16 Recruiting Best Practices for Hiring & Leading Great Staff

Your employees can mean the difference between a successful and a failing fitness business. Ensure you are following these best practices for hiring, training, and developing your staff.

Eric Schmitz, president of California Athletic Clubs, contributed to this article.

A well-trained, motivated staff can boost sales revenue, membership numbers, retention rates, and help your members to achieve their fitness goals. Unfortunately, hiring a team of staff that will help your health club or fitness studio flourish can be a challenge. Training them, developing their skills, and then retaining them are additional feats that you’ll have to tackle.

But there are steps you can take to set yourself—and your team—up for success. From interviewing to creating a company culture that supports your business goals, these best practice guidelines can help you develop a top-notch team. The additional resources listed at the bottom of this article will help you learn more about this key topic.

This article is one in a series of 28 Best Practice Guidelines for Operating a Fitness Facility.

Follow these guidelines and improve your staff recruiting, training, and development strategy.

  1. Start With the Hiring Process

  2. Help Your Team Develop Professionally

  3. Look at Your Employee Benefits

  4. Focus on Company Culture

  5. Manage to Support Your Team

Ultimately, well-trained and dedicated staff will help you to build your brand and achieve your business goals.

Start With the Hiring Process

1. Design a collaborative interview process where candidates meet and interact with multiple employees.

2. Consider incorporating a personality or work style assessment into the hiring process to gain additional information on candidates and better understand personalized onboarding needs for new hires.

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Help Your Team Develop Professionally

3. Develop a clearly defined path for each employee’s professional growth.

4. Develop a performance management plan to work on career mapping for employees.

5. Provide professional development and continuing education opportunities.

Look at Your Employee Benefits

6. Ensure all employees have access to health and dental care (where applicable).

7. Implement an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to provide additional resources to your employees.

8. Consider offering education to all employees on how to save for retirement and, if needed, help direct them to reputable retirement options or information.

Focus on Company Culture

9. Create and document your company culture. Components may include a mission statement, vision statement, brand promise, and core values.

10. Lead your organization with a suitable culture and outlined values to achieve short- and long-term sustainable business goals.

11. Host regular team-building activities, workshops, or off-site retreats/outings.

12. Schedule recurring meetings to keep employees and company initiatives aligned.

Manage to Support Your Team

13. Obtain appropriate legal counsel to ensure knowledge and compliance with all applicable employment regulations.

14. Ensure there is an effective planning process to support systems, processes, employees, and customers.

15. Set out effective management and governance systems.

16. Plan appropriate use of resources and funds.

This article is part of the 28 Best Practice Guidelines for Operating a Fitness Facility series, where we’ll cover topics like Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI), Sales & Customer Service, Fitness Inclusion, and more in upcoming articles.

Additional Employee Recruitment, Training, & Development Resources

IHRSA has an extensive library of staffing articles, webinars, publications, and videos. View our Staffing page for more information on hiring, training, and retaining employees. Or check out some of the key resources listed below!

The New Rules of Staff Management: In this CBI article, health club and studio operators share how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how they lead their staff.

Understanding How the IRS Classifies Your Group Exercise Instructors: In the U.S., determining whether group exercise instructors should legally be considered employees or independent contractors involves weighing several factors. Read this article to learn more.

How Should You Compensate Group Exercise Instructors: Should you pay group exercise instructors on an hourly basis or as piece-rate employees? This article outlines some key things that U.S. health clubs and studios should consider when deciding.

Employment Law Briefing Papers: These four Briefing Papers can help ensure that you are following U.S. employment laws when dealing with your employees. All four Briefing Papers are free to Premium Members and all other IHRSA Members receive a discount.

  1. Employment Law Basics for Club Operators: Employee Policies

  2. Employment Law Basics for Club Operators: Firing an Employee

  3. Employment Law Basics for Club Operators: Recruiting and Hiring

  4. Employment Law Basics for Club Operators: Wages and Hours

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This article was a team effort by several IHRSA experts.