Author: Rick Mayo

If you want to run a successful gym, you have to keep your gym staff happy. After all, engaged, well-compensated, satisfied employees do the best work, deliver the best product, and reflect on your company better than disenfranchised employees. The question, then, is how to keep these employees as happy as possible.

This is an especially important question if you are in the midst of rapid growth, moving your location, or adding another location. If your staff satisfaction rates start to dip, you’re going to experience higher turnover, less customer satisfaction, and more headaches.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid all of these things. Let’s dive In.

The Importance of Staff Retention

According to recent studies, about 10% of staff leave an organization every year. While this number might seem high, it’s actually pretty normal. When turnover rates get higher than this, though, it can create some severe negative impacts. For example, losing experienced employees also means your gym loses expertise and knowledge that may be more valuable than the employee his or herself. There’s also a cost to morale and outlook when you lose an employee.

Here are a few staff retention facts you should be aware of:

  • 3 million Americans quit their jobs each month
  • In a study of over 1,000 workers, 31% quit a job within six months of being hired
  • 87% of HR leaders report that employee retention is one of their biggest goals over the next 5-10 years of running the company
  • The cost to replace a skilled employee can be 200% of that employee’s annual salary
  • 35% of employees intend to leave their job if they do not receive a pay raise within the next year

As you can see, staff retention is a real concern for companies. And that’s especially true for fitness centers.

Good people are hard to find, and extremely experienced trainers are no different. Not only is it frustrating to go through a lot of turnover with employees, but high staff turnover results in monetary issues, as well. High staff turnover, for example, can cost you time and money and make it difficult to find a replacement. Until you DO find a replacement, you also have to worry about who will fill the gap at your gym.

Gym staff also impacts the rest of your team, especially in organizations where the staff is very interconnected. If an employee leaves because they feel wronged or disenfranchised about your company, it may inspire other people to leave, as well, creating a cascade effect for your brand.

With all of this in mind, keeping your gym staff happy is crucial to ensure your company keeps running smoothly. Fortunately, there are ways to do this – you just have to know-how.

5 Ways to Keep Your Fitness Staff Happy

If you want to reduce gym turnover rates, continue to provide excellent customer experience, and decrease the cost associated with continually finding, hiring, and onboarding new employees, follow these five tips:

1. Listen to Employee Feedback

Complaints generally start as a whisper. If you don’t pay attention to the whisper, you’ll be forced to listen to the screams later. With this in mind, pay attention to employee feedback as soon as it is issued. Not only does this make your employees feel valued and heard, but it gives them some stake in the company.

What employees feel involved in the brands that they are helping to build, they have more skin in the game, so to speak. This, in turn, increases their investment in the company and builds a sense of loyalty. Additionally, since your staff are some of the people that are closest to your brand and Mission, listening to their input provides you with real opportunities to increase your operations, build a better business, and fix common pain points that likely many people in your organization are experiencing.

What an employee has feedback, let them know that they can come to you, by allowing them to speak their mind, pitch ideas, and file complaints. This increases their loyalty to your company and helps them feel like they’re part of the team. As if you needed another benefit, it also enables you to be a better, more respected, more proactive leader.

2. Offer Competitive Benefits

Appreciation is a big thing in employee satisfaction. Of the employees that choose to leave companies, many cite low pay, low benefits, or other compensation and benefits issues. If you’re running a large business, it’s easy to overlook the importance of pay for employees. After all, you have hundreds of things on your plate daily.

What you need to remember, though, is that your employees are working their hardest for you, and they deserve to make a good living for that. If they can’t, and they are skilled and employable, they will go to one of your competitors who offer better pay rates. With this in mind, provide your gym staff with good benefits, competitive compensation, and opportunities for advancement.

When these three things are in place, it’s much easier to keep employees loyal, engaged, and excited about the opportunities that your company is offering. If you’re not sure what you need to provide in the way of benefits packages, do some research into what your competitors are offering. You should at least be meeting those benefits, if not exceeding them by quite a bit.

3. Offer Discounts

In addition to the benefits that you’re providing your employees, consider partnering with local and related businesses to offer discounts. For example, can you partner with a local fitness wear distributor to ensure that your employees get a 20% discount on Fitness Gear? What about a nutrition company that specializes in making gel and supplements? Can you work something out with that company to ensure that your employees get freebies? This approach is essential for two reasons.

First, it serves the purpose of making your employees feel valued. Employees that feel like they get as much as they give from the company that they work with are much more likely to stay in their current position than they are to seek a new one.

Additionally, this is a great way to expose employees to new brands and partnerships, keep them fueled up for the task at hand, and also benefits the company that’s providing freebies. After all, each organization is benefiting the other in this arrangement, which is a great incentive for everyone involved.

4. Involve Employees in the Hiring Process

As you move forward to hire new employees for your team, be sure to solicit the opinion of your existing team members. After all, they’re the people that are going to have to work with the new hire, and they should have some input on who joins the team. If you’re going to bring in new employees, it’s essential to ensure that they fit in with your current company culture.

If they don’t, you’re only setting yourself up for a world of pain down the road. With this in mind, solicit employee opinions on any new hire you’re considering bringing in. If you can, encourage new hires to shadow your existing employees for a day, or to work side-by-side with a more experienced employee to ensure the fit is a good one.

As you interview the new employee, be sure to explain your current work culture on your company’s values. You can even ask a few behavioral questions during the interview, which will be an excellent method to gauge the new employee’s responses and decide whether or not they’ll fit in with your team. If your team has complaints about a new hire down the road, go back to point number one. Be sure to listen to these things and respond accordingly.

5. Praise Them

Everyone loves praise, and your employees are no different. If they’ve been doing a good job, be sure to tell them that they’ve been doing a good job. Not only does this reinforce the positive things that you’d like to see more of within your company, but it ensures that your employees feel like you noticed them, which again, it’s critical. This is a straightforward yet incredibly effective way of improving employee retention.

Praising and recognizing hard work, you foster a culture of awareness and engagement within your company. It’s also a great way to build confidence in your employees, and to encourage progress that they’re making on crucial efforts.

Even better, acknowledging your employee’s efforts as a great way to encourage them to acknowledge efforts within themselves. When you praise your employees for a job well done, that employee is more willing to turn around and compliment another employee for doing something right. The basis of this approach is communication. When you communicate the good things, people are quick to catch on and keep doing more of what you want to see.

Likewise, be sure to communicate the things that you’re not happy with, so employees have a fair chance to shift their approach and alter mistakes. This culture of openness, respect, and acknowledgment will go a long way when it comes to building you a dedicated staff.

6. Offer Advancement Opportunities

Nobody wants to feel stuck in a dead-end job that they can’t get out of. Unfortunately, that’s precisely how many trainers feel in their current positions. They love what they do, and they want to keep going at it, but the organization that they work with simply doesn’t offer an opportunity to do that. Don’t let your gym fall into this trap. Instead, offer employees a chance to grow within your company.

For instance, give beginning staff members more responsibilities as they grow within your company. Allow your best trainers to take on more classes, or to be paid more for the courses that they’re currently teaching. Give your administrative staff decision-making capabilities when you’re not around.

Give advanced trainers the freedom to suggest new classes and be heard in their pitches. Simple things like this are critical for ensuring your most talented employees stay with your company for the long haul.

7. Make Their Jobs Easy

One of the best things you can do to keep your gym staff happy is to make their jobs as easy as possible to do. And one of the best ways to do this, then, is to implement a streamlined system for your gym. This is where Alloy comes in. Alloy gives teams the tools needed to thrive within the fitness training world – from guidance on setting up a gym location, to business management training before you open your doors, to on-site visits and remote support when you need it.

Alloy is an all-in-one system designed to make working in the fitness industry easier for you and your employees, all at once. When the business runs smoothly, employees are more willing to stick with you to the end.

Conclusion

Employee retention is critical for any good, successful company. Not only does employee retention build your bottom line and save you unnecessary expenses, but it’s also a great way to ensure you’re providing great customer experience and building a reliable, profitable business. If you want to boost your employee retention, following the tips in this post is a great path.

Keeping your team happy should be one of your top priorities, no matter what. Whether you do this by offering praise, great benefits, or just a stellar work environment, employees want to feel valued. When they do, they stick around longer.

Want to take your employee retention one step further? Consider partnering with Alloy – your go-to for comprehensive gym systems you and your employees can count on and thrive with.

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Rick Mayo is the founder and CEO of Alloy Personal Training Center (est. 1992) and Alloy Personal Training Solutions. As the owner of APTC, Rick and his team conduct over 60,000 personal training sessions a year. In 2010, Rick created Alloy, a consulting and licensing company as a platform for the Alloy personal training systems. Alloy has over 1000 clubs licensed worldwide. In 2019 Rick and the Alloy team stopped offering new Alloy licenses and converted the concept to a franchise offering. To learn more sign up for our mailing list here.

Rick is a featured speaker at conferences domestically and internationally, speaking on how to best sell and service personal training, leadership, and trends in the fitness industry. He is a subject matter expert in personal training. He has written numerous articles on the business of fitness for trade journals and contributes regularly to national publications such as Men’s Health. Rick sits on the board for the GA State exercise science department as well as the Atlanta School of Fitness. Rick is also an NSCA certified personal trainer and serves on the board for the Industry Board of Advisers for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Rick is also a Think Tank Adviser for the Gold’s Gym Franchise Association and sits on the advisory board for the Association of Fitness Studios.

Rick currently lives in Atlanta GA with his wife Andrea. Rick has a passion for the fitness industry and the impact that we can and do have on the lives of those we touch. Rick enjoys lifting heavy things, riding motorcycles and traveling the world. On his bucket list is to ride his motorcycle on every continent. Only a few left to go!

Oh yeah- it’s also rumored Rick was also Madonna’s trainer “back in the day” so make sure you ask about that!

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