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Lowering Employee Turnover Using DiSC Behavioral Profiling


webOne resolution I had for 2013 was to systematize hiring at Fitness Together. After reviewing many options, I decided to use the “Everything DiSC Workplace Profile” to help lower turnover and improve my hiring process. The DiSC profiling system has been around for over 30 years and has been used to improve teamwork and communication. It shows how employees score on a scale of behavioral traits, rating them on “dominance,” “influence,” “steadiness” and “conscientiousness.”

I thought DiSC would be a great tool to foster collaboration among my current employees, who are mostly personal trainers. I wanted to teach them how to build rapport with our clients, and to gauge a potential employee’s fit within our team before hiring them.

To start, I invested in profiling my current staff members (each profile costs about $45 to $55), and used Resources Unlimited to manage all of the profiles. Resources Unlimited has given me excellent support in setting up our program — they e-mailed each of my employees their online profile with zero hassle, and filed all of the completed profiles in an online database. I now have 24/7 access to all of my staff’s profiles. Plus, I can print free reports using their cloud-based service.

After completing each staff’s DiSC profile, I held a staff meeting to discuss the results. My trainers were interested in learning about their behavioral preferences and how they differed from their co-workers.
Many of my personal trainers trended towards “influence,” which didn’t surprise me, because trainers tend to influence others through their outgoing nature and magnetic personalities. Noteworthy people high in “influence” include Jillian Michaels and Bill Clinton.

Once I used the profile to confirm my employees’ tendencies, I made them aware of this so they could understand that sometimes, unbridled enthusiasm can be overwhelming. I didn’t want them to change their personalities, but rather understand that they may need to temper their exuberance when it’s time to complete a task or interact with a client. Some of our more reserved clients might respond better to a calmer and more focused interaction with a personal trainer.

Beyond coaching employees on how to interact with each other and our clients, I also plan to use DiSC as a final check for new hires before I extend them an offer. DiSC is not meant to replace a robust interview process, but rather to amplify our current process.

My goal is to hire candidates who share the same behavioral traits as my best employees. For example, I recently had two employees reach a major milestone in our business. Both Jen Toronski and Cody Feller had completed over 5,000 sessions with clients at Fitness Together since they started working with me. The surprise to me was that when we completed their behavioral profiles, they were my only two employees who had ended up scoring high in “conscientious.” Famous “High C’s” include Bill Gates and Vijay Singh, a golf professional.

Now that I know that two of my longest-lasting employees are “High C’s” on the DiSC profile, I can aim to hire more candidates with this trait to fill open personal training positions. It’s unusual to have “High C’s” as personal trainers, but it’s a great insight for me to use going forward that I would never have known without using DiSC.

The DiSC profiling system is another tool that we can now use before making a new hire. Best of all, it isn’t based on gut instinct, which means that the process should be repeatable as we continue to grow our business!


Jonathan Slain is a fitness business consultant and owns and operates franchises of Fitness Together in Cleveland, Ohio.  He can be reached at JonathanSlain@FitnessTogether.com, 877-FIT-OHIO, or www.FitnessTogether.com/ohio. 

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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