Health Club Employee Engagement: A Leadership Commitment

How many of your health club’s employees are truly engaged at work? Unfortunately, it may be fewer than you’d think.

How many of your health club’s employees are truly engaged at work? Unfortunately, it may be fewer than you’d think.

According to a 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.

“If a leader and a club were able to increase engagement to 50% or 90%, this could be the untapped competitive advantage,” says Luke Carlson, CEO of Discover Strength in Chanhassen, MN. “On a deeper level, overcoming the barriers that lead to disengagement (job misery) is one of the true callings of effective leaders and managers.”

Luke Carlson Discover Strength Article

Increase Engagement by Communicating the Club’s Vision

Being a visionary leader is not about having a vision, Carlson says. Rather, it’s is about creating a shared vision across an organization.

“In order to increase engagement, leaders must strive to create a culture in which every single employee in the health club understands the key aspects of the company’s vision,” he says. “All to often, health club leaders (even the great ones) articulate comprehensive and complicated visions for the organization. However, if you walk into that club and talk to the front line staff, they are unclear, unaware, and/or uninspired by the elements of this vision.”

Carlson’s views on the matter aren’t just theory; by putting these methods into practice, Discover Strength more than doubled its revenue in just two years after seven years without a clearly articulated and shared vision.

Overcoming Employee Anonymity

Another way health club leaders can increase engagement is by overcoming employee anonymity, which occurs when employees feel their direct manager doesn’t care about them on a personal level.

“The manager must go out of their way to connect with the employee about what is going on in his or her life,” Carlson says. “Disengagement flourishes when employees feel like they are anonymous in the organization; when their manager doesn’t care about them as a person.”

Overcoming anonymity is a powerful driver of top- and bottom-line performance, he says.

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This article was a team effort by several IHRSA experts.