How Fitness Studio Owners Can Nourish Their Employees in Mind, Body, and Spirit
By Alison Hadden
As a busy executive who seeks to keep my own personal health and wellness a top priority, especially since my cancer diagnosis last year, working for a company that supports these goals makes it so much easier to maintain this kind of lifestyle. And if you’re lucky enough to work in the wellness industry as I do for MINDBODY, well, you’ve hit the jackpot.
In today’s job market, top companies are in a tight race competing for top talent. During my six years at Glassdoor, I talked to hundreds of HR and Recruiting leaders about their challenges. What I learned is that smart employers recognize that in order to recruit the best candidates, they’ve got to create a fitness studio that not only offers growth and opportunity from a professional standpoint but one that nourishes the employee as a human being in mind, body, and spirit.
That means creating an environment that’s diverse, inclusive, and encourages employees to bring their whole selves to work—ideally, their healthiest selves—because a healthy and happy employee is an engaged and productive one. Also because it’s the right thing to do. We should all be encouraging those around us to pursue their best lives.
Here are some of the different ways fitness business owners can help nourish the mind, body, and soul of their people:
MIND: Encourage your employees to make mental wellness a priority
The people you hire at your fitness business are the face of your business—and your biggest cheerleaders when it comes to your success. As a fitness studio owner, it’s in your best interest to invest in these employees to help them thrive in their day-to-day at your studio and in their careers as a whole.
A simple thing you could incorporate at your studio to help nourish the minds of your employees is hosting a daily meditation at the start of each working day. Starting the day off on a positive and inspirational note sets the tone for the day and encourages each individual to feel good and do good.
Investing in learning and development programs is another way to boost the brainpower of employees. Online courses and onsite workshops can help people sharpen their skills or learn about new career paths. In an industry with so many opportunities to further an instructor’s education, ask each individual if there are any certifications they are interested in getting in the future or any workshops they’d like to attend.
Maybe you own a yoga studio and have heard about the Yoga Nidra craze that’s sweeping the nation, or maybe you’ve noticed an abundance of expectant mothers coming to your studio lately. Ask your certified instructors if they are interested in furthering their education to get certified in different types of yoga and offer resources to help them on their new journey. Or better yet—see if you can host the certification course at your own studio! Providing opportunities for employees to learn from experts on-site promotes a culture of continuous improvement and learning while keeping your most ambitious people engaged.
BODY: Keep their activity level top-of-mind
Healthy and fit employees are happier and more productive people.
Let’s start off with your front desk staff. When you’re behind a computer for 8-10 hours per day, the back pain and carpal tunnel struggle are real. Ergonomic support services (think high-quality chairs, monitor risers, standing desks and wrist supports) make sure employees are physically set up at their workstations in good alignment to avoid unnecessary stress and fatigue. Plus, you burn 100 to 200 calories per hour standing, and only 60 to 130 calories per hour sitting.
A great perk to offer all your employees (and keep them healthy) is to reward them with a free membership to take as many classes as they’d like every month. This not only builds community amongst your employees but also gives them another opportunity to interact and bond with your customers. As we’ve stated in previous posts, when your employees engage with your clients, your retention rates can skyrocket. When you think about it this way, encouraging employees to attend classes at your studio for free can actually make you money by building an enviable community your clients want to be a part of.
SPIRIT: Build a community that focuses on connection
Through years of research, Brene has found that in work relationships, if we have the courage to be vulnerable and authentically connect with each other, we experience a powerful sense of belonging which drives engagement and productivity.
Your fitness studio has a huge opportunity right now to show your employees that you care enough to create supportive environments for your team. Remember—diversity and inclusion isn’t just a recruiting initiative; it's a cultural value.
Focus on building a community vibe that embraces these values. It doesn’t take much to bring the whole gang together for fun opportunities that focus on building each individual’s spirit. Encourage your staff to connect not only at your studio but outside of it as well. Plan retreats, potlucks, team hikes, and holiday parties to bring your staff together as much as possible.
Another thing to keep in mind when trying to nourish staff spirits is valuing work-life balance. Because you know what? Life happens sometimes. People get sick and can’t teach a class—or maybe one of your instructor’s kids has a play at school during their normal teaching hours. Or maybe you have an instructor who is teaching several times a week, they could experience burnout and may need a break one night to reset and recharge. By creating a business that encourages work-life balance—and has a full stable of awesome substitute teachers—employees can feel safe asking for some time off to take care of themselves.
In my experience, if you hire the right people who are intrinsically motivated, take the time to get to know them and what's important in their lives, and try and create a working environment that actively supports and nourishes them in mind, body and spirit, you'll not only have a star employee on your hands—you'll have a healthier, happier human and isn't that what life's all about?