Gym community

Retaining Employees

« Blog | Written by ezfacility | | (0) Comments

Some of the challenges fitness centers, gyms, and health clubs face are seasonal: getting members into the facility when the weather turns warm, dealing with the New-Year’s-resolution rush, running a member-recruitment campaign. But the challenge of holding on to valuable employees is perennial. After you’ve invested in a costly advertising and interviewing process, you spend a great number of resources training your staff and giving them time to acclimate. How do you then hold on to them for as long as possible?
Some club managers focus on keeping personal trainers happy. Gerard Oliver, General Manager of the Al Corniche Club Resort & Spa in Kuwait told IHRSA in a blog post that his facility keeps its fitness team incentivized by deemphasizing the revenues generated from personal training sessions. Without the pressure from the club to chase money by packing in as many sessions as possible, trainers are free to concentrate on the quality of their work. As Oliver says, “They have the desire and the time to education themselves, and interestingly enough, they have increased our revenues… They help members achieve the results they want and this helps with member retention, which is our top priority.”
For Aydin Buyukyilmaz, General Manager of Renewaclub in Turkey, the key strategy for successful employee retention is establishing a performance system that depends not on the budget of the club, but on the relative performance of the employees. Offering a competitive salary and a strong benefits package, while paying attention to market dynamics and making frequent adjustments accordingly, makes employees feel valued. But most of all, Buyukyilmaz says, the club works hard to create a sense of family among employees, which keeps them feeling connected and also benefits the club.
Lisa Welko, President of Ellipse Fitness in Appleton, Wisconsin, says the key is mentorship. “Build confidence in [employees’] abilities and allow them to grow within the organization,” she told the IHRSA blog. “We place special emphasis on training and continued development of everyone’s skills.” Fostering employees’ professional development increases their loyalty and keeps them motivated, Welko says.
One strategy might be to fire all these guns at once: Free your personal trainers from the pressure of increasing their number of sessions, focus on your employee compensation and performance packages, consciously create a sense of family among your staff, and emphasize mentorship and the development of specialized skills. Doing any one of these things takes time, money, effort, and a certain amount of vigilance; doing them all certainly will complicate a manager’s workload. But the potential payoff is huge: money saved, investments coming to fruition, and loyal expertise on staff. What more can a fitness facility ask for?
No doubt you have your own strategies for retaining your best employees. What are they? Share your best practices, and others will share theirs.

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