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Entries in employee retention (12)


Creating and Keeping a Killer Membership Sales Team

New member sales still provide the majority of any fitness facility’s revenue, and any health club operator worth their salt knows that you can’t drive membership without a killer sales team.

But creating and keeping a successful sales team is another story.

(Photo: Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness)

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Strong Fee-based Programming Drives Revenue, Trainer Retention

This post is an IHRSA Institute preview.

There’s more to fee-based programming than meets the eye.

Personal training, small group training, and other fee-based programs are strong drivers of additional club business revenue. But the benefits of fee-based programming don’t stop at your bottom line.

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Unleashing Your Health Club Team’s Talent

The reasons for developing the talent within your health club are limitless; bolstering your employees helps to improve retention, foster a positive culture, and increase productivity. And, in the wise words of business writer Tom Peters, “Leaders don’t create more followers, they create more leaders.”

However, like most things that are worthwhile, talent development is easier said than done—especially for the busy club operator.

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13 Unique Employee Benefits Offered by Top Companies 

by Regina Satagaj, vice president of human resources for IHRSA 

Last month I shared some strategies to help you determine the needs of your health club staff by gathering employee feedback. Now let’s look at some of the benefits you can offer to meet those needs, based on employee perks provided by top companies.

Research from Glassdoor found that more than half of employees say benefits and perks are a top consideration in accepting a position, and four out five workers say they would prefer new benefits over a pay raise. 

These are the top five benefits ranked by employees: 

  • Healthcare insurance
  • Vacation/paid time off
  • Performance bonus
  • Paid sick days
  • 401K plan, retirement plan and/or pension 

Where does the health club industry rank? The IHRSA Health Club Employee Compensation & Benefits Report states that the industry stacks up pretty well in offering most of the top five benefits.

But in addition to understanding and meeting employees’ basic needs or offering the top ranked benefits, what are leading companies doing to attract and retain employees?

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Health Club Employee Engagement: A Leadership Commitment 

This post is part of our Session Spotlight series, previewing just some of the extensive education that will feature at IHRSA 2017, March 8-11 in Los Angeles.   

How many of your health club’s employees are truly engaged at work? It may be less than you’d think.

According to a recent Gallup poll, just 32% of U.S. employees reported being engaged at work. The majority (50.8%) of employees said they were "not engaged," and another 17.2% reported that they were "actively disengaged."

While these statistics are grim, they also point the way to an opportunity for club owners.

Continue reading "Health Club Employee Engagement: A Leadership Commitment."

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Strategies to Improve Your Gym’s Employee Retention Using Feedback

by Regina Satagaj, vice president of human resources for IHRSA 

Employee retention is critical to the health of your organization. With your eye on company growth, member satisfaction, and innovation, it's critical to maintain your successful workforce. 

Also, losing star employees comes with financial and non-financial costs—costs to the bottom line and demands on the organization, like training time, lost knowledge, and an impact on employee morale.

Meeting basic needs of your workforce has a direct correlation to retaining employees. However, with so many competing challenges, where do you begin in developing your organizational retention strategy and how do you know what basic needs matter to your employees? 

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Fitness Brasil Keynote: Happy, Satisfied Employees Lead to Profit

Many leaders preach about the importance of having engaged employees, but Márcio Fernandes, CEO of Elektro, directly correlates happy employees to profit. 

Fernandes’ Innovative ‘Management Philosophy’ 

During his Thursday, September 1 keynote address at the 17th Annual IHRSA / Fitness Brasil Conference & Trade Show, Fernandes explained his “Management Philosophy,” which is based on four principles:  

  1. Believe
  2. Practice
  3. Improve
  4. Share  

“When the people—independent of education degree, position in the company, entrepreneur or traditional employee, young or experienced in life or career—decide to try to do better (especially for their own) and believe (basically in themselves) incredible things happen,” he told IHRSA in an interview conducted in advance of the keynote. 

By practicing good behaviors and making long-term behavior changes, employees can improve their potential, “reflecting directly in the company and people profit,” Fernandes said. “Finally, sharing your best findings with your family, friends, or company, any people can be part of the ‘management philosophy.’” 

Sharing Keeps Employees Engaged 

So, what’s the secret to help employees become engaged and satisfied? Sharing, Fernandez said. 

“Not only for employees, but for any people in the world, the only sustainable way to engage your team, family, friends or anybody else is by sharing,” he said. “Sharing ideas, making the people part of the decision, part of the profits, part of the risk, and, especially, creating and being together into the same proposal.” 

Fernandes’ Advice for Fitness Brasil Attendees 

Asked what advice he’ll be sharing with the audience, Fernandes said, “During 30 years of work and study, I realized the best way to have a happiest life are being humble, listening, interacting, and learning from all the people.” 

Being close to people will lead to credibility, which will lead to trust, “which, for me, is the only important advice to create better solutions, products, and, of course, life conditions,” he said. “Trust is the ‘management philosophy’ key.”


Work and hire eagles, not ducks

Debra Siena led stretching in the middle of her session.One of the main tenets of Debra Siena’s afternoon educational session “Staff Hiring, Training & Retention” was hire eagles and not ducks. For those of you who have never heard the comparison before, eagles soar while ducks waddle along.

She had five keys she laid out to be successful in all three areas:


Key #1: Be a Leader Worth Following

  • challenge status quo
  • empower and inspire
  • have a vision

Key #2: Recruit and Hire Eagles, Not Ducks

  • prepare for an interview
  • look for team players
  • clarify your expectations
  • watch for pitfalls

Key #3: Build Employee Loyalty and Value

  • launch with care
  • restate expectations
  • set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Acvhievable, Realistic, Timely) 
  • watch for pitfalls

Key #4 - Nurture the Company Culture

  • share your vision
  • ask their expectations
  • keep them informed
  • don’t avoid coaching in order to avoid conflict
  • inspire them to motivate themselves
  • recognize them, let members recognize them
  • create a great work environment
  • walk your talk
  • never be a seagull manager

Key #5: Realize Human Capital is Your Greatest Asset

  • team retention = member retention

Debra Siena can be reached at




Many different ways to recognize top employees

There are numerous acts from management that can do wonders for an employee. And it doesn't always have to involve monetary gestures.

Recognizing hard-working and top employees is a great way yo keep them happy, keep them on staff, and to show other workers who may not be pulling their weight that management notices the extra effort.

Q: What is one thing you do in order to reward and retain your best employees?

 A: This is something fun that employees look forward to. At each monthly staff meeting, I acknowledge two or three employees who have gone above and beyond. I present them with a gift that relates to something they enjoy. (I get to know each staff member from the start, which helps create a comfortable work environment and helps me understand what types of rewards to use.) In addition, I try to catch employees doing things right and acknowledge it on the spot. It can be praise in front of other staff members or club members, or I may slip them a note acknowledging them for what they did. This can really get a staff member fired up, especially because they don’t even realize anyone noticed!

Lana Carson
Omni Fitness Club
Muskegon, Michigan


Our leadership team is committed to listening to our entire staff, as well as creating an atmosphere where our employees are empowered to connect with our members and establish a healthy familiarity with them. We encourage our employees to take full advantage of all of our facilities and programs, so they can feel a sense of ownership and act as ambassadors of the club’s philosophy, both inside and outside of the facility. After being open for 19 months, I am proud to have retained over 80% of our original employees. In challenging economic times, it is vital to retain employees that truly believe in our message, as they are essential ingredients in our recipe for success.

J Madden
Managing Partner
Pura Vida Fitness & Spa
Denver, Colorado

A: Employees are encouraged to identify and hone their strengths and they are mentored in their journey by in-house and external learning, development from training, job projects and assignments, regular team meetings, coaching and constructive feedback. This “developing people” practice has been reward enough for employees who use our company as a vehicle for their professional growth. Recognition has been given to each new stage of growth, verbally one-on-one, verbally in team meetings, by written card and by gifts. Bonuses in the form of cash payments were tried, but proved less effective than the standard practice every Christmas of the personal hand-written letter from me to every staff member acknowledging all the ways in which they had benefitted the business.

Victoria Gill
Managing Director
Green Apple Wellness Centre
Brisbane, Australia



Best ways to keep your employees from leaving

Hiring an employee can be a painstaking process, aside from being costly between advertiding the position, interviewing, training and time for them to acclimate.

That is why holding on to your valuable staff members is even more important. And this week's Best Practices talks to three veterans of the fitness industry on what their companies do to incentivize their staff.

 Q: How do you reward and retain your best employees?

A: The best incentive for our fitness team has been the planned lack of focus on the part of the club on the number of personal training sessions conducted and the related revenues generated. This has led to trainers concentrating on their own businesses. They are passionate about their trade, and are not under pressure from the club to chase the dollar. They have the desire and the time to educate themselves, and, interestingly enough, they have increased our revenues. We transition them from a contract of set hours and duties to one that allows them independence. They help members achieve the results they want and this helps with member retention, which is our top priority.

Gerard Oliver
General Manager
Al Corniche Club Resort & Spa

Building a successful organization is all about finding the right people, training them well, rewarding them for their efforts and allowing them the freedom to take ownership of their responsibilities. It's not necessarily just management, but also mentorship. Build confidence in their abilities and allow them to grow within the organization. We place special emphasis on training and continued development of everyone’s skills, whether it’s about general fitness knowledge, specific items related to Ellipse Fitness programming, customer service, sales and marketing, or building individual personal skills. That’s essential in an industry that is changing every day, as fitness does! These are critical elements in building and retaining motivated staff.

Lisa Welko
Ellipse Fitness
Appleton, Wisc.

We have 140 club employees and all of them are valuable to us. It is important to be explicit, understandable and fair. Moreover, our performance system depends on the relative performance of the employees, not just on the budget of the club. We offer a competitive salary and an excellent compensation package with frequent adjustments according to market dynamics. All of these things are good for employees, but the most important thing is that they feel as if they are a part of our family. Our employee turnover rate is very low. The key word is  “teamwork.”

Aydin Buyukyilmaz
General Manager


Club Operators: To be profiled in this column, please contact Kristen Walsh, IHRSA associate publisher, at

IHRSA has answered hundreds of questions and inquiries in the weekly column,Best Practices. Check them out here. Best Practices answered a similar group purchasing question in 2013.