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Entries in staff (17)


To Grow Personal Training Revenue, Teach Staff to Create Positive Experiences

This post is a preview of the October 12 webinar, "Top Tips for Growing Fitness Revenues."

Photo: Healthtrax

When you’re looking to increase your gym’s personal training revenues, your first instinct may be to crunch the numbers. But, while the financials may shed some light on opportunities for cost savings, you may be better off starting with the core of your business—the people.

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Employee Benefits: How Does Your Health Club Compare to the Competition?

Could you use some guidance when it comes to compensating your health club’s employees? If so, you’re not alone. The IHRSA Health Club Employee Compensation & Benefits Report, published in March 2017, can help you compare your club to the competition in terms of hourly pay, annual salaries, and employee benefits. 

The report is based on survey data provided by leading IHRSA member health clubs in the U.S. and Canada, and provides compensation information for senior management/corporate staff, salaried club-level employees, and hourly club-level employees. Salary information for select job titles is provided by geographical region, company type, and size in number of units and total annual sales. The report also provides a brief macroeconomic outlook on compensation and unemployment. 

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Who Is Responsible for Delivering Stellar Customer Service at Your Health Club?

Ask any health club operator who on their staff is responsible for delivering stellar customer service, and you’ll likely receive this reply: everyone.

They’re not wrong—each and every staff member can make a positive impact on customer service delivery. But when correlating stellar customer service with member retention, data from the IHRSA Member Retention Report series points out the critical role fitness staff—including group exercise instructors—plays.

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What Every Personal Trainer Needs to Know About Sales

Personal training is a large—and growing—source of revenue for many health clubs. But are your personal trainers willing and able to play a successful role in the sales process? 

According to the 2015 IHRSA Profiles of Success, a median of 10% of total revenues at leading health clubs comes from individual and small-group personal training. From 2013 to 2014, member participation in at least one personal training session increased by 11%. 

Clearly, the ability to sell personal training services is critical to the long-term success of your operation(s). And that means making sure your personal trainers are comfortable with and knowledgeable about sales.

It Takes a Team 

Building a robust personal training program is a team effort, and health club operators need to educate their employees on their particular role in the process. 

As Steve Satin, president and founder of Satin Wellness, notes, the focus of the front desk and membership teams is generating new memberships. So they may be concerned that bringing up personal training with prospective or new members comes across as overselling. 

The solution? Understanding the right way to approach the sales conversation. 

"The front desk team is a great place to ask appropriate questions, [and] the membership team can easily provide the option of personal training to an enthusiastic new member," Satin said at IHRSA 2016

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What Qualities Should You Look for in a Health Club Manager?

Whether you’re a club owner, a current manager, or an aspiring manager, there are many things to think about when considering your management team. 

Managers, and what they bring to your club, come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences—and a successful, cohesive management team should consist of personalities that complement each other. 

Managers Should Have Qualities that Align with Your Club’s Values 

Considering the size and type of health club business you are running, you may have department managers or “general” managers. Do you run a small club with two or three “Jack-of-all-trade” managers, or a larger facility with a dozen managers, each specifically responsible for a department? 

No matter what kind of management structure you have, you want to ensure that each manager has qualities that are in line with your club’s mission and values. 

One of the key ingredients for great health club leadership is visionary thinking and brokering ideas, says Molly Kemmer of EXOS/MediFit and former IHRSA board chair. 

 “View the organization not just as it is today, but also as it needs to be in the future,” she says. “Foster a culture of speaking up, as well as of listening intently, to facilitate this approach.” 

Many departmental mangers will require more specific skills, but all managers should have some level of inherent “people” skills—as general of a term as that may be.  

Specific Qualities You Should Look for in a Manager 

Behind the certifications and equipment and trying to keep up with evolving fitness trends, the health club industry is a compassionate, hospitality driven one. You’re transforming lives, helping people reach goals, celebrate personal victories, and work through defeats. 

In his 2016 IHRSA Institute session “Strategic Planning for Club Executives,” Bill McBride, president and CEO of Active Wellness and BMC3, shared insights from an article he wrote saying the first step to good talent (employees) is to know whom you are looking for.   

“You have to know what type of person you need on a given team based on the other team members to have balance and multiple aptitudes covered… Look for initiative, ownership mentality, adaptability, positive thinking, results orientation, accountability, broad thinking, honesty, integrity, and character.” 

In addition to personality and people skills, consider what technical skills are required to take on a leadership role in your club. 

Should your managers have previous departmental experience or will an all-encompassing knowledge of the health club business suffice, as individual skills will be trained?  Will they be responsible for hiring and training, implementing policies and procedures or budgeting? 

Determine which skills your managers should already have and which you can train. Finding the perfect manager may not be realistic, but finding great managers whose strengths and weaknesses complement and balance each other is an essential part of your clubs’ perfect management team. 

Related reading and resources:  


How to Determine if an Employee Is the Right Fit for Your Health Club 

by Regina Satagaj, vice president of human resources for IHRSA 

If you are going through the time and energy to recruit and hire a new employee for an open position, then there is no doubt your hope is to retain the employee so they can productively contribute to your business. 

Hiring a candidate that will fit in your organization will have a direct impact on employee retention. 

Sometimes, the candidate has the right skills, but will they be the right fit? Starting with the interview process, I concentrate on separating the interview questions into two sections:  

  1. Person-to-Job
  2. Person-to-Organization  

Person-to-Job Fit 

Person-to-Job questions are related to skills, years of experience, and levels of knowledge. In other words, what skills should the employee have to help achieve your strategic plan objectives? 

Asking questions to determine Person-to-Job fit is relatively straightforward. As mentioned in other blog posts, starting with the end in mind and keeping the organizations strategic plan in focus are integral parts of the interview process. 

Person-to-Organization Fit 

Determining Person-to-Organization fit is a bit more challenging. 

Person-to-Organization is defined as “congruence of an individual’s beliefs and values with the culture, norms, and values of an organization.”  

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6 Actions Health Club Leaders Take to Develop Emerging Leaders

Identifying and nurturing emerging leaders continues to be a challenge in our industry.  

It’s also one ofif not the most importantchallenges we face. In his IHRSA 2016 session, “Extraordinary Leaders: Develop a High-Performance Team,” Eddie Tock of REX Roundtables said, “research shows that improving leadership behavior has more impact on your company performance than any other investment.”

So, in looking at the leadership traits of many of our industry’s leaders, I’ve distilled those traits into six common actions leaders use to foster leadership in both their own organizations and throughout the industry.

To develop the next generation of industry leaders, current club leaders...  

#1. Lead by Example 

Most everyone replied that leading by example is by far the most important trait. Basically, the leadership traits you want to see in your club staff are the same ones they want to see in you every single day. Any form of leader should be professional, ethical, communicative, supportive, display a high work ethic, and be willing to share knowledge and experiences.  

Jim Worthington, owner and president of Newtown Athletic Club, who is known for “walking the talk” has said that being a leader in the industry has given him the chance to mentor employees as well as colleagues at other clubs.

#2. Are in Perpetual Learning Mode  

According to Leadership Hospitality, it is important for leaders to ‘be visible about their own need to learn. Great leaders are never more powerful than when they are shown to be in a learning mode.’

Our industry’s leaders are some of the best at sharing the fact that they are information and education-hungry. Allison Flatley, CEO of Corporate Fitness Works, has shared that she loves learning growth strategy from successful entrepreneurs and training techniques from experienced personal trainers. And Janine Williams, vice president of human resources at Leisure Sports, said that the most important leadership trait is “to ensure that you continue to expand the depth and breadth of your knowledge; not only in the health club industry but in business and financial acumen as well.”

#3. Cross-train to Develop Across Skills or Knowledge Gaps  

Our industry already understands the value of cross-training to build endurance, flexibility, and skill. The same applies for leadership learning as candidates that are rotated through various jobs gain first-hand experience and new expertise in many different roles. They also develop a broader vision of your club and exposure to staff dynamics and member concerns.

In his IHRSA 2016 presentation, "Developing NextGen Leaders," Brent Gallagher discusses the practical steps involved in establishing a team of next-generation leaders, including the need to train across areas to create a healthy leadership pipeline.

Continue reading "6 Actions Health Club Leaders Take to Develop Emerging Leaders."

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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.”


How to Empower Your Health Club Managers and Engage Your Employees

One of the consistently reported challenges to owning or managing a health club is finding and retaining quality staff—and even more challenging can be hiring effective managers.

If your tireless recruiting has paid off and you now have a promising management team, how do you make sure they stay and grow with you? 

The key is empowerment. 

Enable Your Health Club Managers to Take Ownership 

Empowerment starts with clear communication, continues with nurtured relationships, and carries over to the next generation of your management staff.

Enabling your managers to take a level of ownership of their contributions to your team will allow them to be more motivated, productive, and engaged in your club. As each individual is motivated by different things, it’s important as an owner or senior manager to get to know your managers and what methods of coaching and recognition will lead them to feel most empowered. 

During his session Strategic Culture: Three Keys to Creating a High-Performance Culture at the   2016 IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show, Rob Lewis of RBS Holdings, LLC said, “Professional development and career progression are among the most important things for employees when looking at jobs.” Lewis explained that owners and managers often only communicate the end result, when what is more important is to communicate the behaviors that produce that end result. 

Communicating your health clubs mission, vision, and values to your managers and enabling them to pass that along to hourly staff and club members, will keep your club culture alive and thriving. “Employee engagement is reflective of a good culture,” Lewis said. 

Clear Communications Set Employees Up for Success 

Another industry leader—Allison Flatley—offered her expertise in keeping your staff engaged in her 2016 IHRSA Institute session, “Staff Hiring, Training, and Retention.” 

The Corporate Fitness Works Chief Strategy Officer and IHRSA Board Member discussed the importance of clearly communicating job responsibilities, what the expectations are, how and when employees will be evaluated, where to find the tools they need to succeed, and how they can overcome obstacles.  

Whether you’ve just hired a brand new manager, promoted a stellar employee, or have a seasoned staff of fitness professionals on your management team, these are essential elements to fostering a sense of empowerment. Flatley also suggested using Gallup’s Q12 survey to help assess the level of engagement in your staff and identify areas for improvement.   

IHRSA’s Professional Development and Management Video archive is full of sessions and recordings from industry leaders, discussing many aspects of successful management skills, training tactics, and culture-creating strategies. These training tools and more are available to IHRSA members at up to 50% off non-member prices, online at the IHRSA store.


5 Ways Health Club Managers Can Lead with Confidence

Trish Blackwell, author of The Skinny, Sexy Mind: The Ultimate French Secret kicked off the MACMA conference in Annapolis, MD this week with an inspirational message on leading with confidence.   

The opening reception at MACMA on Wednesday.

During her session, “Confidence Sells: How to Use Confidence to Increase Sales, Reduce Attrition, and Create a World-Class Facility,” Blackwell shared a number of ways to lead with intention and build a culture of confident employees. That message was reinforced by long time IHRSA members, Mitch Wald, Roger Ralph, Allison Flatley, and Bill McBride during their leadership panel discussion.  

What can you do to lead with confidence?  

  1. Be Available: Make sure your staff understand that your doors are always open.
  2. Build Trust: Do what you said you’ll do, when you said you’ll do it!
  3. Affirm Success: A-players need feedback, oftentimes more than anyone else. Say it out loud—don’t assume they know they are doing a good job.
  4. Measure Your Staff Engagement: Use Gallup’s 12 question survey to better understand your staff.
  5. Invest in Your Staff: Give them the knowledge and skills they need to advance their careers.  

Learn how other health club operators recognize their top employees in our “Best Practice” blog post on hiring and staffing.