Fitness Staffing: How to Hire and Retain Your Team
Staff members are among the most important drivers of a successful fitness business. As a business owner, you might be facing challenges with fitness staffing, particularly around hiring and retaining employees. It's not just the time or money you invest in staffing that makes it so demanding—losing talented, quality employees at your studio can impact morale, client satisfaction, and culture.
In the current staffing landscape, many are reconsidering their current roles and what they're passionate about, generally. So much so, nearly half of U.S. employees are looking for new career opportunities. In the fitness industry in particular, many instructors and trainers have branched out to start their own businesses. This has left many fitness businesses considering new ways to strengthen their hiring and retention strategies.
If you're looking to attract new talent to your business and retain employees who help make your studio successful, these tips are for you.
View hiring and retention as an investment
To make the most of your staffing efforts, first remember this is a long-term, ongoing investment—one that can pay off significantly. Whether it's higher engagement and satisfaction among your current employees and clients, an increase in new business, or more innovation in your service offerings, putting in the time and money now can help ensure you see a solid return on your investment down the line.
Hiring, specifically, all starts with the core values of your fitness business. You likely already have these established, but if not, ask yourself: What does my business stand for? How can I incorporate those values into the hiring process to ensure I bring on people who support and strengthen them?
From there, you have a solid foundation to build your hiring and retention strategies.
Hone your hiring efforts
Once your core values are established, incorporate these next steps into your recruitment process:
- Create an ideal candidate profile. Much like you would consider your ideal customer for your marketing strategy, think about your ideal employee for each position. What does their background and experience look like? What hard and soft skills do they possess? Are they effective at establishing valuable connections with clients?
- Craft compelling job descriptions. This is your chance to clearly outline what skills, experience, and background you're looking for as well as the responsibilities required of each position. It's about setting the right expectations with candidates, so don't skimp on the details. And be sure to include information about your company such as your core values, company culture, and other relevant details.
- Utilize a variety of recruitment resources. Online job boards and your company's careers page are great starting points, but don't neglect other platforms and resources for finding qualified candidates. Check out the social media profiles of fitness bloggers and enthusiasts or hop on local fitness forums to identify talent. And don't forget the power of word of mouth! Spread the word on social media, ask your current employees for referrals, and reach out to clients who might know someone—or might even be interested themselves in taking their own passion for fitness to the next level.
- Be discerning in interviews. Your ideal candidate profiles and job description are good tools for identifying whether a candidate is the right fit during an interview. Additionally, look for qualities that don't come across in a resume such as motivation and enthusiasm. Also, don't just stick to a script; ask follow-up questions to dig more into their background and qualifications. If they can't provide details on their past experience or their answers seem overly rehearsed, they may not be a good fit.
- Avoid the rush to hire. While your need to fill a position at your studio is likely immediate, don't hire someone just because you need to fill that spot. Hiring too quickly can result in bringing on employees who don't fit with your company culture or possess the right skills and personality for the job. This can impact client satisfaction, employee morale, and even business performance—not to mention the time and financial investment you've lost.
Finding, recruiting, and hiring the right employees for your fitness business is an ongoing process. Always be on the lookout for top talent to join your company, and tailor your strategies to continue attracting professionals who will help your company thrive. Also, check out our Staffing Template for Your Fitness Business to outline a solid hiring plan.
Retain your team
Keeping qualified and valuable employees is just as important as finding them. There are the financial implications of losing a good employee—up to 33 percent of their annual salary, in fact. But there's also the potential hit to morale, culture, and client relations. Use these strategies to improve your retention efforts:
- Focus on your core values. It's important to never lose sight of your core values and to let them guide how you interact with your employees. These pillars likely attracted your current employees in the first place. Show them you remain focused on bringing those values to life in how you operate your business.
- Gather feedback—and take it to heart. Feedback from both departing employees and your current staff is crucial to identifying trends. Hold exit interviews for employees who have given their notice to find out why they're leaving. You're likely to discover gaps you can fill. Also, encourage feedback from your current staff to learn where to focus your efforts.
- Keep the day-to-day interesting. To expand on the point above, talk to your team about the repetitive tasks and processes that bog them down. As much as possible, reduce those monotonous tasks with automation. With tools like Messenger[ai], your team can focus less on completing tasks (answering phone calls, client follow-up, etc.) and more on interacting with in-person clients. Connection is the most important part of your business and likely the most engaging for employees too.
- Offer development and advancement opportunities. Employees want to know they can grow and strengthen their skills at your company. Research shows staff members are three times more likely to look for a new job when they aren't given support and resources to work toward their career goals. Let your employees know you care about their growth by offering professional development opportunities like continued education and clearly communicating growth opportunities within your company.
- Give recognition. Employees want to know when they're doing their jobs well. Recognition should be a cornerstone of your retention strategy. This can be informal praise for a job well done, like positive feedback in one-to-one meetings, or something more public, such as creating social posts and highlighting top-performing staff members in emails to your clients. For more ideas, check out our blog post on recognizing and rewarding your staff.
Now that you have steps to hire and retain valuable staff, it's time to put your plan into action. Finding the right team is no easy feat but the resounding positive effects are worth it.