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What positions are most difficult to fill?

What position in your club do you find you are continually having to fill? Is it one that requires many years of experience or one that is entry level but pay is on the low end?

On the other end of the spectrum it could be a job that gives your employee a lot of experience but then the ability to move on to another club that can pay more or is in a different city.

We have three experts and fitness veterans who chimed in with their experiences, in this week's Best Practices.

Q: What position at your club has been the most challenging to fill and keep properly staffed? Why do you think that is and how have you overcome this challenge?

A: By nature, our front desk position is entry-level and offers competitive, but minimal, hourly pay and “front line” responsibilities. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most important roles related to members’ day-to-day experience. Associates who perform at a high level are quickly ready to take the next step in responsibility and of course compensation. That’s great if you have room to promote them internally, and this should be your first option. If not, they may look elsewhere. We have found the best solution is to invest heavily in the systems and training of front desk staff in order to maintain consistent service, despite frequent turnover.  

Brent Darden
Owner/General Manager
Telos Fitness Center
Dallas, Texas


In the past, I had difficulties filling the facilities manager position. The individuals hired were emergency responders at the expense of proactive care for the facility. I needed hard facts to inform next steps, so I created a list of the routine and preventative maintenance to be completed daily and monthly. I discovered there was more work than one person could do, so I hired a facilities assistant. Each week, the facilities manager and I review the list and celebrate accomplishments. With knowledge of the full scope of the routine tasks, I’m able to assign additional tasks that the facilities manager and I agree can be accomplished in the upcoming week.

Karen Westra, PhD
Riverside Health Club
Mount Vernon, Wash.


Regardless of the extent of their certification, personal trainers seem to have difficulty applying their knowledge in a marketing/sales aspect. I think that this obstacle is a result of them not being taught how to sell their services once placed into a fitness environment. The majority of these trainers, having not been taught the necessary marketing skills in their certification courses, unfortunately must learn these techniques through trial and error. The solution to this problem would be for the certification programs to offer classes that teach these skills during the certification process.

Joe Cabibbo
Owner /General Manager
Odyssey Athletic Center
Waldwick, N.J.



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