, blood drives, and gardening. Thanks in part to the program, Anytime Fitness employees participated in more than 28 classes, wellness initiatives, activities, and charity programs in 2012.
The company makes relationship-building a priority. Through a peer lunch program, it pairs up two employees who do not interact with each other on a daily basis and sends them for an off-site lunch. Also, it hosts an annual conference, during which franchise employees, corporate staff, vendors, and members from all over the world come together to connect. Last year’s conference in Chicago saw more than 1,100 attendees, a record.
Finally, the company invests in its employees, encouraging professional development through a tuition reimbursement program and highlighting not an employee of the month but a “Hero of the Month.” What’s most appealing about the Hero of the Month program is that it calls for staff to nominate their peers for the title, encouraging not only pride in one’s own work, but also pride in one’s colleague’s work.
As with most fields, best practices — or, as I once heard a coworker say, “better practices”: “It’s more hopeful,” he explained, “because it implies that we can always find new and better ways” — all right then: As with most fields, better practices in the fitness industry are always worth studying. We all know that happy employees means a healthy business. Are there any Anytime Fitness practices you can adopt and adapt for your own fitness facility? If you do, who knows, you might find your business’s name splashed across a magazine one day too.