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Entries in employee retention (12)


Avoiding high employee attrition rates saves time, money

Our own industry we focus a lot on our members. We want to make sure they are happy, have many options and the facility is what they expect. But an aspect of the business that can go overlooked is your employees.

Tex McIver and Bobby Verdun tackle the always challenging area of employee attrition, in this week's Best Practices.

"How do you measure employee attrition and what are some "best practices" for increasing overall employee retention?"

A: In the health club industry, employee turnover is an issue that many worry about, want to know how to calculate and would like to learn what steps they can take to lower their attrition rate going forward. High attrition rates can correspond to unhappy employees and burdensome costs upon a gym (i.e. advertising, interviewing, background checks, training, etc.). Thus,  

Measuring attrition rate

Two of the most helpful attrition rate measures are determining turnover on a monthly basis and calculating how many employees leave within their first year of employment. To calculate a monthly employee turnover rate, take the turnover number during the month and divide that number by the total number of active employees in your gym and multiply by 100. This will give you a monthly turnover rate that you can seek to improve. Another important measurement is determining employee turnover rate within their first year of employment. To measure this rate you divide the number of first year employee separations by the total number of separations during the same period and multiply by 100. 

Practices for increasing overall employee retention 

Review job description for accuracy: Making sure that job descriptions accurately describe duties, pay and employer expectations can lessen the surprise upon the employee and can weed out applicants who are unlikely to perform well in the position.

Create a positive work environment: In addition to paying employees a fair income, finding creative ways to acknowledge and encourage good performance in the work place is key to employee retention. 

Hold managers accountable, too: Examine whether front-line managers are contributing to the attrition rate. Train those managers so they understand what leads to higher retention and reward those who get good results.

Tex McIver
Senior Partner
Fisher & Phillips LLP

(Tex McIver is speaking at the International Convention & Trade Show. Managing in the Era of Texts, Tweets, & Facebook: Review of Employment Laws and Legal Liabilities, is Thursday, March 21, 9:45 to 11 a.m.)


A: Unfortunately the trend in our industry with regards to staffing has become transient and there are a number of factors that contribute towards that. As we all know, there are more clubs being built and with that comes opportunities for professionals who have not yet solidified their business at one venue to start fresh at a new and exciting one. Often new clubs are desperate seeking professionals with experience and will create better pay opportunities for people to “jump ship” sort to speak. It’s an unfortunate trend of course but something that is a reality. 

Having said that, we’ve found that the more successful clubs are venues that have consciously taken time and energy (and of course the finances) to reinvest in staff.  Quarterly “all staff” meetings create a sense of family and strengthen the emotional commitment a team has with the club they are working for.  Rewarding individuals and recognizing achievements consistently builds trust and confidence as well.. as we know, people respond well to a raise.. but even better to recognizing their efforts.  This, combined with developing avenues for professional to improve and be supported by the club to improve their skills (IE education.. supporting attendance at conferences..etc.) are all examples of how to make a workplace great.. as opposed to just good. 

Lastly, as important as it is to create an exceptional member experience, we believe that creating a dynamic and exceptional working environment is just as important. We must all remember that members feed off the energy of the staff and creating a unique and dynamic working environment is where that starts. 

Bobby Verdun
Senior Partner
Atwood Consulting Group LLC


One of the most frequently consulted sections of IHRSA’s Website,, is “Best Practices,” which features answers from industry experts to a wide range of thought-provoking questions. Beginning this month, we’ll highlight some of them in this new CBI column.

Visit to read responses to more than 100 questions such as these or to submit a question of your own to be answered. 


How to Retain Your Club's Core Staff Members

Photo: hellojenuine.Richard Synnott discusses how to retain your core employees in this week's Best Practices.

Q: "As the job market picks up we're seeing a few employees leave our club for other opportunities. We understand that employees will leave, but as a full-service club we want to maximize our employee retention. How can we keep our core employees happy without breaking the bank?" 

A: We know that money is not the number one motivator for most people. However, if you’re staff have seen an erosion of their real income, this will be an issue in retention the needs to get resolved and is too lengthy to respond to in this forum.

Let’s talk about your managers. People leave managers and supervisors more than they leave companies so ensuring that your management team is doing the right things to keep your people happy is fundamentally important. We do 360 reviews on all of our managers twice a year. The employees do a candid review to rate their boss on 20 critical areas. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being excellent, we have serious issues with a manager whose staff rates him/her below a 4.5 and will create an action plan to bring those ratings up.

Other things managers should do include:

  • setting clear performance expectations that don’t change capriciously as this is a major cause of stress;
  • establishing clear pathways to increase earning potential for their people;
  • providing frequent feedback on performance; 
  • providing an environment that encourages feedback and solicitation of ideas; and 
  • give workers an opportunity to use their talents and skills to contribute to other departments to keep their job fresh and interesting.

Richard Synnott, Executive Director
Weymouth Club

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