As your gym grows, so does your need for dependable staff. Although good gym management software and 24/7 access can streamline much of the day-to-day operations of smaller gyms, a smiling face behind the counter is always a good way to run a business.
That’s a tough nut to find, though, in today’s environment. Since the evolution of what’s been called the “Great Resignation,” finding and keeping employees has become a job in itself.
To give you an idea of what some experts recommend, we scoured multiple resources to uncover and share a few good tips to keep gym employees.
The crux of the dilemma comes down to what behavioral economist Stephan Meier’s research suggests are the four main motivations that keep employees at a company: purpose, autonomy, competence, and togetherness, as reported by Business Insider.
So how can you keep good employees?
Although every job has a natural lifecycle, building commitment in entry level employees is enhanced by treating them as If they were preparing for a job beyond their current position. Communication and coaching generate loyalty by helping them understand the significance and importance of their job – even if it’s checking in guests and handing out towels.
An employee’s rotten attitude or, conversely, a helpful, friendly demeanor, can change a member’s feeling about the club in a heartbeat. Your team has the power to generate success. Communicate that. A 19-year-old may not see much beyond the horizon – how their behavior affects customer decisions could be a foreign concept, so explain it. Whether they realize it or not, this rudimentary tidbit of knowledge becomes a stepping stone towards competency at other jobs in the future. Every job builds on the next.
2) Invest in their future
Today, investing in good people means paying good wages. No way around that one. To retain proactive, helpful employees, you need to pay a competitive salary. Yet, what are other ways you can creatively support them without eating into the bottom line? Large corporations like AT&T provide perks like onsite training and development programs. Now that may be a little out of your ballpark, but what about an apprentice program where they learn from your best trainers? Or providing certifications that grow your employees’ knowledge base as well as earnings potential?
Believe it or not, it’s tax deductible. As long as you formalize the program with a written policy, you can deduct up to $5,250 per year of educational assistance per employee from your taxes.
Additionally, if you work with an accountant — and we recommend you do so to ensure tax compliance — there are ways to build up compensation plans to include 401K’s, or a host of benefits considered under what the IRS calls “cafeteria plans.” Before you know it, you’re offering employees what the big boys can — and designing a company culture that encourages growth, loyalty and stability.
3) Fight for your employees
In recent blogs, we discussed creating mission statements and assessing what values are represented by your gym. This overarching testimony to your beliefs imbues your gym with its vibe, culture, direction, and feel.
Now don’t mess that up by allowing toxic environments to fester.
- Nip collective gossip in the bud. No one needs to wonder what another employee did the other night – conversation is one thing, spreading unfounded rumors is another. To be a team, employees need to support each other – not tear one another down.
- Listen when staff members complain. Minimizing friction is about establishing standards and sticking with them. It’s also called compliance by insurance companies. Written policies about what is appropriate and what is unacceptable will go far in allowing you to counsel an unhappy employee and retain happy ones.
- Provide work-life balance. Yes, an overworked phrase, we agree. But the truth is, no one becomes a health club employee to turn their life over to the company. Respect their need to prioritize. Use good gym management software to optimize scheduling, customer relations, and other key functions. Figure out what works for you as an owner, and try to help your team show up every day happy and content with their jobs.
4) Create autonomy
This is a tough one, because you’re asking what are often entry level employees to make business decisions. But the truth is, how happy are customers when the person in front of them is not authorized to audit a simple transaction?
Not everything needs to go through management. By providing good training, and encouraging ongoing communication, individual employees can run the ship competently.
Autonomy will go a long way in establishing a sense of personal responsibility for your gym that a simple paycheck will not. In the end, retaining good employees is about the same thing we all want – respect, self-worth, and a sense of shared purpose.
Now, what are your ideas on how to keep employees these days?
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