Fact: Finding, hiring and retaining good gym staff can be budget intensive and time consuming. However, it is one of the most important aspects of running a successful gym. To any fitness business, staff members are much more than just employees. Your coaches or personal trainers represent your brand. They do the selling and marketing for your business, and are frontliners for delivering excellent gym experiences to your members.
More important fact: If your staff delivers, your business thrives.
Apart from finding and hiring great people, retaining them creates a major challenge for a lot of gym owners. Gym staff nowadays tend to job hop until they find a company that fits their increasingly complex set of needs. Gym staff leave their jobs for a lot of reasons, but one reason that stands out is the lack of opportunities for advancement. Simply put, if don’t promote your people, they’ll leave. Well…this may only be partially true.
Advancement does not strictly mean giving your staff promotions and leadership opportunities. It can also mean that you give them coaching and personal development opportunities so that they learn and access the skills they need to be better at what they do.
It is important that you, as gym owners, realise that in order to retain your staff, you need to train your staff. Why? Because training is an investment.
Training your staff doesn’t only make them better at their jobs, it also ensures that they are providing better customer service. Plus, it lets them know that they are important to you and to the business, giving them and their work a more driving purpose. And in order for you to train your gym staff effectively, I recommend the following:
Planning is everything
Sit down and map out what you need your staff to know. If you need a guideline, reflect on the questions below and try writing out your thoughts on each topic.
- What do they need to know about your business?
- Your members?
- Your community?
- Your history?
- Your vision?
- Your philosophy?
Don’t expect that training a new staff member once means that he/she can process everything you share. Having a consistent training plan in place so your team stays up to date on coaching opportunities. For example, you can have a weekly 1:1 or team meeting with your staff to keep their focus, or a daily 5-minute morning huddle to discuss daily goals or for plain motivation.
Mix it up
Not everyone learns the same way. Different people have different learning patterns, so by varying your training styles you run a better chance of tapping into what works for your employees and delivering content that will stick. Some days you may need a PowerPoint presentation, other days role-play activities could work better, and sometimes you may need to involve your gym staff in games and activities that make it high energy and fully engaging.
Test your team, but make it fun
When you have successfully delivered a section of your content, make sure your team retains the information through testing. You can do this the old-fashioned way and do a Q+A or give them pop quizzes along the way, or you can test their knowledge using role-plays.
These are just a few ideas to keep your employees engaged and lower employee turnover. I’d love to hear from you in our comments section. What have you seen work? What do your employees say about the training you’ve provided? Keeping your team members is an important part of building an amazing fitness community.