From One Club to Another:
Three Ways to Keep Talent
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There's a private personal training studio on the first floor of our office (at NFPT HQ). I don't work inside a large club setting, but I've been in the industry for 20+ years. I know trainers, I know clubs and I know that you can take what works for the smaller setting and scale it to benefit the larger. Now, because I'm realistic, I also know that you can't always take the perks of the small-town feel and make it big-city homey. However, when the goal is keeping talented employees (or contractors), it is possible. I speak specifically of avoiding turnover in your personal trainer department (but, bonus, these principles can apply to just about any department).
Three Ways to Keep Talent
1. A Framework for Standards - Be clear with your expectations. What do you expect from your trainers/staff in terms of education and experience? Before onboarding a new trainer, do you have them run through client scenarios, perform assessments and design a training program? Do they shadow or 'intern' first? The degree by which these things are done could look different from one club to the next, but the basic need for establishing a framework for these hiring standards and protocols is essential. If, for instance, it is a requirement for the prospective trainer to be certified (which should no doubt be a requirement), then it is the club owner/manager's responsibility to verify that he/she is, in fact, certified.
On one hand, a certification requirement is crucial to assuring a level of competency; but, on the other hand, the certificate itself is not complete affirmation of sustainable talent. For this reason, it would be questionable for a club not to recognize many different certifications as part of these qualifying standards because, ultimately, it is the individual that represents the talent. In addition, if for example, certification is part of your standard for pre-qualifying potential employees, then make sure to do the work needed to assure that this competency standard is truly being met by the trainer. Regular performance evaluations should include verification of certifications, along with other checks and balances to assure quality from your trainers and all staff members.
2. Provide In-House Education - Growth and development in any field, business or relationship is crucial to sustainability. No matter what you do, or whom you do it for, there are always opportunities to learn more and give more. And, the more that you are willing to give, as an employer, the more that your staff is willing to dedicate themselves to the company mission and to you, personally. The 'give' does not necessarily mean money (sometimes, maybe, but not always). You can support their needs in a way that also supports the team, through additional education, training and learning activities. When you assist the learning, and empower the learner, then the outcome will be a more fulfilling and more productive environment for all.
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