Many gyms brainstorm how to make their members happy and retain them as long as possible. However, what about a gym’s employees? According to John Voskamp, the vice president of corporate store operations for Lift Brands, boasting happy employees should be a key concern as well. “Having a happy working environment is so important,” he said. “For us, if you treat your employees great, they’re going to turn around and treat your customers great. I’m a firm believer in that.”
Lift Brands treats its employees well in a number of ways. At the corporate headquarters in Chanhassen, Minnesota, employees can enjoy a flexible schedule, paid time off, bonuses, health and dental insurance, access to the company’s many wellness a brands, a stock option plan, among other benefits.
In addition, Voskamp believes the company’s environment is a key benefit. “Within our work atmosphere, we don’t have a lot of layers of upper management,” he said. “Our CEO [Peter Taunton] is very accessible, and we have an open door policy. It’s a unique atmosphere. You get this unique experience where you’re a part of the decision-making process. You’re valued no matter what your position in the company.”
Throughout the year, company-wide events are organized to express gratitude for employees. On a more personal level, Voskamp explained that every so often, Taunton will even coordinate hunting or fishing outings with two to three employees in order to better get to know people working at the corporate office. “At a lot of companies, people don’t get to work hand-in-hand with the CEO,” he said.
According to Voskamp, many gyms place an emphasis on sales and numbers, which can create for a stressful work environment. “I’ve worked at a lot of big-name gyms, and it’s often very high-pressure [with focus] on the numbers (membership sales), and that becomes very much a part of the culture,” he said. “Here, no one is feeling that pressure or daily grind.”
By making your employees happy, you’re creating brand advocates that not only love sharing your company with customers, but love being part of it as well. Voskamp has been a brand advocate of Lift Brands for five years. “I get up every single day and there’s never a day where I’m dreading coming in,” he said. “And that’s unique, I think.”
By Rachel Zabonick